It's quite easy to assume that anyone who does a comedy show about God is going to be derogatory towards religious people. That it will bully the poor figure and poke holes in sundry paper-thin arguments based on naught but faith and old books.
Yesterday I invaded the lives of a group of American youths - their nationality easily identified before even hearing them open their mouths. Although, perhaps that's not the most appropriate hyperbole considering I identified them by this very feature - that is, their open mouths.
Not to be "nationist" or anything - I'm Canadian so am definitely not sitting pretty to cast such dispersions on North Americans. But alas, we are a mewling bunch, especially when placed within the framework of Edinburgh's awe-inspiring yet ultimately inconvenient cityscape. We North Americans hate stairs at the best of times. Many a wannabe Scot yank has eschewed return visits to his ancestral homeland due to a lack of urban elevators.
Anywho, I penetrated this small circle of youthful septic tanks, their peepers alight with a cocktail of innate optimism and fear or the unknown, and disseminated my flyers. As usual, I took care to privately identify the alpha of the group and hand off to her first, then wait while the rest gathered around like hungry calves before allowing them their own.
First identifying myself as Like Them (from Toronto), I steamed in with my tag line "Jokes about God, Death, and Genitals" - which usually elicits some degree of interest. There was a nervous silence, followed by what I thought was an aggressive "bloke, are you mad?" Of course, this wasn't what the alpha girl said - these weren't cartoon Australians, they were cartoon Americans. It was a frosty: "jokes about Gad?"
Her eyes glazed as she once-overed me over knowingly - this is why I don't like camedies. The rest of the party exchanged looks of slack-jawed worry. Were they actually inching away?
So I switched to damage control with a quick rant about how the jokes weren't against God, they were jokes to do with God. But it was too late, her flock were already folding my hand-cut flyers in half and looking away, probably thinking about ice cream.
I think the whole theological topic is compelling because it says a lot about us, especially when we jump to conclusions about the beliefs of others. Atheists do it about religious people, and religious people do it about everyone. And, as you can see, I do it about atheists and religious people. And Americans.
Mike Sheer in Undergod - Free is on every day of the Fringe at the Counting House on West Nicolson St near Bristo Square at 1:05 pm. http://www.mikesheer.com/msheer/Undergod.html