Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, in northern Israel, in 0 B.C. He grew up in Nazareth and worked as a carpenter before, in his words, hearing the call to “clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the lame . . . et cetera.” The following excerpts comprise three interviews conducted in January from his winter home in Jupiter, Fla. We asked if he’d prefer to meet on a mountaintop or in a desert. He replied, “Here’s fine,” pointing an iced-tea to his sliding glass door. He insisted we wash each other’s feet before coming out to the white deck that faces the Atlantic Ocean. When the interviewer referred to him as the Son of God, he waved it off. “Call me Jesus,” he said.
The whole “Bless you” thing — that wasn’t my idea. Peter and I were walking in the desert on the way to Bethany, and it’s this really long walk, you know, and we start this game where you have to say “God bless you” after everything. It started as a joke.
So Peter burps, and I say, “God bless you.” And I break wind, and Peter says, “God bless you.” You know. [laughs] And then I push Peter into the reeds while he’s peeing, and he sneezes, and I’m, like, “Uh . . . bless you?” [pause] I think that’s the first time I actually shortened it to “Bless you.” I guess I figured, like, let’s leave God out of this. [laughs]
In retrospect I guess it was my idea.
Water into wine. That’s got to be the best party trick of all time. To me that goes down as the best wedding scene, too. Cana? The one in The Godfather’s pretty good.
People ask how I feel about the crucifix. Hmmmmm. I mean, I like how it turned out with my abs and hairline. I wasn’t fat and bald when you crucified me, but, like . . . Let’s put it this way: Thirty-three isn’t twenty-three.
In John 1, when Nathaniel says, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” and Phillip says, “Come and see.” That’s really good writing. I get the chills every time, and, like . . . it’s about me.
Everyone says, “Around two thousand years ago,” or, “Approximately two thousand years ago . . .” Dude. Just say two thousand years ago.
Two thousand years ago I was twenty years old. I was walking the earth. Not everything happened when I was thirty-three.
I’d like to think some of my best work happened when I was nine. Nobody talks about that.
Probably the verse I get most when people see me on the street is John 3:16. You guys love John 3:16.
Nobody talks about John 4:16. Why? Here’s John 4:16:
[I] said to [the Samaritan woman], “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to [me], “I do not have a husband.”
Oops. I guess I’d thought she had a husband. That verse should probably go in the “Goofs” part of the Bible, in the back.
I’m glad people don’t mention John 4:16.
Where in the Gospels does it say I don’t like gay people? Have you seen Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally? Some of my best friends were gay. John was gay. I think people like to put labels on me — homophobe, Pro-Lifer . . . Well, I am Pro Life, actually. [laughs] That’s true.
“King of the Jews,” though. Let’s talk about that. It’s really mean but also kind of funny. It took me a couple millennia to laugh at it. “King of the Jews.” It’s like: Come on, guys!
For the record, though, I love everybody, gay, straight, bi, trans, black, brown, white, funny, white-funny, office-funny, dad-funny, not-funny, humorless. I should say: The humorless are kind of funny.
“Come to the church,” though—that’s what I say. You had an abortion? Come to the church. You committed adultery? Come to the church. You’re a Republican? I love Republicans. I love Donald Trump. I love Joe Biden.
What was the question again?
That said, I’m not a huge fan of Dane Cook.
If I were a sexual guy, I’d say Venus now, Serena in five years.
I mean, bro: I got eyes.
In the past ten years nobody’s funnier than Key & Peele and Fred & Carrie on Portlandia. I keep wanting them to do a show like Portlandia but set in Nazareth. Nazareth is the Portland of Israel. Literally. The raw-food sketch? [laughs] That is so Nazareth.
Venus now, Serena in five years. Seriously.
I died for your sins, yes. Am I angry? No. But follow that example. Forgive each other.
Am I literally there with you at church? Yes. Literally, body and my blood? Yes. Literally? Yes. Really? Yes. Why do so many of you struggle with that? And yet you believed Milli Vanilli in 1988.
If I weren’t a carpenter I don’t know what I’d be. A plumber? It depends on the time period. Maybe a docent because docents get to wear whatever they want. I saw a docent once, this was years ago, wearing a polo shirt underneath a blazer. And he didn’t have his arms in the blazer. And he had a sweater tied around his neck.
I was like: Whoa.
This was in Florence.
I’d be a really bad docent, though. [laughs] I’d just lead the group from room to room and not say anything. And then when I felt the group sort of leaning, you know, I’d say: Moving on.
I’ve always said whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. That’s why I’m not on social media anymore.