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Friday, April 01, 2005


Papal Fools!

So the pontiff is dying, huh? Yeah, right.

Folks, let me tell you, it's not a coincidence that John Paul was "given his last rites" on the first of April. I know the guy. We go way back. And if this doesn't turn out to be the biggest practical joke he's ever pulled, I'll eat that big tall hat he wears.

Allow me to tell you a story. Middle of May, 1981, I fly to Rome to check in on him after he was shot.

Now, bear in mind that J.P. and I first met in the mid-seventies when he was a cardinal. He stopped in at Catch a Rising Star and caught my act. Vinnie, the guy who was emceeing, saw that he was out there and, after I wrapped my set, called this guy--who he called "the Cardinal of Comedy"--up on the stage. He did this bit about a nun sucking off a leper that almost made me crap my pants with laughter. When he finished his act, I grabbed him backstage and demanded that he let me buy him a drink. Well, he let me buy him about a dozen drinks and he returned the favor. We ended up closing down McCaffrey's down on 18th. We've been tight ever since.

So, '81. I land in Rome and make a bee-line to the hospital. I'm escorted up to his room and I look in--I'll never forget how freaked out I was when I got my first look at him--he's got these tubes up his nose. The nurse waves me over to the bed and tells me he's sleeping, then she makes herself scarce so J.P. and I can have some time to chat. I pull a chair up to his bed. I take his hand and he says, "Fag. Let go of my fucking hand." He opens his eyes, looks at me and says, "Can you believe this shit? Fucking prick shot me." I tell him, "Yeah, life's a bitch, Johnny." He gets all serious. He says, "I was so fucking scared, Wack. I was freaked. I still don't know the extent of the damage. I'm having a hard time moving, man." This flips me out, 'cause this is a vibrant guy, you know? This is a top-notch beach volleyball player. (Didn't know that, did you? Yeah, he almost went pro.) So this strong guy is laying there telling me how weak he is. He gets tears in his eyes. He says, "I wouldn't ask this if you weren't my compadre. I get so fucking embarrassed having the nurse down there looking at my privates. I just filled the bed-pan. Is there any way you could change it?" And I feel so bad for the guy, who I'd do fucking anything for. I say, "You got it, J.P." I lift up the sheet and he kind of lifts his butt off the pan and I pull it out...

Fucking spring-loaded novelty snakes fly outta the goddamn bed-pan. One of 'em hits me in the face. Scared the living crap out of me. John Paul is laughing his holy head off. I couldn't even speak. He's like, "I cannot believe you fell for that. You fucking idiot!" Maybe I shoulda been pissed. He's such a fun guy, though. I couldn't stay mad at him.

I got him back, though. I put a "Honk if You're Horny" bumper sticker on that Popemobile of his. He was ticked.

So. The world press can be suckered in all they want. I know this joker. This is a gag. He's going to pop up in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, yelling "Gotcha, ya lame-asses!" at the top of his papal lungs. I love that guy.

fucking delightful, thanks, bub.
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