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Pope Francis Hosts Comics Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Pope Francis Hosts Comics Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

One hundred comedians walk into the Vatican… but it’s no joke.

Pope Francis on Friday hosted more than 100 comedians from around the world, to highlight the importance of humor to society.

Among the attendees were late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Conan O’Brien, stand-up comics Jim Gaffigan and Tig Notaro, and others from countries spanning the globe.

He spoke to the crowd about one of the “miracles” of comedy:

“You manage to make people smile even while dealing with problems and events, large and small,” the Pope said. “You denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you point out inappropriate behavior.”

“Remember this,” he added. “When you manage to bring intelligent smiles to the lips of even a single spectator, you also make God smile.” 

Some of the attendees spoke to local media after the meeting, with O’Brien saying: “A lot of these other American comedians have been my friends for years… We are all looking at each other thinking something’s wrong. We are in this beautiful, beautiful space in the Vatican and for some reason they’ve let comedians in, which is always a mistake.”

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“I thought his comments were beautiful,” Louis-Dreyfus added. “I was delighted to be here.”

And a reporter asked Goldberg if she asked the Pope to appear in Sister Act 3, to which she replied, “I didn’t think it was the right place to bring it up, but I’ll probably send an email.”

Pope Francis did have one more ask of the assembled comics: He said that while it is ok to “laugh at God, just as we play and joke with those we love,” he added that it was not ok if it was done to offend religious believers.

“You unite people because laughter is contagious,” he concluded. “I ask you to please pray for me: For, with a smile, not against!”

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