SATURDAY, May 16, 2009 7:00 PM

Letting Go of God
Video Starring Julia Sweeney

Rob Kendt of the Los Angeles Times writes:
Religion is just too easy a target for mockery.  Seen from the outside, any
supernatural belief system can seem absurd.  You drink your God’s blood?  You
could be a gnat in your next life?  You can’t eat what?

Which is why Julia Sweeney’s brave, hilarious, ultimately moving new solo show
“Letting Go of God” is a gale-force breath of fresh air into the mostly
politic dialogue about religion in our time–which liberals of every faith
have largely ceded to fired-up fundamentalists.  The humbly sage Sweeney has
needling questions that can’t be swatted away with the laughing, lukewarm
tolerance we typically afford faith-based humor, as if to say: Gosh people
believe funny things, but don’t we all?

We shouldn’t laugh so dismissively, Sweeney insists, at others’ beliefs or our
own assunptions.  While she scores some easy, flawlessly deadpan laughs at
the expense of Mormonism, Deepak Chopra, astrology and Catholicism (the
tradition she says she was happily raised in) she is after much bigger game
than cheap disdain.  As she says to an imaginary God she’s at last parting
with near the show’s end: “It’s because I take you so seriously that I can’t
bring myself to believe in you.”

Looking very at home with herself, on a set dressed like a study rife with
religious books and artifacts, Sweeney delivers her monologue with her
trademark blend of ironic confidentiality and best-friend candor.

Believers of all stripes and intensities, as well as nonbelievers who may
scoff a little too facilely, will be challenged and disarmed with
stick-in-your-throat laughter by Sweeney’s utterly uncynical, blisteringly
honest testimony.

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