Comedy Central's double standard on humor was glaring on late Wednesday/early Thursday, after it dropped comedian Artie Lange from its @midnight program for his disturbing, racially-tinged sex fantasy about an ESPN host (which he tried to explain away as "comedy"). However, the same episode of the game show-style show featured a beyond sacrilegious round that slimed Catholic priests, along with Jesus; and even made an anti-Semitic joke. [video below]
Host Chris Hardwick introduced the "Jesus Christ Superstardust" round by noting an article on the website Buzzfeed about a calendar of good-looking Catholic priests: "The priests were taken from the 2014 hot priest calendar, which features twelve actual Vatican priests sexy enough to be a Mister January through December." He continued with a gutter-level double entendre: "Glory Hole-lelujah!" (As the Catholic League's Thursday press release attacking the show put it, "For the unacquainted, a 'glory hole' is a hole in the wall of a men's bathroom stall where homosexuals insert their penis, hoping for oral sex).
Hardwick then pointed out "another thing that surprisingly exists is the Stardust Diner, a Manhattan restaurant featuring singing waiters, actors, and dancers. The crazy thing is, it's really impossible to tell the two [the calendar and the diner] apart." The contestants – comedians Hari Kondabolu, Bridget Everett, and Jeffrey Ross – were shown a picture, and they had to answer whether the person was a priest or a Stardust employee.
The first picture turned out to be a waiter at the New York City diner. After the second picture was shown, and the host revealed him to a Catholic cleric, Ross launched a vile one-liner about the Messiah: "I'm not even gay, and I want to nail him, like Jesus to the Cross." As the audience laughed and applauded his crack, the comedian then put his hat over his heart and pretended to mouth a prayer with his gaze skyward.
Hardwick ended the round with his anti-Semitic joke: "Listen. don't worry: Jeff [Ross] is a Jew. He did nail Jesus to the Cross." Both the audience and the Jewish comedian apparently didn't find this offensive, as they both got a kick out of it.
In the Thursday press release, Catholic League president Bill Donahue blasted the Comedy Central host, along with Ross, for their "gratuitous shot at Jesus," and called them out for using their "anti-Semitic card." He added, "We're not sure who is watching Comedy Central at midnight on weekdays. No matter, it would take a really twisted individual to get a kick out of last night's show. As usual, when it comes to bashing a religion, the corporate boys and girls at Comedy Central steer clear of offending Muslims. We all know why."
(Note: MRC President Brent Bozell serves on the board of advisors for the Catholic League)