An Act of God
James Gleason, Sean Hayes, David Josefsberg Selfie.
If you’ve been missing the irreverent humor of Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Good News! You can get a hefty dose right in San Francisco’s ever-exciting (not in a good way) Tenderloin, where An Act of God, written by David Javerbaum (former head writer and executive producer or the Daily Show) will be playing through April 17th.
Speaking of Good News! For those raised with the Supreme Being as a back drop to their lives, this witty comedic rewrite of the ten commandments will be as cathartic as weekly communion. Even those still deeply involved in the church, such as my very Catholic opening night play date agrees. As she said, “It was sort of like the respectful, witty quasi-blasphemy of the Book of Mormon, you have to truly know the material to be able to write this stuff.” I agree. I’m not sure if Javerbaum taught Sunday School like I did (gotta love those felt story boards), but I think he handled the fine line of humor and respect perfectly.
In this almost monologue, “God” temporarily takes over the body of “beloved star of stage and screen” Sean Hayes and as I mentioned, goes about rewriting the Ten Commandments to better reflect life on earth in 2016. And he does this in just 90 minutes with no intermission. God/Hayes is accompanied by two angels, one of which, Michael, asks some pretty big questions, ranging, from why is there childhood cancer to, how exactly did the animals get onto the ark. The answers are oddly satisfying.
I appreciated the few moments where God/Hayes vents about things that do bother him, "Stop fighting wars in my name. I don't need your help. If I wanted to – I could kill all of you. I'm God." Makes sense.
In a recent interview for The New York Times Arts Beat blog, Hayes sums up his enthusiasm for the role. “I’ve been in the fortunate position to have been offered several things, here and there, but I haven’t really connected with, or really fallen in love with, anything like I have with this,” he said. “To me, it’s poignant, it’s touching, it’s hilarious and it’s all in the writing.”
Hayes said he sees the play not as a critique of religion, but as an occasion for laughter. “The show is strictly a comedy, and nothing more,” he said. “But comedy can also be thought-provoking.”
A note on David Javerbaum, and why the ticket is worth the $150+ for admission. The play is based on the critically acclaimed book written by God and transcribed by Javerbaum. Javerbaum is a 13-time Emmy Award Winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and also curator of the Twitter account @TheTweetOfGod, which has over 2 million followers.