The over-the-top religious satire of the musically-inclined God’s Pottery is a new kind of funny.
Imagine the following: You’re famished after a long, tedious three-hour night class, so you head to the kitchen to grab a snack. You have a choice between a ripe, green apple and a bag of Doritos. Which should you go for?
Or what about the boy or girl in your history class who is the object of your latest crush? Do you ask him or her out on a date? And what should you do if everything goes well on the date? Should you “preserve your beautiful virginity” or “defile your body” and give in to your urges?
If you find yourself in either one of the situations above or another equally perplexing one, the last place you want to seek advice is Wilson Hall’s and Krister Johnson’s self-help parody, “What Would God’s Pottery Do?”
The book, written by the men who make up comedic duo God’s Pottery, is for comedic purposes only.
Hall and Johnson, known by their alter egos Jeremiah Smallchild and Gideon Lamb, respectively, are the stars of faux-Christian guitar-playing, parody-crafting team God’s Pottery.
According to the pair’s Web site, Smallchild and Lamb got the name of their routine from a more-than-likely fictional friend who said, “Why don’t you call yourselves God’s Pottery…I mean, aren’t we all just pieces of God’s Pottery?”
God’s Pottery first appeared to audiences during season six of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. The duo was one of 12 finalists but was eliminated in the eighth episode of the season.
Following their stint on NBC’s comedic reality show, God’s Pottery released “God’s Pottery: Live at Comix!” – an EP from Comedy Central Records.
Now, the duo’s making its debut in the print world with “What Would God’s Pottery Do?” Much like their comedy routine, the book parodies religious fanatics and mainstream cultural values.
Written as a self-help book, “What Would God’s Pottery Do?” is a guide for teenagers.
Readers get a taste of God’s Pottery’s spoof on self-help books as early as the prologue: The two remark that a vast number of individuals don’t have “the qualifications necessary to get through to the youth.” They claim that what separates God’s Pottery from all those authors is that none of those authors were presented with awards like “Neatest Ideas” or “Best Listener” by their pastors and youth pastors.
The pair’s humor – pointing at the absurdity of under-qualified self-help book authors and simultaneously poking fun of Christian fundamentalists – is laced throughout the book and its comedy.
Every issue the duo tackles, from substance abuse to family to dating and sex, is approached from fundamentalist Christian morals and views on such matters. At times, the approach is genuinely funny. Other times, though, it becomes cringingly corny and overdone.
When writing on abstinence and a teen’s decision to wait to have sex before marriage, God’s Pottery predictably writes that waiting to have sex is critical because “one moment of giving in could result in pregnancy or death, and hellfire.”
Though the team takes an often hilarious route with sex, it’s one that’s already so overdone by the real religious fundamentalists that, at times, its attempt at funny falls short.
And while certain aspects of God’s Pottery’s routine can dull themselves out, topics like health, nutrition and exercise serve as thoughtful satire for mainstream culture – setting themselves apart from typical jokes about conservative Christians.
While readers are laughing at the ideas of God’s Pottery, they will also appreciate the obvious commentary on society’s obsession with thinness.
In the diet and health chapter, Lamb and Smallchild write a thin body is a healthy body, applying especially to girls. In a Myth vs. Fact box, the two say the myth that “thin people are always the most popular” is a fact, mocking cultural standards that continue to impose their restrictions on the rest of American society.
Anyone who wants more from the half-trite, half-amusing duo should pick up a copy of the pair’s self-help book, currently in stores, or attend Friday’s performance.
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.