Pope Francis Tells Comedians, ‘You Make God Smile’

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ROME — Pope Francis met with more than 100 comedians in the Vatican Friday, including Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock, and Whoopi Goldberg, praising their “ability to speak to all types of people.”

“In your own way, you unite people, because laughter is contagious,” the pontiff told them. “It is easier to laugh together than alone: joy opens us to sharing and is the best antidote to selfishness and individualism.”

The pope went on to praise the important role of comedians as the conscience of society.

“You denounce abuses of power; you give voice to forgotten situations; you highlight abuses; you point out inappropriate behavior,” he asserted, but you do this without spreading alarm or terror but by rousing people “to think critically by making them laugh and smile.”

“You do this by telling stories of real life, narrating reality from your unique viewpoint; and in this way, you speak to people about problems, large and small,” he contended.

While communication today often generates conflict, he suggested, “you know how to bring together diverse and sometimes contrary realities.”

“How much we need to learn from you! The laughter of humor is never ‘against’ anyone, but is always inclusive, purposeful, eliciting openness, sympathy, empathy,” he proposed.

“Remember this: when you manage to draw knowing smiles from the lips of even one spectator, you also make God smile,” he said.

Francis also said it is okay to “laugh at God” just as we joke around with the people we love, since it is possible to do this “without offending the religious sentiments of believers, especially the poor.”

Following the encounter, late-night host Conan O’Brien said he had enjoyed the meeting, despite its brevity.

“Well, it was brief, he spoke in Italian, so I’m not quite sure what was said,” O’Brien said.

“It was quick… I had a wonderful time,” he said.

“So, we’re on our way over to see the pope,” Whoopi Goldberg said in an Instagram post she shared as she walked toward the meeting in the Vatican.

“It is the butt crack of dawn, okay, but this is the time we’ve been told to come over. And I mean, who minds walking down these streets? Nobody. It’s beautiful,” she said.


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