Jim Jefferies—the outspoken atheist comedian you want to take a poke at slightly less than Bill Maher and Ricky Gervais—took some of that Comedy Central cash and booked a flight to Jerusalem on Tuesday’s religion-themed Jim Jefferies Show. Sitting down with a Baptist pastor, a rabbi, and a Muslim scholar for a religious colloquy in perhaps the most hotly contested religious site in the world (admittedly, there’s a lot of competition) sounds daunting, so, naturally, the garrulous Aussie set his roundtable around the table of a cosy-looking pub. Sadly for Jim, his three companions all waved off the generous tankards of beer he put in front of them and asked for diet soda. Oh, wait, that’s not bad news at all—not for Jefferies anyway, whose already loose tongue got even more emboldened as the mostly good-natured debate got underway and he polished off everyone’s castoff hooch.
“Mostly good-natured” is Jefferies’ sneaky métier, as his signature antipodean cheekiness serves to deliver a “can’t we all get along over some beers” message regardless of how boisterously he’s calling out what he views as someone else’s nonsense. Kicking things off by finding the common ground on circumcision (all faiths represented believe in “chopping the ends of dicks off”), Jefferies segued boozily into the contentious stuff. On Donald Trump’s incendiary decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, it was two-to-one, with the rabbi and pastor all for it, and the scholar politely against. Same goes for conservative religious types’ ongoing support for Trump, despite all the porn stars, pussy-grabbing, and praise of marching Nazis. “How can you deal with his racism?,” asked the Muslim scholar reasonably of his companions, whose blind-eye-turning praise of Trump Jefferies (in voice-over) summed up as opportunistic backing of a “moral suckhole” who’ll pack the courts with “gay-hating, uterus-controlling” right-wing judges. To the priest and the rabbi’s credit, they both were unable answer Jefferies blunt, “So, would you say he’s a good man?” with anything but gaze-averted awkward silence.
Despite his efforts, the increasingly lubricated Jefferies couldn’t get his religiously diverse drinking buddies to agree on much of substance. Maybe because they weren’t drinking as much as he was. At least they all joined in on some good sport joshing of each others’ traditions (Hanukkah can’t compete with Christmas for presents, and don’t even try to bring Ramadan into it), although two-thirds of Jim’s new friends had to concede that nonbeliever Jefferies was going to hell. Something of a buzzkill that, although Jefferies raised his final toast to the rabbi, whose statement about Jews not believing in hell left Jefferies cheering, “Let’s Jew it up, man!” And, as all four stubborn ideologues managed to agree, at least they’re not Scientologists.