Jesus is always game for a good laugh. He’s appeared throughout the annals of comedy, from Monty Python all the way to South Park and Family Guy more recently. Nothing’s sacred, and it’s pretty hard to blaspheme these times, especially in a city that can resemble a Hieronymus Bosch painting on an off day. So Jesus figured, “Why not?” and made himself the fall guy last night at his own celebrity roast, but all his crappy booking agent could get was a crowd of less than one hundred at Fat City.
It’s true, Jesus looks exactly like Eric Stoltz in Pulp Fiction, and he dressed up for the momentous occasion in a shimmering sequin robe. Sweet threads, homeboy. His roasters consisted of Tammy Fay Baker, Bacchus the God of Intoxication, Mary Magdalene, Jackie Mason, Judas, Mother Mary, Frank Sinatra, and Mother Teresa. But that’s the extent of the act. This comedy troupe threw a free-for-all act where some decided to act out their impersonations faithfully, and others chose the absurd. Tammy Fay, Bacchus, Magdalene and Teresa decided to get dressed and in character, but Jackie Mason was some old guy with dreads, Mother Mary looked like someone’s Aunt Cheryl, and Frank Sinatra resembled a haggard Jeff Garlin.
The disarray of continuity led to confusion. Mother Teresa was a hilarious character, dressed to look like the selfless lady, but portrayed as a sex-starved groupie waiting to give it up to Jesus. But regular-looking folk like faux Frank Sinatra and Virgin Mary felt like attempts to get their yucks in without really trying. Is the absurdity supposed to be funny? Absurdity shouldn’t even be questioned, otherwise it just doesn’t work in a comedy act. Only the boys at Stella really know how to pull it off.
Just think of all the cheeky, risqué jabs at Jesus ever taken at the man and it was there. At one point “Jackie” jokes about the body of Christ not being Kosher because it wasn’t killed properly. Mary Magdalene, a cutie pie with her best freak ‘um dress on, was essentially called a slut all night. It’s funny stuff, but Jesus humor can get tedious and drawn out, especially over the course of two hours. Mary Magdalene fucked a lot of dudes. Okay I get the point.
The mere idea of a Jesus roast has potential for laughs, although the good jokes came sporadically and already felt like a repetitive exercise after the first few roasters. This great idea is better suited for a short sketch format, where the best cracks at Jesus are thrown out in, say, 7 minutes. What do you know -- there is, and it’s on YouTube. No wonder so many stayed in.