Rabbi Wins Pope Joke Contest With Quip About Marriage
A Vermont-based rabbi and stand-up comedian was named the winner of the “Joke with the Pope” contest on Monday.
The contest garnered 4,000 submissions from 47 countries. Rabbi Bob Alper shared his winning joke in a video he filmed on his phone.
The joke was about his marriage:
“My wife and I have been married for over 46 years and our lives are totally in sync. For example, the same time I got a hearing aid, she stopped mumbling.”
The rabbi won the title of “honorary comedic adviser to the pope.”
Rev. Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies — that organized the contest ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September — said the joke was the kind he could imagine the pontiff using, Religious News Service (RNS) reported.
The campaign encouraged a “joke donation” to help support one of three causes: helping children in need in Argentina, housing the homeless in Ethiopia or feeding the hungry in Kenya. Donations made through the society’s new Missio app resulted in each cause receiving $10,000, according to RNS.
Celebrities who submitted videos for the contest include actress Brooke Shields, weather forecaster Al Roker, and late-night TV hosts Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Comedian Bill Murray was the honorary adviser.
Alper served congregants for 14 years before he began his international career as a stand-up comic. He said he admires the way Pope Francis uses comedy to minister to people and help them hear his message, RNS reported. He said the method is something he also sees from teachers in the Talmud.
“It means a lot as a rabbi to have that out there,” said Alper, who is also an author. “He has a wonderful smile. I’d love to meet him. I’d love to tell him my joke in person.” He noted that he would also settle for The Tonight Show.