Patron Saint of Comedy, Genesius

saint genesiusI think Catholicism may be the most OCD religion in the world. I know, with the rosaries and Hail Mary’s and huddled masses it isn’t shocking, but that they have so many, very specific saints is pathological.

For example, Saint Genesius of Rome, the Patron Saint of Comedians.[1] He must have killed before he was killed.

It seems he was in a play that mocked Christianity for Emperor Chuckles McDiocletian’s amusement, when things suddenly got real. Genesius started seeing angels, made the mistake of telling everyone within earshot, and then asked to be baptized for real, on stage. What a drama queen! For coming out of the dressing room closet as a Christian, Diocletian had Genesius’ head removed, c. 286 or c. 303, doesn’t matter. What matters is what made Genesius a saint; not being a funny guy, for being a dead funny guy.

Of course it all started with a legend, as most religious stories do. Genesius of Arles (only one to a town please) worked as a legal clerk, heard about Christ and wanted to get baptized. At this point in the story he got some really terrible advice:

He…was not trusted by the bishop he found, who instead advised him that martyrdom was at least as good in the eyes of God. Genesius was eventually beheaded.

Martyrdom is at least as good?! That’s quite a span: dipped in water or decapitated. Meh, same difference. Genesius didn’t even bother to get a second opinion, he headed (headed…get it?) straight toward the sword. I guess that’s why he wasn’t named Geniusius!


[1] Also the patron saint of actors, clowns, comics converts (what are they?!), dancers, musicians, stenographers, printers, lawyers, epileptics, thieves, torture victims, and apparently, even magicians.

2 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Humor & Comics, Saint Bashing

2 Responses to Patron Saint of Comedy, Genesius

  1. JMF

    The whole crazy quilt of patron saints is actually my favorite thing about Catholicism. It hearkens back to the days when it was essentially polytheistic. You prayed to the god/saint of bread making, or beer brewing. You didn’t care in the slightest if your neighbor prayed to the god/saint of cobblery. Which is the way religion should be.

    Unfortunately it’s in the nature of hierarchies to increase and consolidate their power, and now we have Pope worship, proxied through priest worship. Which is the reason for so much abuse (“Oh, no, Father Mulcahy couldn’t have done such a thing!”) At least most American Catholics sensibly ignore everything the Church teaches about birth control — many are even pro-choice.

    It’s too bad Americans couldn’t start their own splinter church, which would have all the soothing rituals and iconography without the dogma (much like Episcopalianism is.) But, then, they’d be denounced by the Pope, and most Catholics do revere the Pope. It was easier for Americans in the CofE tradition to go Episcopalian, because that just meant rejecting the King.

  2. Frankly Curious

    How dare you cast aspersions on Father Mulcahy!

    As I think I’ve discussed elsewhere, all the saints allowed the Catholic Church to expand by incorporating local gods. Yeah saints!

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