“The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life”) at Fordham University, our local RBCU* held its own "humor summit."
Dean of Student Life, Jillian Rousseau, said "Some students were intrigued by the very idea of religious people being funny, or clever, or smart. Plus a few administrators said we can't let Fordham get away with this coup. So we began looking for Catholics to participate in the first annual RBCU "Catholic + Humor Summit 2012."
"The difficulty was finding people who were available, and well, funny," noted RBCU President Fr. Aaron Deerhouse. "And we knew we would need a published author on humor, a prelate, and a TV personality. So, um, we decided to keep the line up a secret, to build suspense. And get people to come."
Dr. Therese Juneau, Theatre Department, warmed up the crowd by telling jokes that began with "A Priest, A Rabbi, and a Secularist walked into a bar...." After that, the evening's line up were walked in, blindfolded. With a flourish and quick manacle work, they were locked to chairs and blindfolds removed. They looked at each other, confused.
"Hi, I'm Fr. Christian Mathis, I'm a priest in the diocese of Knoxville and write the Blessed is the Kingdom blog. Why do I have a mike on here?"
"Oh, hi, nice to meet you, Father. I'm Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska."
"I'm Susan Windley-Daoust, and I write the Ironic Catholic blog and occasional ironic e-books, but guys, I was in the middle of making dinner, and my sauce is burning. What's up? And where are we?"
As the audience laughed, the three headliners looked at the manacles and the bright lights, appearing confused.
"I think, according to this note pinned to my cuff, we're supposed to talk about humor, being Catholic, all that," said Fr. Christian.
"Is it written in blood?," asked Windley-Daoust, to much laughter. "No, really. Mine's in bright red. It says 'be funny or else'."
"Look, the only thing especially funny about me is my name," Archbishop Lucas said. "I get confirmands coming up to me and saying 'The Force Be With You' all the time, and I respond 'That's and with your spirit, young man.' I didn't ask to have the same name as a sci-fi director. So, um, you all have any jokes?"
Although the line-up looked uncomfortable and occasionally took a break to try to zestfully remove the manacles, the audience seemed to enjoy the event.
"It was zany," enthused RBCU senior Mariette Sibley. "I loved how they all acted like they had no idea why they were here, and promised to forgive whoever was responsible for this. That pleading look in their eyes, the way that lady was saying 'Jeff? Larry? Kat? Did you do this to me?'--that was great acting. I just love that my school did this."
"Awesomeness," said freshman Brandon Mittford. "I totally think I have a vocation after witnessing that event. Or that I should watch the Colbert Report. Maybe both!"
The headliners were whisked to the airport and could not be reached for comment.
*RBCU=Really Big Catholic University