Pope Francis Tells Comedians "Your talent is a precious gift. Together with a smile, it spreads peace in our hearts and among others..." VIDEO

Pope Francis met with over 100 comedians from around the world, encouraging them to cheer people up and help people see reality with all its contradictions. (SEE Full List of Comedians at bottom)
Clementine Hall - Friday, 14 June 2024
Dear friends,
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you, and to express my gratitude to those in the Dicastery for Culture and Education who have organized this meeting.
I hold you in high esteem as artists who express yourselves through the language of comedy, humour, and irony. Among all the professionals working in television, cinema, theatre, print media, with songs, and on social media, you are among the most loved, sought after, and popular. Certainly, it is because you are very good at what you do, but there is also another motivation: you have and cultivate the gift of making people laugh.

In the midst of so much gloomy news, immersed as we are in many social and even personal emergencies, you have the power to spread peace and smiles. You are among the few who have the ability to speak to all types of people, from different generations and cultural backgrounds.

In your own way, you unite people, because laughter is contagious.

It is easier to laugh together than alone: joy opens us to sharing and is the best antidote to selfishness and individualism. Laughter also helps to break down social barriers, create connections among people, and allows us to express emotions and thoughts, contributing to building a shared culture and creating spaces of freedom. You remind us that homo sapiens is also homo ludens! For playful fun and laughter are central to human life, to express ourselves, to learn, and to give meaning to situations.

Your talent is a precious gift. Together with a smile, it spreads peace in our hearts and among others, helping us to overcome difficulties and cope with everyday stress. It helps us find relief in irony and go through life with humour. I like to pray daily with the words of Saint Thomas More: “Grant me, O Lord, a good sense of humour”. I ask for this grace for every day because it helps me approach things with the right spirit.

You also succeed in bringing about another miracle: you manage to make people smile even while dealing with problems and events, large and small. You denounce abuses of power; you give voice to forgotten situations; you highlight abuses; you point out inappropriate behaviour. You do this without spreading alarm or terror, anxiety or fear, as other types of communication tend to do; you rouse 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.

According to the Bible, at the beginning of the world, while everything was being created, divine wisdom practiced your form of art for the benefit of none other than God himself, the first spectator of history. It is described in this way: “I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight,rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited worldand delighting in the sons of men” (Prv 8:30-31). Remember this: when you manage to draw knowing smiles from the lips of even one spectator, you also make God smile.

You, dear artists, know how to think and speak humorously in different forms and styles; and in each case the language of humour is suitable for understanding and “feeling” human nature. Humour does not offend, humiliate, or put people down according to their flaws. While communication today often generates conflict, you know how to bring together diverse and sometimes contrary realities. How much we need to learn from you! The laughter of humour is never “against” anyone, but is always inclusive, purposeful, eliciting openness, sympathy, empathy.

I am reminded of the story in the book of Genesis when God promised Abraham that within a year he would have a son. He and his wife Sarah were old and childless. Sarah listened and laughed inwardly. Abraham must have done the same. However, Sarah conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had set. Then Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; every one who hears will laugh over me” (Gen 21:6). That is why they named their son Isaac, which means, “he laughs”.

Can we laugh at God? Of course, we can, just as we play and joke with the people we love. The Jewish wisdom and literary tradition is a master in this! It is possible to do this without offending the religious sentiments of believers, especially the poor.

Dear friends, may God bless you and your art. Continue to cheer people up, especially those who have the hardest time looking at life with hope. Help us, with a smile, to see reality with its contradictions, and to dream of a better world! With heartfelt sentiments, I bless you; and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
Source: Vatican.va - Bulletin
The FULL LIST provided by the Holy See Press Office can be consulted below.
ARGENTINA - 1. Malena Guinzburg
BRAZIL - 1. Fabio Porchat 2. Cristiane Werson
COLOMBIA - 1. Paula Arcila 2. Liss Pereira 3. Maribel Trujillo Botello
FRANCE - 1. Redouane Bougheraba 2. François Cluzet 3. Manu Payet
GERMANY - 1. Meltem Kaptan 2. Annette Frier 3. Michael Mittermeier
4. Till Reiners 5. Torsten Sträter
IRELAND - 1. Ardal O’Hanlon 2. Tommy Tiernan 3. Patrick Kielty
ITALY - 1. Max Angioni 2. Lino Banfi 3. Federico Basso 4. Stefano Belisari [Elio] 5. Alessandro Bergonzoni 6. Don Giovanni Berti [Gioba] 7. Enrico Bertolino 8. Enrico Beruschi 9. Alessandro Besentini 10. Alessandro Betti 11. Luca Bizzarri 12. Massimo Boldi 13. Luca Bonafé 14. Enrico Brignano 15. Jerry Calà 16. Roberta Calcagno Baldini 17. Gabriele Cirilli 18. Raul Cremona 19. Geppi Cucciari 20. Pio D’Antino 21. Gianluca De Angelis 22. Cristian De Sica 23. Maria Di Biase 24. Pierfrancesco Diliberto 25. Emanuela Fanelli 26. Alberto Ferrari 27. Maurizio Ferrini 28. Nino Frassica 29. Andrea Fratellini 30. Giuseppe Giacobazzi 31. Gene Gnocchi 32. Valeria Graci 33. Amedeo Grieco 34. Caterina Guzzanti 35. Paolo Kessisoglu 36. Paolo Labati 37. Maurizio Lastrico 38. Roberto Lipari 39. Luciana Littizzetto 40. Brenda Lodigiani 41. Valerio Lundini 42. Andy Luotto 43. Leonardo Manera 44. Marco Marzocca 45. Paolo Migone 46. Elia Morra [Elianto] 47. Corrado Nuzzo 48. Silvio Orlando 49. Antonio Ornano 50. Enzo Paci 51. Mauro Pallotta [Maupal] 52. Davide Paniate 53. Cochi Ponzoni 54. Giacomo Poretti 55. Saverio Raimondo 56. Luca Ravenna 57. Riccardo Rossi 58. Mary Sarnataro 59. Giovanni Scifoni 60. Mario Simonotti 61. Giovanni Storti 62. Carlo Verdone 63. Giovanni Vernia 64. Francesco Villa 65. Michele Foresta 66. Giorgio Panariello 67. Michele La Ginestra
MEXICO - 1. Florinda Meza García 2. Chumel Torres
POLAND - 1. Dorota Łoskot-Cichocka
PORTUGAL - 1. Ricardo de Araujo Pereira 2. Joana Marques 3. Maria Rueff
UNITED KINGDOM - 1. Ian Hislop 2. Stephen Merchant
SPAIN - 1. Cristina Castaño 2. Belen Cuesta Llamas 3. Sara Escudero Rodriguez
4. Victoria Martin
UNITED STATES -1. Stephen Colbert 2. Jimmy Fallon 3. Jim Gaffigan 4. Whoopi Goldberg
5. James Martin 6. Tig Notaro 7. Chris Rock 8. Conan O’ Brien
SWITZERLAND- 1. Hazel Brugger
TIMOR LESTE - 1. Rivelino Barro Gonçalves