Meet the Big, Bad, Wolf…Dog?! (Because Laughter is Medicine)

Grief causes many reactions. Sometimes violence, usually denial, and when something takes the wind out of your sails, sometimes, nay, oftentimes, a sense of humor saves the day. In fact, it’s been proven that laughter often performs miracles, pulling folks out of depressions, helping them find hope, even stimulating physical recovery from injuries.

Fr. James Martin, SJ wrote a great book about the role humor plays in our faith lives in his Between Heaven and Mirth. He even shares an example of how humor helped him turn the corner during an untimely illness just before his ordination.

Channeling Senator Lloyd Bentsen for a moment then, here’s what I have to say about the video you are about to watch.

I served in Kuala Lumpur. I knew Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur was a friend of mine. Sir, you have never been to Kuala Lumpur.

WARNING! Please move any liquids away from your keyboard.

‘Cause there ain’t no quick-sand there! What else have you got?

Scary and uncanny! Anything more?

I hope you had your little yellow booties on!

What’s that, dear readers? You want to know who this is and what his backstory is? I’m glad to oblige. Meet Michael DellaVecchia, and why he made these videos, in his own words,

(Hello) everybody. When I found out that John Corapi was silenced it was a few days after it happened and it was also one day after his first written “defense” appeared on his old Facebook page. My wife and I had been avid enjoyers of his sermons from radio and TV appearances. Fortunately for us, we never bought any of his media. His words reached me like no other priest’s did. That is why his failure, arrogance and denial hit me so hard. I had to do something with my suffering. So I got creative.

My intention is to build a new and better Corapi. Because I cannot use his name lest he sue my pants off and take my house and cars and maybe even my five children, I must perform as “John Jalopy.” It is my vow to bring silliness to the hearts of Christianity, and to make sure we all slip on banana peels, and jump around hitting ourselves on our heads with wiffle ball bats and carry rubber chickens to board meetings—all because none of us should take ourselves too seriously, because there is a lot of humor in dying to the self.

Thank you for liking my impression. Believe it or not, the first comments I ever got on these videos happened during the last 24 hours. I actually posted all of these in August! My wife Lisa (who wrote a lot of these) and I needed the praise! God bless you. And may the Lord make every mistake we make in life a glaring, glorious broken-down jalopy so that we can never our pride cause us a great big Cadillac of denial! :-)

Amen, Brother Mike, Amen. How about an encore video? How about “Cooking with the Big Bad Wolf?”

Emm, emm, good! I can’t wait for the recipe book to follow.

OK, the spoof of the Schwarz-Schäferhund is over. You may now return to whatever it is you were doing this evening.

UPDATE: Thoughts on Religious Vocations: Love God and Do What You Will: Avoiding Over-Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Discernment

  • Marcy

    I am sure our Lord is not laughing! Neither is His Mother who wears the combat boots!

  • Loves humor…just not this.

    Humor is great . Wonderful. And I bet MD is a great guy with a love of Humor and a quick wit. And a good Catholic too. And I see this man was hurt , he needed to do something…..in the form of…..Humor? Well I know another dear man, my husband, who was very hurt and sad when he saw these videos last night. The look on his face said it all. He had no words, just walked away from the computer screen. I was sad and I must admit, my Irish Catholic temper flared. Yes, laughter is healing…there are 2 health professionals in this household. We understand this. I have a wicked sense of humor. My husband is hysterical.

    So, I am glad MD is trying to make things better using humor. Wrong time, wrong place. I don’t think Priests would like this stuff. SOLT wouldn’t. If you can tell me you would invite your parish Priests and Bishop over to view these without pause…..

    It is hard to pray for someone you are making fun of. Someone today thought Father Corapi would laugh at it too. (?) In this time and place, no, I doubt that. Don’t think you can respect the position of the Priesthood and enjoy this. Really enjoy this . It is adding insult to injury for some. If MD needs to joke about Father Corapi to heal, ok, whatever works for him and doesn’t harm, ok. Laugh privately…or …better yet, make the video…and share it with your friends . Or , if you are not hurting about this situation anymore, please consider that some are still…or are just hearing about whats been happening…or just seeing this video for the first time, and our hurts are opened anew… and consider taking the videos off you tube if you are feeling better. I understand all human reactions are possible. But to promote this on you tube for all the world to see? Does this help the accuser, Father Corapi or the Church ? Try to imagine how those that feel this type of video is disrespectful…again, it adds further hurt to some of us, who too were crushed and saddened by the terrible situation re Father Corapi.

    Would I teach my children to mock others in this fashion. No. When they giggle over someone being hurt, we teach them…no. And the best thing is do no harm. Everyone is human, and we try to do the right thing..sometimes failing miserably, myself included.

    There is a survey that posted on the FB site Crying for Corapi today…asking how people felt about the video…well, the results are not good.( That site is where found the link to this blog)

    Well, thanks for your Blog and sharing what you did, I hope my comments were respectful and you are willing to post this response.

    • Frank Weathers

      Thanks for your comment, and certainly I realize that folks mileage will vary regarding how they take Michael’s videos. I too pray for all involved, for as St. John teaches,

      If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.

      All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly. We know that no one begotten by God sins; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the evil one cannot touch him.

      We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one. We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

      Children, be on your guard against idols.

      Amen. Thanks again for your comment, and may the peace of Christ be with us all.

      • Loves humor…just not this.

        Dear Frank,

        The prayer you posted is beautiful. But it is good to be open, honest and direct.

        We are faithful Catholics in this household. Our faith is rooted in the Holy Mystery of the Trinity, and we are saved by the Son of God, Our Lord Jesus.

        We do not worship or idolize any “idols”. I hope that is not what you were implying….I don’t think my post suggested that at all…

        Again, appreciate the chance to post a comment….

  • Daniel T

    No bishop, priest or member of SOLT may want to admit to having a good laugh over this. That likely would have been the case even if these had been done before last year. Mixed in with his teaching has always been stories about himself that deserved being parodied. At times his stories the way he told them made him sound as if he were a comic book superhero. Who hasn’t laughed at times at things that caused them to say to themselves “I shouldn’t be laughing at this.” Late night television is full of parodies that mock public figures of greater significance that John Corapi, often times when some scandal has been revealed. I only wish these had begun prior to last year, but is John Corapi off-limits now? I expect he may be able to have a good laugh at himself.

  • Mike DellaVecchia

    It’s not my want to hurt people. But how could we be a church if we used the Bible to explain everything? Where would our Apostolic Tradition be? Is it the Tradition in your church not to laugh?
    .
    I grew up in a comedic Irish Catholic household (I am mostly Irish). My comedy is stemmed in the love I have for others. I happen to love Father Corapi.
    .
    I was trained as an actor and had plays done in theatre. I left theatre because I considered it to be an immoral world. But comedy never left me. When I imitate somebody it comes from love. I cannot—CANNOT—imitate anybody out of hate or anger for them. Corapi has made grave mistakes. Worst, he has broken his vow of priesthood and attacked the church. But is my opinion that jokes and silliness are a better response to sin than shunning, vehemence, and internal discord between members of the church about Corapi and others, which is what we have been seeing. My uncle was a Vincenzian priest and I was named after him.
    .My aunt was a Little Sister of the Poor. My other uncle was in training to be a brother before he decided to become a dad. All of these Irish people had merciless senses of humor. If Fr. Corapi were my own brother, I would have sent himthese videos. I do not shame him in them or judge him or do anything else but rib him.
    .
    I myself was the victim of intense, cruel, undue humiliation most of my life because I used to be morbidly obese and have always been awkward, ethnic, never made a lot of money, and unhip. Some of the hardest jibes were about my Catholicism and ethnicity (especially my Italian last name and my choice of art as a vocation).
    .
    Like many of my uncles and aunts, I chose to raise a very large family (5 children). I used to hate the jokes that were made on me—even for having a lot of kids, especially my two children with autism: Why would people, even worshippers in church, try to ostracize us? Soon enough, the high road became CLEAR: It is not what you get in life, but how you handle it.
    .
    If you choose anger, bitterness, and resentment as your response to adversity, you are going to find darkness. Most of the fallout against Corapi has been sinful, violating Christ’s messsage: Ephesians 4:26,31, to be be angry but sin not; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Most of the bitterness has been in the form of idle words.
    .
    In 2 Timothy 2:16, we are warned against profane and idle talk, however, there has been much of this kind of talk against Corapi. My wife and I refused to choose anger and accusations to hurt Corapi, but we also knew that this man would not humble himself and was verbally attacking our Roman Catholic Church. He was evading open discourse in any public forum (except for his own Web site where he removed opposing posts disagreeing with him). In his writin and appearances, he could have healed others whom his arrogance and denials were hurting, and was profiteering throughout all of this! Instead, he railed against everybody. And the worst offenders were those arguing for and against him.
    .
    All of us were flabbergasted. How can you love persons who will not listen? Must we wipe the dust off our feet? Are our outreaches to be thought of as pearls to be thrown by swine? … No, my wife and I could not leave this poor man and his followerslike the filthy being left to be filthy still (Revelations 22), or let him become a dog returning to his own vomit (Proverbs 26; Peter 2:22). He had suffered adversity in the past. He had known homelessness. Shall we cast him down, he who has been in the gutter already, returning to his pride, and loving the sin of pride alone? Or, shall we continue to be left with our sorrow and see ourselves humiliated in our love for him while he continues to condemn our Church? For Lisa and I, there was only the in-between of humor, silliness, and jape. “A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
    .
    John Corapi said that after we die, we no longer have a need for hope and faith, but that only love rules in Heaven. Lisa and I happen to believe this, which is said in 1 Corinthians 13 with all our hearts. This comedy comes from our love for John Corapi and our love for Christ. You will not find our example in the Bible, although the Bible is full of humor (eg, camel going through the eye of a needle; the blind man given sight ribbing the Pharisees that they are only asking about Christ because they want to follow Him).
    .
    It is in our Apostolic Tradition to interpret the Bible by example. Our example is through humor and it is our Pauline privilege to consult what is in our hearts and to show it with the best passion. Comedy is my gift to bring. I gave after-dinner comedy routines for my family during early childhood. Comedy is how I talk and how I live. I would never hurt anybody, but I am also passionate in my love for Christ and this fire leaves you with a choice: to be angry or to choose love as your reaction. As Paul exhorts us to be all things to all men, it is my choice of comedy to heal others—including John and others who use humor to communicate (1 Corinthians 9:22).
    .
    I am not alone. Many, many others, such as those who laugh along online and in our Catholic homes, rely on humor to speak their heart. Humor and jest is a way to lead by example. To laugh at sin. Sin must hold no place over our smiles and our joy. If you feel angry, then you may as well be angry at my sons’ autism, because they cannot resist their personalities, either. Or you you may choose to be angry about some people’s red hair, or my mother’s haughty Irish no-nonsense pride, or how you yourself behave when there is nothing but love in your heart. Yes, the Apostolic Tradition is how we are not to be imprisoned by the limitations of our earthly, human language in interpreting the Word of God in the Bible.
    .
    “Say these things. Exhort and correct with all authority. Let no one look down on you.” (Titus 2:15) Our videos exhort and correct and we will not let others look down on us.
    .
    “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. “(1 Thessalonians 5)
    .
    So please respect us in our love as John Corapi surely would. Nobody, my friends, could rightfully hurl accusations on John Corapi for what he has done, as Sirach explains.
    .
    “Admonish your friend—often it may be slander; do not believe every story. Then, too, a person can slip and not mean it; who has not sinned with his tongue? Admonish your neighbor before you break with him; and give due place to the Law of the Most High.” (Sirach 19:15-19)
    .
    I will not stop. I am a funny, funny guy. My mom told me so. My wife is the greatest writer and I am blessed by her gifts. I appreciate your comments telling me how you were hurt by what I did, more than you will ever know. Even though I will continue to be comedic, I will not stop loving God in my own way.
    .
    God bless you.

    • Mike DellaVecchia

      P.S. First let me say thank you to the moderator of this site. I admit that I subscribe to the Psalm 118:8-9 mentality when it comes to somebody posting my stuff online and speaking for me. But my hypervigilance is only my own proud intellect speaking. Frank is a fair and excellent moderator. Of course I like the beauty of these words: “Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in mortals [or in] princes.” (Psalms 118:8-9) However, my brain is that of an ass, I have found, and so the following scripture serves me better: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) What I am saying is that Frank and everybody can say whatever they like about me here because you are all decent people and I have faith that you are speaking sincerely. Next, let me tell you about something from my childhood when I forced my younger brother to become an altar boy… He was a popular kid and I could tell he winced when I pushily signed him up for this service at the rectory without even asking him. While serving, I thought he didn’t like the “job.” He would even pull antics on the altar while I would squirm in embarassment, watching him do stuff to make my cousin and all his friends laugh in the pews. HOwever, what I realize now is that he was actually serving God. You see, he felt at home up there on that altar. He was a child in the presence of God. Being funny is how he loved our Lord. He wanted people to be happy. I was really angry at him for making the self-standing pew and frontrest noisily rock back and forth to pretend he was going to fall over like Buster Keaton; and making clownlike waves at our family with silly faces on, etc. But he was only full of love for God and we were both at home in God’s light. Now if our mother had seen all this she would be mortified. Alas it was my bad choice later as a teenager to resent his doing these wacky things back when we were so young. But as I have stated before, it is for us to choose a reaction to the jocularity we see and hear. Not anger. Bitterness. Resentment. What I believe about humor is that there is always great good to be found in it. It is extremely intellectual even at its lowest levels, and we are given intelligence and the material world, as Thomas Aquinas explained (and he was the patron saint of our church) to serve God, not to punish and judge others. There is humor in the Bible. We all know the camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle line. God gave the Philistines hemorrhoids when they stole the Ark of the Covenant, which prompted the offenders to present guilt offerings of golden mice to the Hebrews to appease God’s wrath. (1 Samuel 5) Anyway… I have to get off line now… I have to go pour a picture of orange juice over my head. Somebody in Philadelphia needs a good chortle. Seriously, thank you for talking about Lisa’s and my videos. I am sorry to anybody whose feelings were hurt. Many thanks again to Frank for posting my long, long, long posts and being so kind , level-headed, and generous to all posters. This was my last prolix post.

      • Frank Weathers

        Like Michael Hannon writes in the article linked to in the “Update” to the post,

        So God does not tell each of us exactly what to do all the time. In fact, he does not necessarily even tell us what to do with regards to major life choices, including choices between religious and secular life. He gifts us with any number of good and virtuous options, and then leaves the decision to us. As a mantra classically attributed to St. Augustine puts it, “Love God and do what you will.”

        • Mike DellaVecchia

          Yeah. What he said.

          • Frank Weathers

            Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

  • Rod Bennett

    What a hoot. The Gilderoy Lockhart of Catholic evangelization. Or, if you’d prefer, the Commander McBragg. You go, Mike & Lisa!

    • Frank Weathers

      Heh!

      From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

      Gilderoy Lockhart: Harry, Harry, Harry. Can you possibly imagine a better way to serve detention, than by helping me to answer my fan mail?

      Harry: Not really.

      Gilderoy Lockhart: Fame is a fickle friend Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that.

      As for Commander McBragg…quite!

      • Mike DellaVecchia

        This all reminds me of when I was in the wilderness of Madagascar. With no provisions left, I resorted to eating wild mung beans and beetles. Leopards and boar flanked each entrance to the shore while I was stuck in a clove, having swung down from a vine I wove from palm and black cohaw root. What was I to do but fight my way out. Armed with only my love for exiting this island country, I would make a go of it, to reach the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. I pile-drived the first leopard who clung my neck, but his family drove me back. I then full-body-slammed the king of boars who darted after me, but I tripped on stinging nettles and fell into a small chasm. Suddenly I whipped out my fake priest collar, shaved my beard into a goatee and began reading from an apocryphal Gospel, noting that these beasts were placated by the alleged words of Andrew while I sauntered past them to the shore where I constructed a makeshift raft out of the wooden debris from the ruined fortress of my disappeared countrymen whose unknown fate had cued me to visit this terrible paradise two weeks hitherto. Paddling furiously while the creatures’ remembrance of the rhapsodies of fake-Andrew dissipated, I reached my ship! I opened my laptop and read all of your replies. I now type the following reply: :-P

        • Frank Weathers

          LOL. Also, Michael, and others, I really was in Kuala Lumpur. Did I ever tell you about the time I…(don’t go there Frank!)

          • Mike DellaVecchia

            No, please go there!! I need some new material!!! Hee hee hee!!

  • Max Lindenman

    Mike: That was a howl. Please tell me that you’re a brilliant mimic, and that you’re not speaking in the voice God gave you.

  • http://www.fightingirishthomas.com Jeanette O’Toole

    Love the inclusion of your Mustang in your Holy header … RODFL …

    • Frank Weathers

      God uses everything to call His sheep…including the ‘Stang. :)

  • Lisa DellaVecchia

    Hello friends,

    Just skimming the posts here.

    1) Sorry if anyone was offended. We use satire as a means of sublimating our sadness, anger, and protest. Satire is healthy. Fighting and backbiting is not.
    2) We love(d) John Corapi. That is why we did this. I don’t think there is much else to be said besides that.
    3) My husband is a brilliant impressionist. This is not his real voice. He can also do a mean Bugs Bunny.

    Cheers and God bless,

    LD


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