Comedy, Religion, and Musicianship
The relationship between, Bill Burr, Jesus, and an amateur musician.
The church has always been a way of life for me. Ever since I can remember I have always attended Cornerstone Church of God in Athens Georgia. I was essentially required to go until I was about thirteen years old, then my parents allowed told me that it was my choice. Although my parents strongly encouraged that I go, it was never forced. I did not miss a Sunday. The church always just felt like the right place to be. The building itself was filled with joy. The preacher was always good, but there was nothing like the music.
The band was a typhoon of talent. In the rhythm section it was Jason Parnell on the drums. Jason was the former drummer for the band R.E.F.U.G.E (later known as Julian Drive), which won Christianity’s equivalent of America’s got talent. Omar Francis, on the bass. From the depths of Jamaica, with a six string bass and a knack for smooth grooves, This guy was the best bass player I have ever heard.His smile was wide and his sound was legendary.When he was laying it down everyone in the building was on their feet. There were three main guitarists Andrew Pruett, Adam Smith, and Jason Palma. Andrew and Adam have been playing together since they were 12 years old. They were like an elderly couple constantly bickering and insulting each other, but they had skills. Jason had skills but he also gumption. He was determined to be the best guitar player there ever was, and it showed. He could play circles around any guitarist his age. Alex was on the keys, but he excelled on the drums and bass as well. He was practically a prodigy. They were all led by the fire breathing lead vocalist from New Jersey, Pastor Lance.
I showed up to my audition carrying a Gretsch g5420 electric guitar that was way to good for me. This would seem to be the opposite of a problem, but i had no amplifier. The other guitarist saw this and could immediately tell I knew nothing about tone.I stood on a stage with no audience, surrounded by a plethora of great musicians. This was not my First time on the stage, but it is my most memorable. Even with no audience i still was stricken with stage fright. All of my peers would know exactly how good of a musician i was. There was no way to hide who I was. This feeling of nakedness is what I imagine comedians face from show to show, because like how the other musicians would know if I was good, everyone will know if a comedian is funny.
Comedians face a lot of pressure when preforming; arguably more than musicians. Everyone knows what to expect when they go to see a band preform. People know their tones, people know their songs, and people know their style. When a comedian goes on stage though, he has to prove himself. It is always an uphill battle. Audience members sit smugly in their seats and judge the hilarity of someone’s stories like he or she isn't a professional who has dedicated his or her entire life to preforming exceptionally in that moment.
Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest will stay at rest, and people commonly apply this physics principal to their own beliefs. It is difficult to entice an audience with jokes because everyone finds different things funny and as a result comedians have become masters of perspective. For example Bill Burr. Bill Burr is an angry middle aged comedian who views life through a cynical lens. Burr’s policy on everything is zero tolerance. He goes on stage and just complains, like it’s his job, which it is. He yells and screams and whines in order to form a telescope for observers, which he then aims in the direction of all things inconvenient. Making someone angry about something is a great way to captivate them and in doing so Bill Burr makes them have a great time. Bill Burr forces people to see things through is own eyes, and then he makes what people see funny. Bill Burr and many others have become great at captivating audiences, but one man stands above the rest.
The ultimate historical master of captivation is Jesus Christ. Literally millions of people dedicated every aspect of their lives to following his word. Many people have tried to depict the life an times of the almighty God in movies like Son of God, Passion of the Christ and countless National Geographic T.V specials, but one stands above the rest as the most ridiculous and obscure. Saturday Night Lives “Djesus Uncrossed” interprets Jesus as a shotgun wielding, roman slaying badass. Only rivaled by the M16 carrying Jesus in South Park’s stick of truth, DJesus Uncrossed is easily the most offensive depiction of Jesus their ever was.
In the church it would be absolutely unheard of to reference a third of the Holy trinity with such disgrace. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God, meaning that he is pure. It seems so strange for him to be the subject of a Tarantino inspired fake movie trailer, but that is exactly what makes it funny. If they just took any old nerd and made him the protagonist of a Tarantino movie spin-off it would just be a bad joke, but because it’s the Almighty God it has meaning, and because it has meaning it’s funny.
Bill Burr and Saturday Night live create their comedy by taking subjects that seem to be obscure topics and turn them into the perfect jokes. They turn sensitive things such as religion and depression into punchlines in order to get their points across. Often this can result in offending audience members, but other than a few dollars lost in advertisements, the two remain unaffected.
Being offensive is a cornerstone of comedy. If people did not get offended by things then jokes would not exist. Saturday Night Live and Bill Burr are both keenly aware of this information. Burr does not take a break from being offensive in his stand ups and Saturday Night Live, clearly demonstrates that they have no qualms about completely tarnishing a third of the populations sacred beliefs. However they are both aware that there is power in offending people. The human race’s collective self consciousness behaves as a kind of well from which artist can draw inspiration.