Catherine Deveny’s show gives atheism a bad name. Atheists aren’t arrogant – they’re just smug, she claims. None more smug than her.

Comedy has the power to unite people, to make them laugh at their commonalities and differences. That’s why I can’t even humour Deveny and say this was a ‘comedy festival’ show. It was an hour of angry, mocking lecturing to an audience that, for the most part, probably already believe everything she said (or in the case of the guy two seats down, had given up trying to find something to laugh at and had fallen asleep instead).

Scattered through the clam fest of an audience were the odd Devenist who laughed frequently and loudly, and I made note of them so I knew who I might have to later pick out in a police line-up. Deveny failed to even remotely reach the heights that Richard Dawkins mounted on the Q and A clip she played, providing a stark contrast between herself and an atheist who can talk about religion intelligently and humourously. The non-religious jokes didn’t work well either, though they are few and far between – the vast majority of the material consisted of “Christians are stupid because they think like <insert (un)funny observation here>.

Deveny promotes her show as ‘back by popular demand’, which means she just couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything new. She claims the show is “moving”, but I couldn’t quite work out how. The closest I can come is agreeing that I wanted to “move” well away from her and her crude attempt at humour.

If you are an atheist and have a serious chip on your shoulder for organised religion, than save yourself the trouble of seeing this show, and channel your energy into something useful. Go to the dentist maybe, it’s less painful.

At the end of God is Bullshit, after leading her herd through a bleating chant that renounced their Christian origins, Deveny pushed a sticker onto departing punters to stick in Bibles in bookshops. I think this review is best ended by paraphrasing that sticker.

Why is this show, full of violence, sexual abuse, hate and intolerance in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival? Happy is he who buys a ticket to anything else instead.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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