How to make God laugh out loud

Fr Frankie Mulgrew

Fr Frankie Mulgrew is a Catholic priest with a background in stand-up comedy. He was once so depressed he used to watch EastEnders for relief. Then he learned how to relish the divine sense of humour, as he writes in his new book.

- The Catholic Herald

The day before my ordination last summer I was giving my four-year-old nephew a lift in the car. I wanted to test him, so I said: 'Tristan, what’s happening tomorrow?' He said: 'Uncle Frankie, you’re being ordained.'

I was surprised. I thought: four years old and he knows terminology like that. This kid’s a genius. Then I said: 'And Tristan what happens when I am ordained?' He said: 'You become a priest.'

I thought: that’s two out of two. I need to go for the third and final question, so I said: 'And Tristan, what do priests do?' And he said: 'They wear dresses!'

I’ve put the cause for his canonisation on hold, but it certainly made me laugh out loud! I’m a Catholic priest with a background in stand-up comedy, so maybe it was only natural that I should be inspired to bring the two worlds together in a book.

My book Does God LOL? has contributions from comedians including Ken Dodd, Tim Vine, Ricky Tomlinson, Jo Brand and Milton Jones. The idea must have originated in my background since as I’m from not only a traditional Irish Catholic background but also a deeply rooted showbusiness background. If I hadn’t gone into the priesthood, it probably would have been Riverdance.

When I was in comedy, it was a great privilege to make people laugh. I mainly used props. I would look at the audience and say: 'If the corkscrew hadn’t been invented would Australians look like this?' Then I would put on an Australian hat with the bottles still attached to their corks. Seeing people happy and enjoying themselves brings great joy – even on the nights when it is not going all that well. Once I was heckled with the line: 'Get off!' To which I replied: 'I’m sorry, sir, I don’t do requests.'

A few weeks ago my youngest sister Katie got married. She’s a comedian and so is my dad. He is the comedian Jimmy Cricket. After the speeches, one comedian commented on how we were all enjoying one another’s banter and good humour. 'Your family were raised on laughter,' she said. Joy begets joy. Laughter begets laughter and surely God would not have given us this great gift if he wanted us all to be miserable.

FULL STORY My guide to making God laugh out loud (The Catholic Herald)

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