Chased out of hiding!

Hello, apparently there are people out there! I’ve had a couple lovely conversations with people about Stephen and Catholicism in the past few weeks. The most recent found its way, in part, to The Huffington Post via Religion News Service.

I’m looking into sprucing things up here and restoring my long-lost and much-loved linkage to the video clips.

In the meantime, have a look around if you’re new to the site.

Hot off the Press

There’s a new Q&A with Stephen in Rolling Stone, and inevitably the question of religion comes up. Makes me think I really need to get back to updating things more regularly here.

Stephen Colbert on Religion

Would your family all sing carols on Christmas Eve?
Sure, we’d process through the house, and we still do it. My family is 50 people now — nieces and nephews and that sort of thing — and we process from the youngest to the oldest. The youngest puts the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve and we sing “Silent Night.” It’s very traditional.

Does faith still play a big part in your life?
Very much. I am highly variable in my devotion. From a doctrinal point of view or a dogmatic point of view or a strictly Catholic adherent point of view, I’m first to say that I talk a good game, but I don’t know how good I am about it in practice. I saw how my mother’s faith was very valuable to her and valuable to my brothers and sisters, and I’m moved by the words of Christ, and I’ll leave it at that.

But you do teach Sunday school?
I teach the seven year olds. I’m the catechist for their first communion.

Hat tip to the completists at the No Fact Zone, who tirelessly comb the universe for all things Colbert.

The Colbert Report Chaplain

Looks like Jesuit Fr. Jim Martin has been upgraded from “friend of the show” to “chaplain.” Fr. Martin’s background in the financial world made him a perfect choice to explain why people seem to be flocking back to church in tough economic times (“and not just because communion counts as a meal”). It was an excellent segment and reminded me why I watch The Report “religiously” and also why I do this blog.

“Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?”

This article in today’s New York Times on interfaith families celebrating the December feasts reminded me to put up the clip of Jon and Stephen’s duet from the Colbert Christmas special. I found it interesting that most of the couples interviewed in the article were Jewish and Catholic (as are Jon Stewart and his wife). Or maybe not all that unusual given the New York demographics…..

I love this song. It’s quite possibly my favorite from the special. Although I don’t think it’s quite fair that it focuses on the secular aspects of Hanukkah and the religious aspects of Christmas. But then that’s an underlying issue in this whole crazy time of year. Culture, commercialism, family traditions and religious roots get all jumbled together.

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The Greatest Gift of All

Stephen’s Christmas special premiered Sunday, November 23rd, and I’m sure Comedy Central will have it in regular rotation from now until Christmas. It’s also available on DVD with extras such as an Advent calendar of clips and a Yule log/book burning fireplace for your TV. In two days I’ve discovered that it’s one of those shows that gets funnier with each viewing. The first time I was a bit off-balance, not knowing quite what to expect. It’s like a Russian doll of nested parodies: the years of TV Christmas specials, bits familiar from the Report (bears, the War on Christmas), and all the guest musical stars parodying themselves. Stephen’s children have a small cameo.

Commercialism, multicultural sensitivity, the weird secular attempts to find meaning apart from religion–predictably nothing is sacred, including the sacred. At one point Stephen starts a seemingly heartfelt prayer and then throws in the line, “First time pray-er, longtime fan.” Canadian indie singer Feist’s number “Please Be Patient” combines angels and overworked customer service operators. But while it may cross a good-taste line from time to time, it never strays into the offensive.

Comments welcome! I think it lives up to its hype.

I’ll add some clips in the next few days, but at the moment I’m having trouble with the embedding code. It looks like they’re all up at the Colbert Nation site.

Peace and Love

No, not another of the ubuquitous promos for Stephen’s upcoming Christmas special (this Sunday, November 23, 10 pm!!). Rather, a lovely twist at the end of last night’s WØRD segment. I write homilies for a living, so I know how easy it is to get caught up in all those fuzzy words: hope, change, peace, love. And yes, Stephen had me squirming a bit while I was watching. But his shift at the end brought it all back home. As a friend of mine said, “It doesn’t get any more Catholic than this.” Amen. He came back at the beginning of the next segment with the forgotten tagline, “and that’s the WØRD,” looking a bit sheepish that he’d forgotten it.

Woohoo! Congratulations!

Congratulations to Stephen and the other writers for their much-deserved Emmy win! For those who missed the show, here’s a clip of the presentation. For more coverage of the Colbert Report and The Daily Show at the Emmy festivities, head on over to the incomparable No Fact Zone.