Father, son and holy jokes

Fest starts with Easter message

The Melbourne Comedy Festival has kicked off with a timely message from a wisecracking vicar.

Reverend Howard Langmead, an Anglican priest and part-time comic, performed his show Though Shalt Laugh at the international festival last night.

And he said that comedy was God's work.

"I think laughter is very holy," he told Melbourne's The Age newspaper. "Easter is funny because it's perfect timing - and timing is what comedy is all about."

"The death and resurrection was perfect timing. Someone bursting out of a tomb, you should laugh with joy."

"In the Middle Ages, on Easter Monday, people would tell jokes and funny stories to celebrate the joke that God had played on Satan in the resurrection."

Langmead, 48, started comedy five years ago and has played clubs across Melbourne ever since.

He said: "Some of the sayings and the parables of Jesus are very funny, like a camel going through the eye of a needle. There are a lot of stories in the Bible about the little person coming out on top, which is a comedic style."

The festival runs to April 21, and Brits taking part include Al Murray, Daniel Kitson, Richard Herring and Ross Noble.

Published: 10 Mar 2002

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