How is it that Jesus Christ hasn’t already had a cartoon?
Of course, he has made regular appearances on South Park, and has been well satirized on film by Will Ferrell in Superstar and on television by Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live.
But Jesus Christ, it’s time he got a cartoon. Right?
Comedy Central thinks so. The cable network that’s brought us animated hits not only including South Park but also Futurama, Drawn Together and newer shows like Sit Down, Shut Up and Ugly Americans, a new show is on the potential religious controversy horizon. And that’s right on the heels of their recent controversy with the Muslim religion over the animated representation of Muhammad.
Balls to the walls is Comedy Central.
The show will be called JC (hey, it’s better than WWJD) and would be a spinoff of sorts from the South Park character. Why should Jesus be a supporting character?
A news release from the cable network stated that the show is about “JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water. Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city. JC is a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb.”
I guess they mean dumb funny not dumb dumb.
The network, by issuing the press release specifically noting the show is in the very earliest stages of production, is putting out feelers to see just how much controversy the show can muster up. Perhaps Comedy Central chose this timing to unleash the power of JC because the Vatican is weighed down with much, ahem, larger controversies and an animated Jesus is about the least of its worries. They will simply spend some time in mass praying there isn’t a molester-priest character.
Is America ready to laugh at Jesus?
I think we are.
I am a recovering Catholic and Catholic school survivor. Ever since Sister Saint Katherine outlawed the song “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel when I was in 8th grade, I’ve been committed to finding the humor in the Jesus. I think we’ve always taken Jesus too seriously. I completely picture him just like the Will Ferrell character—all laid back and groovy. He would want us to laugh. He would laugh with us. Being all serious and sending people to hell is his dad’s job—JC is all about chilling out and having a good time and magically creating more wine and hanging out with the hookers and whatnot.
I want to party with you, JC.
I agree with the folks at the network (and not just because I have a total crush on Jon Stewart from The Daily Show.) “In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central head of original programming Kent Alterman.
Alas, there’s already controversy brewing as the blogosphere inevitably delves into the debate as only it can—calling the show “tasteless.”
Tasteless? Like the Dane Cook “Christ Chex” skit, I’ve tasted Jesus as funny, and I think it’s freaking delicious.
Mary McCarthy blogs at pajamasandcoffee.com.