In an evening that was equal parts pep rally, comedy show and religious revival, “The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy and the Spiritual Life” brought together Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, and comedian Stephen Colbert at the Rose Hill Gymnasium on Sept. 14.
The gathering, which was moderated by James Martin, S.J., had its fair share of zingers (Dolan: “Do you feel pressure to be funny all the time?” Colbert: “Do you feel pressure to be holy all the time?”), but the theme that emerged was quite serious: After all he went through for humanity, Jesus had the last laugh.
Students camped out on line the night before to get the coveted blue wristband that assured them one of the gym’s 3,000 seats.
Christine Firer-Hinze, Ph.D., theology professor and director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, introduced the participants.
“We really didn’t know what to expect from the conversation; it turned out to be very funny, but also serious,” she said.
The initial idea for the program came from two assistant theology professors, Charles Camosy, Ph.D., and Michael Peppard, Ph.D., who envisioned the event as an example of the New Evangelization.
Describing herself as “religious,” Sara McDonough, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center sophomore who was one of the attendees, said that even though she had never seen Colbert’s show, she wondered whether his reputed humor would be dulled in a conversation about religion.
“But I was entertained throughout the whole event. It was really funny—I loved it.”
Her friend Natalie DeVaughn, a sophomore international studies major at Lincoln Center, agreed.
“I think it’s important that people know that religion isn’t all about reprimanding and guilt, that it’s supposed to give you happiness,” she said. “I think this was definitely about happiness.” (To see the animated introduction to the program by Fordham student Tim Luecke, click here🙂