I’ll admit it; I’m part of the Muppet Generation–not quite old enough to remember when Jim Henson premiered his Muppet creations on Saturday Night Live (Scred, anyone?), but old enough to have learned to read, in part, from watching Sesame Street. I’ve watched as unblinking puppets taught lessons of friendship and cooperation. I’ve seen Statler and Waldorf argue in the balcony like two old men in the back of shul, and delighted in the unlikely love story between a frog and karate-chopping pig.
And then there was Avenue Q, which took the puppet cliches I loved and turned the educational model on its head, using puppet antics to explain what a one-night stand is, and what the internet is truly for. Somewhere around the same time, there was TeamAmerica: World Police, which gave those deliciously twisted gents at South Park a chance to rip the world a new one through the string-pulling of marionettes. And more obscurely, one of my favorite episodes of Angel also used puppets as a conduit for evil and humor at the same time.
But now, faith’s getting involved. Beliefnet has added “puppet comedy troupe” The Jovialites to the myriad site offerings. The multi-faith troupe, which includes a rabbi, a priest, an imam, a church lady, a pastor and [finish the joke yourself here, or click here to see a “cast of characters” page that shows you just how many religious representatives there are], provides a video joke of the day; some of the jokes are funny, others evoke a slight groan, but the carefully shot puppet reaction footage acknowledges that none of these jokes are winning any comedy competitions anytime soon. (Each joke is preceded by an advertisement for the Library of Congress; the two ads I saw were actually, themselves, fairly funny…)
I viewed four jokes, three of which were delivered by the rabbi. So I’m assuming that with puppets, as with people, Jews are the keepers of comedy. In this case, not such hilarious comedy, but still.
Think you can do it better? Provide better jokes and/or input as to what the Jovialites’ individual names should be on this page.