Sanderson Jones brings his atheist church services to Glasgow
The innovative comedian is appearing as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival
Sanderson Jones is one of stand-up’s great innovators, an irrepressible ideas man. Over a predictably faltering Skype connection, the strikingly tall, bearded, sometime face of the IKEA ads, admits to occasional gremlins during a tech-comedy gig the night before. Jones is also currently developing his own app for Facebook to better engage with audiences. He can’t divulge any more though, as ‘it’s very much in the beta stage’.
This has been a busy month for a comedian whose tinkering with temperamental technology and commitment to a routine about civil liberties used to provoke police interest, but which lately has seen him debate religion in The New York Times. What began as a discussion with fellow comic Pippa Evans en route to a gig, about reconciling their enjoyment of ritual, music and church architecture with their lack of religious faith, has become the Sunday Assembly, prompting a flurry of column inches on the merits of atheism.
Their services – featuring scientific lectures on life’s wonders, comedy, cups of tea and singalongs of ‘Superstition’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ – have been packed. More than 130 people have been in touch about launching assemblies elsewhere in the UK, and there are plans to mobilise this congregation of the godless, in a manner reminiscent of Dundonian novelist and comedy producer Danny Wallace’s Karma Army.
‘We’re talking to people about getting charitable status and we absolutely want to get organised and are striving to help others,’ Jones explains. ‘We’re just trying to work out how to expand so that people have a sense of freedom while we retain a degree of control from the centre. We can’t have a Sunday Assembly somewhere endorsing child sacrifice.’
Currently seeking a Glasgow church for Easter Sunday to host the first assembly outside of London, Jones is also planning two performances of his ingenious Comedy Sale. Selling each ticket by hand, with no phone or internet purchases and each show specifically tailored to those audience members he meets on the street, the Anglo-Scot and former salesman is hoping to encounter all kinds of punters when he arrives a week early to drum up trade. Featuring such delights as a ‘Cock Hunter’ trawl through Chatroulette, the show has already sold out in London, Sydney and Edinburgh. You can have Jones deliver a ticket to you direct by contacting him via Twitter or at the Comedy Sale website.
Sanderson Jones: Comedy Sale, Blackfriars, Glasgow, Tue 26, Sat 30 Mar.