Stephen and me

I’ve always thought that Stephen Colbert was a bit of a god, and it’s lovely that the feeling’s mutual. A couple of nights ago, I got to have a conversation with him about being mistaken for divinity.

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I suspect the reason I stutter quite so much is because I’m talking to Stephen Colbert. I knew I’d be nervous, and the people at the Report were kind enough to give me a heads up as to the kind of questions that he’d be asking. I thought it’d be good to be prepared, and have a few off-the-cuff remarks carefully written on my cuff. But I had no idea what to say. Luckily, I’ve got backup. The ace folks at the Sanchez Writers’ Grotto, as well as friends from further afield, came in with terrific responses to Stephen’s script. In the end, he said pretty much none of the things I was told he might, but the responses were so good it’d be criminal not to share them. By general acclamation, those of Sean Beaudoin — whose latest book Fade To Blue is terrific — were the funniest, but Shana Mahaffey, Diane Weipert, Kemble Scott, Ammi Keller, Paul Linde, Doug Wilkins, Joe Quirk, Ryan Ismert and Moises Velasquez rocked the house too.

So, here’s a compendium of the Q&A responses I would have liked to have used:

Is it true that you’re the Messiah?
— That’s ridiculous Steven. If I was God, I’d be more effective than I am as a writer. That’s like suggesting that Jesus would just leave a book or two of poorly written, ambiguous, and easily misrepresented guidance behind to serve as a guide to… oh. Nevermind.
–Did you just ask if I’m Eric Massa?

Ah, but it was foretold that the Messiah would deny he’s the Messiah – well done Messiah.
–Who’s denying? By the way, I notice you haven’t tithed me anything lately.

If you’re the messiah, don’t I get three wishes? I’ve got some parking tickets – can you help with that?
–Only one solution — a show of Benjamins at the courthouse. Bribery’s been around almost as long as prostitution. Old Testament stuff.
–Parking tickets in New York? You’d have better luck walking on water.
–I can get you 72 virgin meter maids.

So you’re the messiah – prophesy something.
–Health care reform will pass and be an unqualified success. Mitch Mcconnell will turn into even more of a pillar of salt.
–Obama’s health care reform will get shot down by the insurance industry.

Isn’t it lame that the messiah is using a land line?
–Liz Cheney used up all my anytime minutes.
–We’re all at the mercy of the gods at AT&T

So, you’re the World Teacher – doesn’t that mean it’s impossible to fire you?
–The Messiah Union has steep dues, but they’re worth it.
–When you’re in God’s doghouse, you’d rather negotiate a medical leave — full pension and health insurance.
–That was true before the Messiah outsourcing began, and before the union dissolved. Now there’s really no job security. I’m basically just a temp.

What sort of god are you going to be? Wrathful, vengeful, spiteful? I’ve got some people I need sorted out…
–I’m going with Funky. The world has been waiting a long time for a Funky God.
–I plan on being much more hands-on than my predecessor. Lassez faire God-ism just doesn’t work well. So plan on an end to famine and genocide and poverty once I’m in office. As well as Fox News.

Couldn’t you come up with a better name than Share International? Like ‘Patelism’?
–I’ve got my branding consultants working on that one. You know, the guys who wrote the Bible.
–We considered Hoard International but it didn’t test well in the focus groups.

Now that you’re the Messiah, do you have a lot of long-lost friends calling you up begging for miracles?
–They mostly ask for rides to the airport. And leprosy cream.
–Of course, once I get the chartreuse Beemer delivered.

After The Value of Nothing, is your next book going to be “Just kidding – it’s awesome to be a god?”
–Well, it was going to be The Value of Nothing II-Return to Witch Mountain, but I like your title better.
–It’s already been done, and it’s called I am America (And So Can You)

Are you going to get a Maitreya vanity plate?
–There’s nowhere to put one on my chariot.
–My Hummer practically already is a Maitreya vanity plate.
–Of course, once I get the chartreuse Beemer delivered.

It’s raining in New York – can you do something about that please?
–Click your heels together three times. You are now on the set of Colbert Report-Negev Desert Edition. By the way, you pronounce “Desert” “Day-zair”
–Sure. In 40 days.