The Scandalous Gospel

Catholic Colbert has not fallen into a black hole after all. Last night’s interview with Peter J. Gomes has roused me out of oblivion. I’ve been a fan of Professor Gomes since he published The Good Book.

Watching him nudge Stephen out of character last night was simply delightful. The premise of his book is that Jesus shakes up the status quo. His message for contemporary readers is that too often we don’t want to be shaken out of our clinging to the way things are.

Take a look at their exchange. I’m off to the library to get a copy of the book.

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The Po-o-ope is coming to town!

Looks like Stephen is all set for the Pope’s visit to New York. He’s got quite a welcome package prepared, right down to a baby to be baptized (son of Colbert Report writer Peter Gwinn). Whether the pope accepts or declines the invitation, it could make for some great comedy bits in the days to come.

A Sunday School Story

Well, folks, in case you missed the news, Stephen has been snubbed by South Carolina’s Democratic party. They may have a point, but not much of a sense of humor. And it looks like the Writer’s Guild strike is set for Monday, which means re-runs next week. Just when I was wondering whether this would be a good time to do some site maintenance, friend-of-the-blog Truth tipped me off to a gem of a story. Site maintenance can wait.

Special thanks to Erin Ptah for letting me repost this from her 10/31/07 taping reporT.

During the Q&A before the show, as a follow-up to a question about his candidacy, someone asked, “What would be your first executive order?” Stephen’s response: “Uh … be kind to each other?”

And here’s the rest from Erin:

And then he told a story.

He didn’t teach Sunday school last year, because he was too busy with the show; but he substituted, and he was subbing on the last day before summer vacation — when the kids didn’t really want to learn anything. And Pope Benedict had just been elected, so they decided to hold a mini papal election.

He and his daughter made a paper-maché miter, with a glitter cross, and then he “very seriously” locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and told the kids, “Okay, nobody leaves here until we elect a Pope.”

They started by making a list of qualities that you should have to be a Pope: ‘knows the Bible’, ‘good person’, etcetera. “And nobody said ‘must be a man’, which made me happy.” Then it came time to vote, but one kid said “Hey, I’m gonna vote for me,” and another said, “I’m gonna vote for me!”, and it looked like trouble.

(Stephen digressed at this point to speculate that all the cardinals probably do this on the first round. “Hey, might as well, who knows, there could be a groundswell…”)

Daughter to the rescue: “Dad, make everyone vote twice.” That way they would all vote for themselves and someone else. The winner was a kid named Gregory (and his daughter had predicted “It’s gonna be Gregory, because he always knows all the answers in class.” Stephen’s daughter sounds like such a cool kid).

So they brought Gregory up to the front, put the miter on his head and the cloth over his shoulder, and said, “Now that you’re the Pope, you need to pick a name; what name are you going to have?”

And the kid goes, “Urban III.” (“He really knows his stuff!”)

What will be his first papal injunction? Gregory holds up his hands (here Stephen holds up his own for a moment, to demonstrate, and then brings the mic back to his mouth), and says, “Be kind to each other.”

At which Stephen went, “All right, that’s it, we’re done, everybody go home!”

All Hallow’s Eve

I’m getting a jump on tomorrow’s holiday with some clips from past shows. The Holy Grail here is the show where Stephen reputedly reminded his viewers that the day after Halloween was a holy day of obligation and they better get to church. If anyone knows where I can find that clip, please let me know.

In the meantime, here’s a clip from the new Daily Show website, a past episode of the segment Even Stevphen:

And from one of the shows earlier this month, the War on Halloween:

Finally, a search of Comedy Central turned up a lovely (though unembeddable) clip comparing Halloween and Ramadan.

Now, here’s hoping for some new Halloween material tonight or tomorrow night, although that treat may be overshadowed by the “trick” of the impending Writers Guild strike. The contract is set to expire on the 31st.

Much more on the roots of Halloween, as well as All Saints and All Souls here.

Make Me America


I’m having a great time with the Make Me America website. Hats off to Hachette and Electric Pulp for a great book launch site. Here’s my best photo so far, but I have great plans for the next few days. Go to CatholicColbert on flickr to see the other shots.