A cardinal and a comedian walk into a gym
On Friday evening, I stood in a line in the Bronx, waiting to get the colored plastic bracelet that would get me VIP access into a crowded venue. Before anyone gets concerned that I’m endangering my vows, let me point out that the Cardinal Archbishop of New York was there too. Not to mention a crowd of almost 3,000 students chanting “Steee-phen! Steee-phen!” and “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. Cue an older priest asking: “What are they saying?” Not everyone has citizenship in Colbert Nation.
So the cardinal and the comedian walk into a gym, and…
…the New York Times (the New York Times!) says that it “might have been the most successful Roman Catholic youth evangelization event since Pope John Paul II last appeared at World Youth Day.”
What? You were expecting a joke?
Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and Stephen Colbert, who needs no introduction, came to Fordham University on Friday night to talk about humor, joy, and faith. Competition for the tickets was so intense that students, like Apple fans awaiting the new iPhone, lined up before dawn. Those that got the coveted blue bracelet that served as a ticket spent the evening listened to “the Cardinal and Colbert” do ten minute stand-up routines (prepared remarks), before sitting down to a free-flowing conversation moderated by Fr. James Martin, SJ, ranging from whether Jesus laughed at the disciples when they were missing his point (consensus was yes) to whether Colbert felt pressure to be funny all the time (his response to Dolan: “Do you feel pressure to be holy all the time?”).
Despite a media blackout, the event got live-tweeted via both #dolancolbert and #dolbert, which means that the coverage from the NYTimes and the Associated Press already has a couple of the funnier lines from the evening, and Cardinal Dolan and Fr. Martin both posted the text of their remarks. Since the jokes don’t get any better when I retell them, I’ll leave the humor to them.
And here’s what I’ll tell you instead: the jokes were not the most memorable part of the evening. Most of us sitting there in the dark of the Fordham gymnasium came because Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest people on television. But when we filed out, it wasn’t the one-liners that students were talking about; instead they were saying: “They were real.” [More]