The Pope Is Throwing a Party for A-List Comedians for Some Reason

Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon fly out for a meet-and-great with His Holiness this Friday
The Pope Is Throwing a Party for A-List Comedians for Some Reason

Stephen Colbert, Chris Rock and Conan O’Brien walk into a party thrown by the Pope – is this some kind of joke?

This Friday, Pope Francis will host an audience of many of the most prominent English-speaking comedians in the world at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Along with the above comedy A-listers, His Holiness’ list of guests includes Jim Gaffigan, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Merchant and Tig Notaro, and the Vatican’s official press release claims that the humor summit “promises to be a moment of meaningful intercultural dialogue and sharing of joy and hope.”

The Pope himself has said in an interview with an Italian news station that, in advance of his meeting with many of America’s top comedians and the guy who started The Office, he “prays daily in the words of St. Thomas More, asking the Lord to grant him a sense of humor.” Apparently, if Jesus can’t make you funny, the holiest path to humor is to splurge on importing the world’s most expensive comedy talent using all those tax-free donations that God doesn’t want his top servant wasting on the needy.

Beyond teaching Pope Francis how to be funny, the Vatican’s expectations for their illustrious guests are confusingly vague. According to the Vatican’s official channels, the Dicastery for Culture and Education and Dicastery for Communication organized the meeting of the top comedy minds and the head of the Catholic Church as a way to “celebrate the beauty of human diversity” and “promote a message of peace, love and solidarity.” Ironically, that was Target’s exact reasoning when they rolled out their Pride-themed bath towels back on June 1st.

On that note, the timing of the meeting is especially suspect considering that the Pope has recently been caught repeatedly using homophobic slurs during closed-door conversations with Italian bishops. While closed-minded leanings on issues like sexual orientation are an obvious given from the head of the Catholic Church, reports from inside the Vatican that Pope Francis has been complaining about “an air of faggotry” in the church's city-state brush against his image as a cool, progressive-ish Pope who can appeal to the younger demographic.

Perhaps this comedy summit with goals as vague as a sixteen-year-old's Instagram captions is all just a crafty bit of damage control from the Catholic Church, and collecting all the most prominent Catholic-raised comedians is a cynical attempt to distract young Catholics and potential converts from the more prickly aspects of the Pope and the church itself. Maybe the only lesson they learned from their 2002 PR nightmare was to use a little more comic relief in their cover-ups.


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