Stephen Colbert, who (when in character) calls himself America’s most famous Catholic, spoke at the Al Smith Dinner last month. Colbert, who maintains a friendship with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, brought his usual irreverent humor for the crowd, including a few zingers for the Pope. Here’s hoping that one difference between Pope Francis and his predecessor is a sense of humor. Something tells me that Pope Francis would have like Colbert’s shtick, assuming the bit translates well into Spanish. If you want to listen to the whole speech you can find it here.
Here are a few of the highlights from John Blake’s coverage at CNN:
“As an observant Catholic, I believe the Pope is infallible,” said Colbert, a Communion-class teacher at a parish in New Jersey. “But he’s also wrong about a lot of things.”
Colbert … poked fun at the new Pope’s humble lifestyle, saying that if the pontiff were in charge of the white-tie charity event … “His Humbleness would be out washing the feet of the coat-check guy or something,” Colbert quipped. “We get it, you’re modest.”
“But it’s not just his humble lifestyle. He’s off message. He says Catholics need to stop obsessing about homosexuality, contraception and abortion. For Pete’s sake, we need something to obsess about now that `Breaking Bad’ is over.”
“Being Catholic is like being in the Admiral’s Club of Christianity: Membership has its privileges,” Colbert joked. “But if even atheists can be redeemed, what’s next, Lutherans? It’s madness.”
Dolan, the portly archbishop of New York and a rising star in the Catholic Church, came this close to being elected pope himself earlier this year, Colbert said. “But he blew it in the swimsuit competition. I would have gone with the one-piece.”
On Thursday night, Dolan, who was dressed in a cardinal’s traditional small black cape with red trimming, looked like “a matador who’s really let himself go,” Colbert joked. “Did you not see the invite? It said white-tie, not ‘flamboyant Zorro.”
Here are a few other lines from the talk from Colbert’s news hub.
“I am proud to be America’s most famous Catholic,” Colbert declared, turning to Dolan, who was sitting next to him on a dais that included Gov. Andrew Cuomo, CBS anchor Scott Pelley and others. “And I’m sure the cardinal is thinking, ‘Stephen, pride is a sin.’ Well, cardinal, so is envy, so we’re even.”
About 1,000 people paid $1,500 apiece to attend the dinner, which Colbert referred to as “Catholic Thanksgiving” because it falls on the third Thursday of every October.
“It’s like we all showed up at the same Halloween party dressed as the Monopoly guy,” he said. “And you know that’s kind of fitting because the Wall Street guys apparently have a get-out-of-jail free card.”