Sunday, June 09, 2024

Pope to jam with Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon on June 14

Whoopi Goldberg delivers 'Sister Act ...

Pope Francis will welcome comedians from all over the world next week, including top American names such as Whoopi Goldberg and Jimmy Fallon, for a cultural event at the Vatican aimed at forging stronger ties between the Catholic Church and the world of comedy.

Announced Saturday, the audience between pope and comedians will take place Friday, June 14, at the Vatican and is being jointly organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Dicastery for Communication “to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists.”

A June 8 Vatican press release announcing the event said Pope Francis “recognizes the significant impact that the art of comedy has on the world of contemporary culture.”

“Through the humorous talent and the unifying value of laughter, unique reflections on the human condition and the historical situation are offered today,” it said, saying comedy can also “contribute to a more empathetic and supportive world.”

Pope Francis in the past has said he prays daily that God would give him “a sense of humor,” and expressed his belief that comedians – actors, artists, cartoonists, writers, and more, “have ‘the ability to dream new versions of the world…with irony, which is a wonderful virtue.’”

According to the Vatican, the meeting aims “to celebrate the beauty of human diversity and to promote a message of peace, love, and solidarity, and it promises to be a significant moment of intercultural dialogue and of sharing hope and joy.”

Currently a total of 105 comedians from 15 countries and 68 people accompanying them, for a total of 173, have confirmed their presence in the June 14 audience.

American comedians who have confirmed their attendance include Catholics Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan, as well as Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, who grew up Catholic, and Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, and Tig Notaro.

Just two weeks ago, Pope Francis was joined by famed Italian actor and comedian Roberto Benigni to celebrate the first-ever World Day of Children, which wrapped up with a May 26 Mass in St. Peter’s Square during which Benigni delivered an impromptu 20-minute routine.

Goldberg met Pope Francis in 2023 during a Vatican audience. Afterwards she shared details of the meeting on her program “The View,” saying, “He was quite amazing. He is exactly what I hoped he would be, which is a pope for all people regardless of religion, which I really appreciated.”