Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Dave Allen on Religion

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Irish Comedian Dave Allen (1936-2005) remembers his introduction to religion — his first day of school.


David Tynan O’Mahoney (Dave Allen) was popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada in the 1960s, 1970s and also in the 1990s; he became known in America through reruns of his shows on public television.

Allen’s act was typified by a very relaxed, intimate style — he would sit on a chair, smoking and holding a glass of whiskey. An atheist[1] (according to Allen himself, “what you might call a practising atheist”), he would often make jokes about religion, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. Along with his seated stand-up routines, his television shows were interspersed with sketch comedy. He had a lasting influence on British comedy, and influenced many 21st-century British comedians.

Comments

  1. #1 Frank Cornish
    January 17, 2010

    I remember him from CTV specials in the 1970′s. He told one joke that I particularly like:

    “An Irishman was walking along the beach and spotted a strange lamp. He picked it up and saw that it needed polishing, so he rubbed on it to clean it up.

    “A genie popped out and said ‘Thank you for freeing me. I have been bottled up for hundreds of years. I will grant you three wishes for anything you desire.’

    “‘Three wishes? Anything? For my first wish, I want a bottle of stout that fills up as soon as it is empty!

    “‘Granted,’ said the genie. And a bottle appeared in the Irishman’s hand. He turned it up and drank it dry, and sure enough as soon as he had emptied it, the bottle magically refilled. He turned it up and drained it again, and it refilled. He did this three more times, before the genie grew impatient. ‘What are your final two wishes?’

    “The Irishman considered for a moment as he drunkenly swayed.

    “‘I’ll have two more like that!’”

    I didn’t see him often on TV, but moments like that make me laugh so hard I cried.

  2. #2 don
    January 17, 2010

    Yes, Jesus loves you with unconditional love. But if you don’t meet his conditions, he will torture you for ever. Yep, makes sense to me. And we think we are so much more advanced then those people who used to worship the sun, lol.

    don
    http://spiritnewsdaily.com

  3. #3 Rob Jase
    January 17, 2010

    paraphrasing, “God is everwhere, he’s here, he’s downstairs, he’s upstairs, he’s outside”

    Boy is God fat, when God sits around the house he sits AROUND the house.

  4. #4 Bob
    January 17, 2010

    I loved Dave Allen, his chair, his omnipresent whiskey, and his stories. His sketches involving the Pope & his sedan chair were classic.

  5. #5 Badger3k
    January 17, 2010

    I watched his show every week on public TV, along with The Two Ronnies, Frankie Howard, Monty Python, and Dr Who. Damn, I’m sorry to see that he’s dead.

  6. #6 Richard
    January 17, 2010

    @Frank: tears in my eyes, hadn’t heard that one.

    Thanks for posting this: I enjoyed him on public TV here in the States. It’s funny how the absurdity and hypocrisy of religion is apparent even to children.

    I imagine Germany (and indeed, most of Europe) is very secular compared to America. I’d be interested in seeing your comments on that sometime.

  7. #7 csrster
    January 18, 2010

    I saw his live one-man show once. Brilliant stuff.

  8. #8 SimonG
    January 18, 2010

    I remember watching him on TV back in the ’70s. His shows still seem fresh over 30 years later.

  9. #9 Gav
    January 20, 2010

    Recall one sketch where he insisted there was nothing but water in his glass. He tasted it “… a miracle!”

    Uncle of mine had a similar sense of humour. His son married into a rather strict religious family who disapproved of alcohol. The wedding was dry, so to speak. In his speech my uncle referred in passing to the wedding at Cana, sipped his glass, and commented “… but there’s been no miracle today.”