Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on Protestants

After posting about the Roger Ebert article about religion, guest-blogger Jesse Galef reminded me of an old video with Ebert and the late Gene Siskel that turned up on YouTube a few years ago.

In it, Siskel (a Jew) and Ebert (raised Catholic) joke around (with blunt and NSFW language) about Protestants and president at the time, Ronald Reagan. Siskel says Protestants run the country and their ought to be a rebellion. Only half-jokingly, it seems.

Here’s a brief and edited transcript:

Ebert: Protestants… people who sort of want a religion. Let’s stick together… the Catholics and the fucking Jews, we go back a few years together.

Siskel: C’mon, we’re real! We’re real. We get down and get dirty.

Ebert: We were burning each other when Martin Luther was only a gleam in his mother’s eye.

Siskel: I’ll take a Baptist… I’ll take a Baptist. I go back… 6000 years… I want… somebody that has some goddamned passion, some blood coursing through their veins.

Ebert: Case closed.

Siskel: Anything.

Ebert: Right. Goddamned Protestants. Biggest thing that happens for them on Sunday is a bakesale.

Siskel: No, they gotta decide what color yellow tie to fucking buy… gee, which should it be, lime green or dark green, today, honey?

Ebert: Right. The only fucking religion that has a Reader’s Digest as a prayer book.

Siskel: They don’t get enough shit; they have all the money… They have all the money.

Ebert: The only time Protestants get on their knees is to adjust the fucking TV set.

Siskel: … They have all the goddamned insurance companies… they run the government, they run everything.

Ebert: You’re right.”

The entire video is entertaining if you don’t take them too seriously — which you shouldn’t. You get a good sense of the camaraderie between the two men… and how much they despised/loved each other.

  • Tony Miller

    I loved the last line the best. “I already shot my wad on the Protestants.”

  • Utellmemuthafucker

    Is this meant to be funny or do they really despise  protestants?

  • Zach’s Mind

    It’s meant to be funny. There’s no evidence outside this video that either man was obstinately prejudice towards protestants or anyone for that matter. They were just blowing off steam, here. Having to record those thankless commercial spots every week was a tedious chore for both men, like encasing their brains in jars. They’d both rather be anywhere but in front of that camera saying the same eight words over and over until it was just right. They were mentally battling through it. If you watch the whole video, there’s a point when they get venomous at each other, and what we’re witnessing at the end is discovery of common ground. Siskel was Jewish. Ebert was from a Catholic upbringing but lived his adult life as a rational skeptic.

    There is a point where Siskel goes off on a near evangelistic tangent about the Baptists having all the money, which is a response to how stereotypically it’s always the Jews that are accused of hoarding resources and manipulating other groups. Siskel inhales and Ebert jovially administers a “you’re right” response, but it doesn’t feel he really means it. It’s his way of alleviating the tension. Ebert was politely telling Siskel to shut up, by agreeing with him, but whether he did really agree or not wasn’t what was important in the moment. They still had a job to do, which was to record the spot.

    No malicious intent was intended nor should be inferred. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, The Earth is flat. etc.

  • Right Way

    I’ve never heard a Christian use the term “God D _ _ N so many times in my life. Skeptic, yeah, I think that’s painting it lightly.