Part 3 of the Holiday Story Series
The holiday of Easter is confusing to some, with it’s combination of the resurrection story and chocolate eggs and bunnies. These things seem to be completely separate. Or ARE they…
You see, there was a period of Jesus’ life… or is it Jesus’s life… or let’s just call it J’s life… or maybe we’ll spell that out as Jay’s life… it’s a good nickname… anyway, there’s this whole swath of time about his life that most people don’t know about it. And the reason why people don’t know about it is because it was embarrassing to the church. Yes, I’m talking about Jay’s early work as a stand-up comedian.
One of the reasons Jay was so comfortable talking to a crowd on a hill in Galilee is that he’d spent years working the clubs of Nazareth in his late twenties.
He’d walk in and say, “How art thou people doing tonight? A man walked into a drinking establishment, and on his head sat a duck. The owner of the establishment sayeth, ‘Lo, may I help thee?’ The duck replieth, ‘Yea, will you remove this man from my underside?'”
While that joke may seem reasonably successful, most of Jay’s comedy was not (and many historians attribute the previous joke to his brother Jude). He was more punster and prankster, often performing an act where he smashed eggs with a large carpentry hammer.
He would start his egg-smashing routine like this: “Gentlemen and other men, I came not tonight to make you say, ‘Lo, there goes Jesus, the son of Joseph, who maketh me laugh.’ I came here to sell to Caesar what is Caesar’s. My father, who art in heaven, has created the tool of tools, know you not how it works? One need only take an ordinary egg, and place the egg between the patented pans. Then, one must reach for this tool that sliceth not, that diceth not, that chops not in a hopper. I refer of course, to the Christ-O-Matic!” Jay would then smash the pans and egg the audience.
However, audiences did not respond well to this routine, and in the Nazarethian clubs, it became a running joke that someone would hide Jay’s eggs from him before the performance. Finding himself on stage with no act, but knowing he had to fill his timeslot, Jay began to talk to them about the incorrectness of their behavior, saying, “Three men threw their eggs upon the ground. One fell upon fertile soil, and was eaten by rodents. One fell among thorns, which hatched a chicken that could not escape the vines. The third fell upon a volcanic rock, and so produced a delicious fried egg.” He added: “Not that I would eat it. I’m just saying… it looks delicious.”
All of this story and more of that time (including Jay’s love of bunnies) was chronicled in a book called “The Hilarious Gospel of Jesus.” The early church found it much too problematic, and locked the book away, but the association of Jesus with eggs (and bunnies) never went away.
Eventually, it was decided that wrapping chocolate eggs to celebrate the holiday was preferable to natural eggs, since that often led to salmonella poisoning.