Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Most jokes about religion aren't about doctrine or dogma, but about marketing"

The last of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle last night, on religion. Apart from the extreme evangelical dog school which trained dogs to attack Rowan Williams, here are a few of the good lines - enhanced tenfold by the deadpan delivery:

"The reason I now believe in God and creation and intelligent design is Professor Richard Dawkins. How can something as complex and intricate and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins have evolved by chance? Professor Richard Dawkins was put there to test us, like fossils or facts."

“Most jokes about religion aren’t about doctrine or dogma, but about marketing…Catholicism combines a search for a profound spiritual truth in the universe with a love of inane seaside souvenir shop tat. You don’t often see those two things working as a team.”

“It is very difficult to do a joke about Islam because most people don’t really know enough about it for you to do anything sophisticated, so you end up falling back on the most obvious and perfunctory stereotypes, which is very frustrating.”

I expected much more anti-religious stuff, so it was (mostly, if you discount the adolescent skits) good fun. Interesting to see how many comedians are openly atheist (e.g. Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard), and the only people we'll now listen to for long enough to allow them to develop an argument are comedians...

More thoughtful stuff from Lee on religion here.


  1. I've just watched it on iplayer. Must admit I was a little disappointed , previous episodes have been excellent. Having said that the evangelist at the door was superb!

  2. Afraid I just don't find him funny any more. He seems to have regressed into gauche teenagerism. Now Fist of Fun, that was good.

  3. Somehow I'd not come across him before, so I found his approach quite different. Agree with Richard that earlier episodes were better. Think I was expecting a bit more of a critique of religion than we actually got.