Friday, July 7

Adding Gravitas to the Nicene Creed



So how the heck is everybody??? And what the heck have I been up to? Well, to be perfectly honest, I've been watching way, way, way too much of this guy, Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report". In keeping with the topic of the blog, I've posted a clip of when Colbert recites the Nicene Creed in its entirety on his show, adding a healthy dose of gravitas on the way.

Colbert is the youngest of 11 children, and was raised in an Irish Roman Catholic family. He has said in an interview that:
I love my Church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.

He also said in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR's "Fresh Air":
We're, you know, very devout and, you know, I still go to church and, you know, my children are being raised in the Catholic Church. And I was actually my daughters' catechist last year for First Communion, which was a great opportunity to speak very simply and plainly about your faith without anybody saying, `Yeah, but do you believe that stuff?' which happens a lot in what I do.

One more interesting quote in an interview in the New York Times says:
I have a wife who loves me, and I am oddly normative. I go to church. I would say that there would be plenty of Catholics in the world who would think of me as not that observant, but for the world I move in professionally, I seem monastic.

Becoming Catholic has been an interesting journey for me, and I have found that trying to find where I belong in past parts of my life has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. Comedy has been a part of my life since I was a small child. I remember listening to my comedy vinyl albums over and over. Artists like Stephen Wright, Emo Phillips, Bill Cosby, and "Weird Al" Yankovic became part of my daily inner monologue. I loved comedy, I loved listening to comedy and reading about comedy. I was an SNL junkie, and loved stand up on the new cable stations that began streaming into my home as a teenager.

As I got older, I began to learn about things such as improv comedy, late night television show comedy, and sketch comedy shows. Comedy Central became my favorite network as I absorbed more and more about comedy. I began learning about the Second City family of players, and how the different players would go on to do so many things in the comedy spectrum. I would watch and learn about new sketch comedy shows the way others would learn about their favorite sports team. While some people could tell you about the new rookie on the basketball team and tell about their high school and college ball career, I could take a writer from SNL and tell you their career history as well, from stand-up or Second City, or possibly the Groundlings in LA or the Hasty Pudding at Harvard, to smaller cable shows to becoming head writer on a popular show. I knew all the big players, and where they had come from and what they were doing now.

But being Catholic, I found my sensibilities changing. What's safe to laugh at? How do I take this passion and incorporate it into my new wineskin? It was a struggle, and I found myself missing that part of my life.

Enter Stephen Colbert. He's successful, he's had a long career in comedy, AND .... he's a professed Catholic. While he would most definitely be considered more "progressive" than most of the Catholics I associate with, on the other hand, he also truly believes in the Church and treasures it in his life. He makes constant references to the Catholic religion on his show, but never in a mean spirited way.

So I've found a new comedian to learn about. And that makes me happy. So I watch him.

13 Comments:

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Kim said...

I love my Church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.

*applause*

What a cool guy. :)

 
At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Dani said...

I did not know this about Mr. Colbert. Great post! Take care. Dani

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Pondering American said...

NIce blog and entry. I linked to you on my blog today. Welcome to the Church. I am a conver too. I hope I can be of assistance to you during your first few years in the faith. We have been throught the same thing.

 
At 7:53 PM, Anonymous michael andreyakovich said...

Suddenly, I have a little more respect for Colbert.

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger Nicholas Jagneaux said...

I got to your post from The Ironic Catholic. Thanks for posting this.

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger Gunner said...

Is the Nicene creed spoken as part of Mass? I went to the local catholic church to experience it and there was a part where something was spoken that sounded like what he said. Not sure if it is the exact same thing, but seemed close. I posted on the experience.

 
At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was the Rite II (contemporary) version of the Nicene Creed from the Episcopal Church USA Book of Common Prayer. I'm not sure if it is also used in Catholic churches, but it is certainly the one used in many Episcopal services. Other Episcopal churches use the Rite I version which is a little different (it uses a more archaic grammer and syntax) but is basically the same.

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Yes, this is in fact the version used during Novus Ordo Catholic masses, or in other words, about 99% of Roman Catholic masses said in this country.

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger CSB said...

Could also have been the Apostles Creed. (Not really permitted on Sundays, where the Nicene is the order of the day-- but Catholics are not famous for obedience this century.)

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger TJIC said...


I am oddly normative


I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

 
At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Trent said...

Speaking of words not meaning what you think they mean, I don't think this was spoken with gravitas, which means dignity and solemnity. This was done in an off-the-cuff manner, with very little gravitas.

Or was that in itself a tongue in cheek reference to Colbert's gravitas showdowns with, um, whathisface. Has a name like River or Rock or Granite or something.

There's a video of him (Him being Colbert, not...Slab? Slab Stevens? No, that's not it.) on Conan the other day talking about teaching Sunday School in his church and influencing young minds by singing spirituals...

Brick. Brick Phillips.

No, that wasn't it, either.

 
At 10:24 PM, Blogger Christina Martin said...

Thank you for posting the video. I LOVE it. I'm showing everyone I can. :)

My kids both watch the Colbert Report (and I do, if I can manage to stay up late enough), and we were all delighted to read your quotes of interviews in which he spoke about his faith.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

I'm not sure if you caught this week's 60 Minutes' special on Colbert - you would have really liked it. It was much of the same, but none-the-less - VERY POIGNANT!!

 

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