By John Delery I Illustration By Matt DeAngelis
Shortly before trotting onstage, the Divine Comedian stops rehearsing His set and inspects His pecs in the dressing-room mirror.
Look at You. You’re a God. Or you would be by now if Dad Almighty would finally retire to North Carolina, his idea of Heaven. Hey, I’ve been Your right-hand man for more than 2,000 years. Shouldn’t that qualify Me for a promotion by now, Faaaaaather? Man, doing God’s workout, power-walking among the people: You’re ripped!
After a knock on the door, He tightens his robe, steps into His work sandals and heads out the door as the emcee shouts, “Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and show a little undying devotion to the Messiah of All Media, Jaaaaaaaay Christi!”
Thank you, thank you. Like Dangerfield, I know a little something about tough crowds.
I mean even after promising the multitudes eternal life – What did Kelly Clarkson, the first “Idol, promise her worshipers? An album every other year? Ooooooooh! – I still lost the audience vote to Barabbas on Aramaean Idol. I gotta admit, after that startling renunciation, I just about died. A lot like these jokes, huh?
But I hung in there – Hey, no groaning in the back; I can smite you from here — and three days later my career was resurrected. Ever since, I’ve been headlining the Big Room for the Big Guy upstairs.
People are always asking Me: What’s it like being the Son of God? Well, I’ll tell you: It’s hellish. How do you impress or compete with someone who created the world in six days? Oh sure, with one touch I can make the lame walk, the deaf hear and the blind see, but everybody’s more awed by the Wonders of God: a sunset, a rainbow, those crazy shoes that look like a pump but feel like a sneaker. Noooooobody talks about the Blunders of God: Attila the Hun, Hitler, ABC inexplicably renewing According to Jim season after season.
Heck, our Father was too busy to record the message on His answering machine. That’s Me saying, “Hi, this is God. I can’t come to the phone right now, but leave a prayer and I’ll answer it in the order in which it was received.” How impersonal. If You have a personal relationship with Me, hey, I’ll come to your house to baby-sit.
“Hi, kids. I’m gonna watch, whoa, all 10 of you while your parents are at the movies. Behave; otherwise, I’ll send you to hell without your supper. Speaking of eating, let’s see: What did your mom and dad leave for dinner? Hmmm, there’s nothing in the fridge — except one fish and a loaf of bread. Oh, well, no problemo! Boy, these kids’ parents can multiply, but they sure can’t divide.”
Unlike Dad, who never leaves His pearly-gated community, I live on my own and am a bit of a holy terror. At My annual Sinners ‘n’ Saints barbecue, you’ll find Me in the backyard flipping burgers in My floppy hat that reads, “I’m Cooking, So You’re Cleaning Up the Messiah.” I’m tapping My spatula on the grill, impatiently checking My watch, and wondering: OK, where the heck is Satan? The burgers will be done any second– and it’s not a barbecue without deviled eggs!
Actually, I’m nothing like My Father. I’m an average Joseph, a regular God. Sure, I’m more of a wine drinker, but every now and then, I’ll chug a brewski. And ladies drink free with Me, ’cause J-Dawg knows how to impress da nuns and da sistas — by ordering water and changing it into wine. Oh yeah, ladies: Consider Me your personal Lord and bartender!
Thank you, thank you. Remember to tip your waitstaff, and be sure to catch My Second Coming — at the 10 p.m. show.
John Delery is a contributing writer for Punchline Magazine.