If you have Showtime on demand, don’t miss the first and only season of Happyish, a smart U.S. comedy with the British funnyman Steve Coogan, who’s long been a favorite of mine. The series is also available on iTunes.
Coogan plays Thom Payne, a disillusioned middle-aged advertising executive. Trying to stay sane in a world he helped create but no longer understands, Payne often dreams up amusing stories and movies in his head. The most remarkable one among those is Skidmark Jesus, which Coogan and his crew shot in beautiful black and white and interspersed through the season finale.
In five minutes total, Skidmark Jesus tells the story of the conversion of Simon Blackwall, described as “kind of a Christopher Hitchens / Richard Dawkins type.” Blackwall is a brilliant but quietly miserable man. When we meet up with him, his bowels are giving him trouble, right before a big speech. Examining his underwear after making it to a bathroom just in time (or maybe not quite), he is dumbstruck to find a shit stain that looks like a photorealistic brown-and-white portrait of the Christian Savior.