Comedian Mike Marino has made a career out of spoofing ethnic Italians (of which he is one) and the State of New Jersey – usually both at the same time. He’s a hilarious guy, and he’s found plenty of material for parody on both accounts.

While I don’t advocate most of his stand-up routines (due to foul language), this short clip about an imaginary Italian President from New Jersey is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages – and it’s clean!

Marino imagines what it would have been like if the American President had run the war effort after 9/11 more like a mafia boss than a politician.

His imagery in the skit is amazingly vivid and his timing impeccable. Better yet, Marino has a lot of authority to make lighthearted fun of his own.

Enjoy this short but supremely entertaining routine.

The performance     (duration, 1:35)

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Soul Work

In an age when a casual remark or an unguarded tweet can destroy a person’s career or reputation, we find it difficult to make lighthearted fun even of our own ethnicity.

It’s an evil age that stamps out authentic humor, which is an essential part of a healthy culture. The key word here is “lighthearted”, which springs from the ability to see the world (and oneself or one’s own group) with detachment and humility.

We all need to do a check on our sense of humor from time to time. Here’s a quick checklist:

Can I take a lighthearted joke without being unduly offended?

Do I repeat jokes and humorous stories that contribute to the enjoyment rather than the disparagement of others?

Is my sense of humor dark, unclean, immodest, or do I strive to uplift others with paradox, intelligence and wit?

Do I indulge in forms of entertainment that my conscience tells me to avoid?

Most importantly, even a sense of humor can be consecrated to the Lord. Do that today.