The prevalence and perils of Jesus comedy

Two trending videos on the web concerning Jesus comedy:

Saturday Night Live’s entertaining and (dare I say) thought provoking sketch on Jesus visiting Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos after a win.

Jesus tells Tebow that he can’t keep doing all the work by himself, and that studying the actual playbook (instead of just the Bible) would help him become a better QB. Jesus also “suggests” that Tim could take it down a notch…

In addition, there is Tim Minchin’s performance of “Woody Allen Jesus” that almost aired on The Jonathan Ross Show:

Being Christmas, I thought it would be fun to do a song about Jesus, but being TV, I knew it would have to be gentle. The idea was to compare him to Woody Allen (short, Jewish, philosophical, a bit hesitant), and expand into redefining his other alleged attributes using modern, popular-culture terminology.

It’s not a particularly original idea, I admit, but it’s quite cute. It’s certainly not very contentious, but even so, compliance people and producers and lawyers all checked my lyrics long before the cameras rolled.

The song was performed, but was cut after debate. Minchin wrote a great deal about his experience and his thoughts on why is was cut.

It’s not new seeing Jesus video, be it straight comedy or satire. Jesus is frequently on comedic TV, with most of these “appearances” happening on animated shows (The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy).

Such shows are almost always protested in one way or another, and the recent SNL skit was no exception, thanks to Pat Robertson and others.

What, if anything, is off limits concerning Jesus?

Is it important to critically examine media that uses Jesus for comedy or satire?

Or should we just be laughing (that is, if it’s funny)?

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