Van Gogh-Goghs Deny Satanic Influences
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27, 1998 (Associated Van Gogh-Gogh Press) -- Local
sketch comedy group the Van Gogh-Goghs today blasted allegations that their
comedy is rife with satanic influences. According to the leader of a
popular Christian sect known as "Roman Catholicism," the six-man group has written skits promoting the pagan gods of ancient Greece and the Roman empire, and regularly included backwards-masked, anti-Christian propaganda inside their sketches.
The leader of Catholicism, commonly known as "the Pope," claimed recently
that when certain Van Gogh-Gogh skits are performed backwards, a hidden,
satanic message is revealed.
As proof, the "Pope," or "pontiff" and five cardinals performed the Van Gogh-Goghs' classic "Whittle Teleschool of Tomorrow" sketch backwards. At one point, the phrase "bingo bottom foodlike (garbled) harpy Satan nose physiology is good" becomes very apparent.
Group member T. Mike Childs scoffed at such claims. "I can barely remember
my lines forward," he said. "How am I supposed to remember to slip in a carefully worded reverse phonetic message that tells children to worship
Satan, the mighty dark lord, the ruler of all that is evil, and to give him
your eternal souls now, you foolish mortals mwahahahahaha?"
The group also denied that their sketches unfairly single out Christianity
for attack. Jason Torchinsky, the group's Jew and token minority, protested
that their "Shlomo, the Drunken Rabbi" sketch presented an amusing portrait of an alcoholic, incompetent, deeply troubled Jewish leader.
"We've been meaning to write some skits demeaning other major world
religions like Islam and the Hare Krishnas, but we just never got around to
it," he said. "Besides, the Hare Krishnas have been played out comedically since the early '80s."
"We're laughing with Christ, not at him," said Van Gogh-Gogh Rob Terrell, who plays Jesus Christ in a skit ridiculing Jesus Christ. When asked to point out an instance of Christ laughing in the Bible, Terrell gestured
somewhere around Acts 9:17 and said "I'm sure it's in there somewhere."
Group members also denied they actively promoted ancient pagan
religions. "Just because we said Zeus had a good haircut does not mean we
want people to worship him," group member Alan Benson, until recently a
close poker buddy of the Pope, said. "I mean sure he's wise and munificent
and ever so handsome and lordly...." Benson then excused himself to swoon.
This is not the first time the group has crossed swords with the Pope.
"We've heard all this before," Childs said. "The man has a grudge against us. Sin this, blasphemy that. I mean, we can't be slothful, greedy, or murderous without getting into trouble with him."
But this time, one of the Pope's charges caught the sketch comedy group by
surprise. According to the Rome-based pontiff, the Van Gogh-Goghs' name is,
in reality, an acronym for "The Horribly Evil Vile Advocates (of)
Naughtiness, Greed, Ogling Girls, Hatred Golly Oh Gosh Hail Satan."
"Is 'gosh' satanic? I had no idea," asked a visibly shaken Galen Black, the
group's nominally practicing Christian. "I'll certainly never use that term
in a skit again. I'll replace it with 'shit' or 'fuck.'"
Charles Rempel, the group's stickler for details, questioned the Pope's
spelling. "Wouldn't that acronym actually spell 'T.H.E. V.A.O.N.
G.O.G.H.-G.O.G.H.S.'?" he said. "The Vaon Gogh-Goghs would be some other sketch comedy group entirely."
A quick poll of the reporters assembled for the group's press conference
revealed that, as far as they were concerned, omitting minor words like
articles and prepositions was permissible in acronyms.
"Well, I guess you've got us there," Rempel said. "I guess the devil is in the details. I mean...uh...not the devil, you know, uh, I mean, hey look over there!"
The Van Gogh-Goghs were also stunned into near-incoherence by the Pope's
charge that their "Satan Sketch" mocked the ruler of the underworld.
"Hunh?" Terrell said.
"Uhr?" Rempel added.
"Wha?" Childs explained.
"What did I miss?" Black asked. "I was in the little boy's room. Why are
all your mouths open like that?"
Benson declined to comment, remaining in his swoon over the mythical figure
According to biblical scholar Dr. Arthur J. Corrino, the Pope's anger was
sparked not by a love of Old Scratch, but by a desire to maintain the
current theological balance of power.
"Satan is a vital part of the Judeo-Christian theology," Corrino said.
"Okay, maybe not the 'Judeo' part so much. But he is indispensable to
"By mocking him, the Van Gogh-Goghs are effectively mocking the entire
belief system of Christians. I must say, I agree with the Pope. This so-called sketch comedy group should be ashamed of themselves."
Corrino then expressed his displeasure by rubbing his two index fingers
together in the universal "naughty, naughty" sign.
So what does all this mean for the Van Gogh-Goghs' shows? The group
steadfastly maintains that they do not plan to change their playlists, but
late in the day Torchinsky announced that several members were working on a
sketch tentatively titled "My Pal God."