Here's How Pope Francis Hosts Over 100 Comedians at the Vatican
Here's How  Pope Francis Hosts Over 100 Comedians at the Vatican

VATICAN: Pope Francis made headlines by hosting an unusual gathering at the Vatican on Friday: a global assembly of comedians. The event, described as a “conclave of comedians,” saw the Pope welcoming notable figures like Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O’Brien to Rome. More than 100 comedians from 15 countries attended the event, with over 200 people in the audience.

Known for his sense of humor, the 87-year-old pontiff often engages in light-hearted banter with those he meets. He humorously tells them, “please pray for me… not against me!” His fondness for humor is reflected in his daily prayers, where he seeks to maintain a sense of joy and perspective in life.

“A sense of humor uplifts you; it shows that life is short and encourages us to take things lightly, like a redeemer,” Pope Francis once remarked in an interview. “It is a human quality, but it is the one closest to the grace of God.”

The meeting with “artists from the world of humor” is part of the Pope’s ongoing efforts to connect with contemporary culture. The Vatican explained in a statement that the gathering underscores how comedy can contribute to a more empathetic and supportive world.

This event follows Pope Francis’ significant visit to the Venice Biennale and his meeting last year with artists and directors at the Vatican. It also comes amidst questions surrounding the Pope’s outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics following reports of a homophobic slur used in private meetings.

Among the US participants were Tig Notaro, Jim Gaffigan, and several Catholics including Colbert and Fallon, who were raised in the Catholic Church. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, unsure of what to expect, also attended the event.

Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest known as “The Colbert Report’s Chaplain,” was present, and Colbert humorously anticipated the papal audience on his show, saying, “Pope Francis is going to meet me at the Vatican! Am I excited? Is the pope Catholic?”

Colbert jokingly warned Chris Rock, referencing the Oscars incident involving Will Smith, “Chris, for safety’s sake, I would just keep Mary Magdalene’s name out of your mouth. Because the pope wears a big ring!”

He also addressed the controversy over the Pope’s reported use of an anti-gay slur, humorously asking, “Why Pope Frankie, why?”

Whoopi Goldberg, known for “Sister Act,” had previously met the Pope during an audience in the Vatican last year. At that meeting, she playfully offered Francis a cameo in “Sister Act 3,” the film series about a singer who joins a convent.

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