Program will feature a variety of voices from various religious traditions, and the humor often hidden within religion, faith and conversation
What's So Funny About Religion?, an interfaith TV special, will be broadcast Sunday, June 30, on CBS. Please check your local station (WEVV, WTHI-TV, WLKY, KFVS, KMOV, WTVF or WNKY-CBS, depending where you are in our area) for exact time.
The program features a variety of voices from various religious traditions, and the humor often hidden within religion, faith and conversation.
We listen to Lewis Black, a well known comedian, playwright and contributor on “The Daily Show.” He’s also the author of Me of Little Faith, where he speaks of his relationship with organized religion. We talked to him about why some matters of faith figure into his work.
Mo Amer and Azhar Usman are asked about why Muslim-Arab comedy is finally coming into its own. Azhar Usman says, “That an unapologetic generation of Arab and American-Muslim comics is only now beginning to blossom.” Mo is an Arab American of Palestinian descent, and Azhar is a Muslim born and raised in Skokie, Illinois. The two toured as part of the Muslim-Arab comedy tour “Allah Made Me Funny” with comedian Preacher Moss. They are using humor to talk about life as a religious and ethnic minority in America.
Reverend Susan Sparks is a stand-up comedian with a pulpit. Since 2007, she has served as Senior Minister at Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York. Before attending seminary, Susan worked as a corporate trial lawyer and studied the art of stand-up in order to help her connect better with juries. She has since left the corporate life for the call of ministry, but still performs in comedy clubs. She says: “When the jobs are done right, both a minister and a stand-up make people feel a little less alone.”
Matt Weber is part of a new generation of Catholics, and is seen once a week as creator and host of “A Word with Weber” on Catholic TV, an international TV network based in Watertown, Mass. In a few short minutes, he delivers a quirky and humorous take on life as a twenty-something Catholic. The segments are modeled after CBS legend Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame.
Father Jim Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, book author, contributing editor at America magazine, and official chaplain of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.
Since joining the priesthood, he has used his comic sensibility to spread the gospel. He said, “When I was a novice, the Jesuit Superior General came to visit us. I asked him: ‘What's the best way to increase vocations?’ and he said, ‘Live your own vocation joyfully.’”
John P. Blessington is the executive producer and Liz Kineke is the producer. The documentary is produced in cooperation with The National Council of Churches, a consortium of Roman Catholic organizations, The Islamic Society of North America, and The Union of Reform Judaism, and the New York Board of Rabbis.
Following the June 30 air date this program may be viewed again on: www.cbsnews.com/religionculture.