No joke: Dolan-Colbert ‘Catholic comedy slam’ gets media blackout

News that Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan would appear together on a panel on … Continued

News that Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan would appear together on a panel on faith and humor next month was greeted with widespread anticipation: Both men are devout Catholics and pretty darned funny.

But now this tale has a surprising punch line that will surely make a lot of people unhappy: Organizers of the Catholic comedy slam, set for Sept. 14 at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York, have announced a total media blackout of the event.

“After extended conversations with the program participants, the university will be closing the event to the media,” the university’s communications office wrote Thursday (Aug. 9) in an email to reporters. The event is titled “The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy, and the Spiritual Life.”

“The evening has evolved from a public event to a more intimate conversation in front of members of the Fordham community,” the statement said. “We will not be videotaping the event for distribution, nor streaming it on the web or elsewhere.”

That’s an abrupt change from initial plans to broadcast the event as widely as possible, maybe even on cable television. It may also rob the Catholic Church of a valuable opportunity to show the faith in a positive light and to an audience — Colbert’s, mainly — that might otherwise tune out churchmen like Dolan.

As of now it appears that the audience for the event will be limited to several hundred Fordham students. But given the ubiquity of hand-held digital devices — and the demand for at least snippets of the cardinal and the comedian interacting — it is likely that at least some of the program will make it onto YouTube or Twitter.

Dolan’s spokesman referred all inquiries about the switch to Fordham, and officials there said they could not elaborate. A spokeswoman for Colbert, who portrays a right-wing blowhard on his popular cable show, “The Colbert Report,” did not respond to requests for comment.

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  • CJP6

    B-i-g-o-t-r-y. Oh wait-it is not bigotry when it comes to the Catholic Church. Maria, ora pro nobis!

  • Ted Hod

    The book that wa written in the 1980′s featuring John Cardinal O’Conner and Mayor Ed Koch was a great book for dialogue between tese two men, and really moved the liberal-conservative interplay down productive road. This media event between Dolan and Colbert could be a very similar undertaking for

    the modern media age. Imagine if the book “His Emminence and His Honor” were merely distriuted to those people working for the New York arch-diocese and the NY City mayor’s office??? What a waste

    that would have been! We need to see for once some constructive and positive dialogue as a Catholic culture, especially with the utterly scrurrilous, ugly and reprehensible trash that has come out of the

    Obama campaign in the last week!! Give us access to this breath of fresh grace! We need a comedic lifeline!

  • Ted Hod

    And Al Smith must be turning over in his grave with Cardinal Dolan’s invitation to Obama to the Al Smith

    dinner in NY. Whatever you can say about Al Smith, he was known for his decency and he ALWAYS

    battled hard (God rest his soul). It is amazing with how much an elitist tht Robert Moses was that he

    virtually worshipped at Al Smith’s feet, with this happy warior just being in contrast to Moses, a very

    simple man who got as far as he did by sheer will. With the sheer garbage that has come out of

    the Obama-Biden campaign (and related PACs) in the last week, there is no commonality between

    the Democrats of the 1920′s and what is seen in the party in “modern times”. Joe Biden wasn’t

    insulting Wall Street and Romney by his slur yesterday, but was only revealing what was in his heart:

    his statement has no place in our politics, and harkens back to Jesse Jackson talking about New York

    as “Hymietown”. Say what you want about Romney–thereis bsolutely -0- evidence to tag him as a racists–it’s just an ugly attitude all the way round and wasn’t a gaffe