Sep 24, 2009

Religious jokes from Vicar Joe



G K Chesterton once wrote that the test of a good religion is how much it can laugh at itself. So after two successful plays and a one-man show, Vicar Joe returns with this hilarious compendium of religious jokes, including faux pas from the pulpit and notice boards; jokes about baptisms, marriages and funerals; epitaphs on grave stones; religious chat-up lines; children’s take on religion; Bible facts that may have escaped you and much much more…


Co-author Peter Read says, “For some people, religion and humour go together as easily as root canal work at the dentist’s and a plateful of chocolate éclairs. Too often the church is linked with boredom and seriousness. Compiling this book, we have come to realise that lots of funny things happen in places of worship. There are so many ceremonies where something can go wrong. Total immersion is asking for trouble and this book is also brimming with stories of mayhem in christenings, weddings, Sunday services and even funerals.”


Vicar Joe is the football-mad alter ego of Swansea’s all-round entertainer, Kevin Johns. The character was created in 2006 when Peter Read was asked to write a play about football for Swansea Grand Theatre. The comedy, which was called Toshack or Me! featured a vicar (Joe) who was so keen on watching Swansea City that he cancelled weddings if they clashed with matches. He also refused to marry one couple where the groom-to-be supported Swansea and she followed Cardiff City.


In 2008 Vicar Joe reappeared in the play To Hull and Back, whilst in February 2009 the one-man shoe Vicar Joe was premiered at Swansea Grand Theatre Arts Wing.


Vicar Joe’s Religious Joke Book will be launched by Kevin Johns and Peter Read at 7.30pm on Thursday 1 October at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea.



INTRODUCTION



For some people, religion and humour go together as easily as root canal work at the dentist’s and a plateful of chocolate éclairs. Too often the church is linked with boredom and seriousness. Compiling this book, we have come to realise that lots of funny things happen in places of worship. There are so many ceremonies where something can go wrong. Total immersion is asking for trouble and this book is also brimming with stories of mayhem in christenings, weddings, Sunday services and even funerals.

The role of a clergyman or clergywoman is one of the strangest jobs on earth. Having to be holy and a shining example to the rest of the community is quite a tall order. As many of the stories prove, there is a rich vein of humour in the fact that for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, there are thousands of professional church people trying to be near-perfect representations of God on earth. In fairness, many of the clergy with whom we’ve spoken and met have been the first to tell jokes against themselves.

GK Chesterton once wrote that the test of a good religion is how much it can laugh at itself. Despite its negative perception amongst many non-attendees, the church should be a happy and jolly place. After all, when Jesus explained the kingdom of God he often used the analogies of parties and wine. You can’t get much happier than a good bottle of red!

We’ve had fun compiling this book. All the religious books we found seemed fairly ancient and rarely modern, so we felt it was time for a new one. We tried to resist the temptation to cram it with ‘have you heard the one about…’ jokes. Whilst you will find some tales of that genre, we have tried to complement them with true stories, faux pas, epitaphs and general statements made by the famous and infamous about matters of life and death.

You may already be wondering who Vicar Joe is and why this book bears his name. He was created in 2006 when Peter Read was asked to write a play about football for Swansea Grand Theatre. The comedy, which was called Toshack or Me! featured a vicar (Joe) who was so keen on watching Swansea City that he cancelled weddings if they clashed with matches. He also refused to marry one couple where the groom-to-be supported Swansea and she followed Cardiff City. Vicar Joe’s sermons had more references to the Premiership and the League than to holy scripture and he also got into hot water for praying from the pulpit, asking the Lord to deliver his humble side against the pride of Premiership might. In 2008 Vicar Joe reappeared in the play To Hull and Back, whilst in February 2009 the one-man shoe Vicar Joe was premiered at Swansea Grand Theatre Arts Wing. Vicar Joe is played by Kevin Johns.

We hope the book will be used to lighten up and brighten up sermons here, there and everywhere. It might also be used by after-dinner speakers or just be the means of tickling you pink whenever you read Vicar Joe’s Religious Joke Book. It would be pleasing to think we created guffaws on British Rail, national and local bus services. Go on, give it a try. Happy reading and laughing.



Peter Read and Kevin Johns








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