Almost two months ago, I had the opportunity to be part of the latest episode of the hit YouTube series, “Mr. Deity”. For those who have not seen this hilarious series of 3-minute episodes before, you can go to MrDeity.com, and most of the previous 5 seasons are freely available on line. The entire production is the brainchild of one man, Brian Keith Dalton. Brian writes the scripts, plays the main role as “Mr. Deity” (of which religion he does not specify), films all the episodes by himself with minimal help, then edits all the digital files to produce a tight, funny, fast-paced mockery of the sillier aspects of religion. As Brian has explained, the use of humor and gentle satire can be much more effective tool to get people to examine the absurdities of their religious dogmas than angry confrontational approaches. The “Mr. Deity” character is no awesome Jehovah, but instead a sloppy, feckless, distracted deity who doesn’t worry about details, and gets mad when humans misinterpret him. He constantly finds himself entangled in the complex web of confusion and contradiction that is the essence of religious dogma. After watching a few episodes, you will find that Brian’s scripts are uniformly laugh-out-loud funny as he and the other characters wrestle with this messed-up world of religion. The cast often includes Amy Rohren as “Lucy”, or Lucifer the Devil; Sean Douglas as “Jesse” or Jesus; several other minions of Heaven, such as filmmaker Jimbo Marshall as “Larry”, the manager, who do the dirty work that Mr. Deity has no time for; and noted skeptic Jarrett Lennon Kaufman as Timmy the Tech Advisor. There is often a guest skeptic who plays a straight man for Mr. Deity’s sendup of the inanity of each religious idea. Some of these past guests have included Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Society, P.Z. Myers of the Pharyngula blog, skeptic and magician Jamy Ian Swiss, Carrie Poppy of the “OhNo, It’s Ross and Carrie” podcast, and a number of other skeptics and non-believers.
I got to know Brian during a Skeptic Society field trip in January 2012, and he said that he wanted me to be part of a future episode. After some illnesses, and trying to get our busy schedules coordinated, we finally managed to film in May 2013. He sent me the script, and I tried memorizing the lines and learning how to act them. Though I’ve memorized scripts before, I haven’t performed in a play since I was 12 years old. I’ve always been a good memorizer, yet I found it surprisingly hard to master my lines, despite days of rehearsal. Most of my past appearances on camera were to give academic lectures or appear on prehistoric animal documentaries, where I ad lib the lines rather than memorize them. Continue reading…comments (2)