Monday, April 23, 2007
A hearty chortle
For good or for ill, April in Melbourne means that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is in full swing. For the past few years, I've tried to catch at least one show. although I've found that it pays to be discerning about who to see. My brother and I went to see one big name international comedian the other weekend, and probably won't go to see him in future. His show went for two hours, and close to half of his routine was an extended diatribe against religion, especially Christianity and Christians. While our faith is important to us, and our beliefs are strongly held, we've never been in your face, overbearing Christians, but have often been mocked and ridiculed for our faith. This was the first time I ever had to pay for the privilege. It was in a large venue, and we sat in the stalls, so the comedian in question didn't hear my sarcastic exclamations of "Bravo" and my slow clapping at his remarks. Most of the audience seemed to laugh and applaud in agreement.
Afterwards, we talked about this. We wondered if there was something in his background to explain his views on spirituality, perhaps a bad past experience of Christians, or a difficult life experience. As an acquaintance of mine said recently, there's a real need for Christians in the arts community. Most comedy festival comedians know each other and socialise after their shows. Going by the number of shows mocking Christianity in this year's festival, it would be great if there could be a mainstream Christian comedian in the festival who, as well as challenging misconceptions about what Christians are like, could reach these comedians with the Gospel.
Another act I saw and enjoyed for the most part was Josh Earl. As well as being a musical comedian, Josh Earl is also a librarian at an inner city primary school. During his hour long show, Josh Earl is a Librarian, he regales the audience with entertaining anecdotes about his work, interwoven with amusing library-themed songs that take the audience through subdivisions of the Dewey Decimal System, including librarianship, relationships, and dentistry. His song, Library Tales, is my new personal anthem. "Sshh, this is a library. no food in here...Two weeks with that...don't forget to bring it back." Who said librarians don't have a sense of humour?