Pope Francis meets with 105 comedians, including Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg

Pope Francis meets with more than 100 comedians at the Vatican on Friday. Photo courtesy Vatican News
1 of 5 | Pope Francis meets with more than 100 comedians at the Vatican on Friday. Photo courtesy Vatican News

June 15 (UPI) -- Pope Francis met with 105 comedians, including Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg, at the Vatican on Friday to discuss how they may continue to comfort and unite people in troubled times.

In all, funny people from 15 countries attended the event, which was designed to promote a relationship between comedians and the Roman Catholic Church.


Humor, Francis said, "does not offend, does not humiliate, does not 'nail' people to their faults," but rather helps "break down social barriers and create connections."

Also among the attendees were Conan O'Brien, Jim Gaffigan, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Tig Notaro and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

"In the midst of so much gloomy news, you denounce abuses of power, you give voice to forgotten situations, you highlight abuses, you point out inappropriate behavior," the pontiff told the crowd, praising them for inspiring people to "think critically by making them laugh and smile."


O'Brien and Gaffigan are well-known Catholics and frequently discuss their upbringings in the church during their comedy acts.

"It's the first time, and I'm sure the last. I'm sure he walked out and said, 'We're never doing that again,'" O'Brien quipped.

Gaffigan jokingly described the meeting as "the ultimate Hail Mary."

"He's like: 'All right, what if we just call in all the clowns? What if we just got the court jesters?'" Gaffigan said. "It's a nice thing."

Colbert agreed.

"It was wonderful, something I'll never forget," he said.

Francis became the first pope to address the world's leading industrialized nations at the G7 Summit in Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy later Friday and held bilateral meetings with many of the attendees, including U.S. President Joe Biden.

He told G7 leaders that artificial intelligence brings great hope for society but can also exacerbate many ills.

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