Taylor Robbin: “Religion and Comedy”

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This is a short clip from a full episode of Startalk featuring the host Neil deGrasse Tyson, with guest comedian Bill Maher. The two are trying to find religion’s place in comedy. Everyone says “never talk about religion or politics,” but Bill Maher has had a lot of success making fun of both. Maher is an atheist, but doesn’t clarify where he lands on Tyson’s polarizing scale, going from atheist that do not believe in anything, and on the other end, the atheist that want to rid the world of religion. In the clip, Tyson asks about Maher’s 2008 documentary “Religulous,” combining the two words, religion and ridiculous. Maher obviously finds religion humorous, something that naturally makes fun of itself. After a short conversation between Maher and Tyson, the host continues the conversation with a political scientist Alison Dagnes, who believes it is fine for comedians to poke fun at religion.

Tylor, like Maher, seems to see religion as savage, backwards, and quite humorous. Although Maher doesn’t come right out and say that people that believe in religion are primitive, he does like to mock the theory and ideas surrounding religion. In my opinion, Tylor would agree with Dagnes, also approving that it is okay for comedians, like Maher, to make fun of organized religion. Tylor might find it hard to believe that for how advanced American culture is, for example, in terms of technology, that religion still exists. But to Tylor, that reason may lead to the explanation for why churches are losing members to rapidly. With atheism growing in this country, and around the world, religion is going to become the spotlight for more and more jokes. And even though religion is a sacred thing for those who have a need for it in their lives, it can be used to make both sides happy. The people who have their religion have that to be happy about, and the atheist will always have something to mock.



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