Funny In The News

Comedians at the Vatican

Liza Donnelly
4 min readJun 14, 2024

Whenever there is a national story about humor, I am on it. This one is really a doozy, in a good way. Yesterday, a group of comedians were invited to meet with the Pope.

Popes meet with groups of people regularly. I know this because my mother adored the Pope. My family and I lived in Rome in 1970/71 when my father took a sabbatical, and we went to the Vatican a few times for the Pope’s regular Sunday greeting from the window high above, along with a few thousand other people. I think it was Pope Paul IV back then. But my mother signed up for a smaller gathering, and was among members of an audience of about 40 people I think. She had to sign up way in advance, but she was thrilled. I never fully understood her fixation — she was a Quaker, a religion as far removed from Catholicism as one can get — but I didn’t ask.

For decades, popes have held gatherings for poets, artists, musicians. Yesterday, Pope Francis met with 105 entertainers from 15 countries to “establish a link” between the humorists and the Roman Catholic Church.

“In the midst of so much gloomy news,” Francis told them, “you denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you highlight abuses, you point out inappropriate behavior.” He also lauded them for getting people to “think critically by making them laugh