To the astonishment and delight of us all, two members of the Governing Body: Anthony Norris III and Steven Lot, have branched out into the world of stand-up comedy (though some apostates may insist that the Governing Body have been living in that world, unknowingly, for a long time.)
Tony is the straight-man, deadpanning the whole time, while Steven’s a crackup; using his notoriously extreme facial expressions to milk the audience’s laughter.
If you haven’t caught their act yet, which has opened for several recent conventions throughout the U.S. and Great Britain, you may enjoy the following transcription of a recent performance. Unfortunately a transcription cannot fully convey the physical comedy and superb timing of a live performance.
Norris & Lot: [Walk out to great applause. Norris goes and stands behind the podium, Lot stands a few feet away to his right, behind a standing mic. They bow, applaud each other, and wait for the crowd to settle down.]
Norris: So, a guy walks into a bar–
Lot: Ouch! [Holds hand over his eye, and staggers about the stage, then doubles over in mock pain.]
Audience: [Roars with laughter; so relieved to see these men not being serious for a change.]
Norris: [Waits for audience to quiet down, and Lot to recover himself.]
[Shuffles his papers on the podium, till at last he seems to find the right one.]
A guy walks into a magazine counter.
Lot: Ouch! [Repeats performance. Crowd laughs even harder this time.]
Norris: [After patiently waiting for everyone to settle down; while remaining straight-faced himself the whole time.] Sorry. I’ll get this right eventually — you know that sometimes we don’t get everything exactly right the first time.
Audience: [Laughs, then applauds as Norris gives a meaningful look.]
Lot: Yeah, we’re not infallible. Just remember the Generation teaching!
Audience: [Starts laughing, but then catch themselves and stop short.]
Norris: [Gives Lot a long, thoughtful look.] No; not like the Generation teaching. We had that one right the first time.
Lot: Oh, right! We just didn’t know what we were saying.
Audience: [Confused, sporadic laughter.]
Norris: No; he’s right: we said the Generation wouldn’t die out before the end came. We just didn’t know that the Generation was uh —
Audience: [Laughter & applause.]
Norris: So, a brother walks over to the magazine counter.
Lot: [Encouragingly.] Tell the story, brother.
Norris: And he asks the Magazine Servant —
Lot: Did you ever wonder why you start out as a servant and have to rise to the level of a slave?
Audience: [Laughter and applause.]
Norris: [Gives Lot a stern look.] And he asks the Magazine Servant, “Say, brother, have you got the swimsuit issue?”
Lot: [Mugs an outrageous face of shock, replete with rolling eyes.]
Audience: [Roars with laughter.]
Lot: Well, at least he didn’t ask for a Playboy!
Audience: [Gasps at the mention of such a thing by a Governing Body member, then laughs hysterically.]
Norris: Do they still publish that wicked rag?
Lot: [Putting his hand on his chest.] How would I know?
Norris: So, the Magazine Servant reaches under the counter, saying, “Oh, yes, I believe we still have one issue left, down here.” [Long pause.] And he pulls out our January issue with the report on all of the baptisms for last year.
Lot: [Doubles over in hysterical laughter, which in itself is funny enough to give the audience something to laugh at rather than Norris’s dud of a punchline.]
Norris: [Steps to the side of the podium and takes a bow.]
Audience: [Polite applause.]
Lot: Speaking of baptism, brother Norris, I heard a sister say that she thought John the Baptist was hot.
Norris: [In mock disbelief.] Hot?!
Lot: She was looking at the illustration of him in the Watchtower. The one with the bulging muscles. [Flexing and feeling his own biceps, then nodding and smiling at ladies in the audience.] I Guess John had been working out; not much else to do in the desert.
Norris: And she really said that she thought he was “hot”?
Lot: “Smokin’!” [Mugs an indescribable face, perhaps meant to mimic the woman’s attraction to the picture.]
Norris: Wait; she said he was smoking?
Lot: “Smokin’!” [Repeats face, even more exaggeratedly.]
Norris: Can’t be; we don’t baptize anyone who’s smoking.
Audience: [Scattered chuckles.]
Lot: [Pointing to Norris] Just like Samson: he brings the house down!
Norris: Well, if John the Baptist was a smoker, he wasn’t the worst lawbreaker in the Bible.
Lot: Oh? Who was, then?
Norris: Sure; he broke all ten commandments at once!
Audience: [Laughter mixed with groans.]
Lot: [Whispers to the audience, with a nod to Norris.] Smart-alek.
Lot: [Addressing Norris.] Oh yeah? Well, what about Noah? He broke the dietary law, you know.
Norris: How’s that?
Lot: He took Ham into the ark.
Audience: [Laughs politely, then bursts into laughter and applause as Lot mugs and spreads his arms to accept adulation for his wit.]
Norris: Well, that’s not so bad; I guess I’m worse: guilty of bringing a ham on the stage with me.
Lot: Hey, if anyone here needs an ark, I Noah guy.
Norris: I’m sorry; it’s hard to stop him when he’s on a roll. He’s the same way when the Faithful Slave is in session. That’s why it takes so long to get the new truths out to you folks.
Lot: You knew that Noah also brought playing cards with him to help wile away those long rainy days on the ark, didn’t you?
Norris: Is that a fact? What did they play, poker? Ha-ha.
Lot: No, they could never play anything; Noah kept standing on the deck.
Norris: [With a long-suffering look to the audience.] I’ll get him off this, I promise.
Hey, Steven, didn’t you just celebrate your 45th anniversary with your lovely wife Susan?
Lot: 48th year, Tony!
Lot: Yes, as you know, this is the one thing we Jehovah’s Witnesses get to celebrate. So we went all out!
Norris: [With a worried look.] All out?
Lot: Yes, we shared a glass of wine with our meal at a fancy restaurant.
Norris: Oh, that’s acceptable.
Lot: And, we had a toast —
Norris: Oh, brother, no! Jehovah’s people do not engage in toasting!
Lot: [A look of astonishment.] You’re kidding.
Norris: No, I’m not kidding! You’re a member of the Governing Body: the Faithful and Discreet slave! How can you not know of this prohibition? Toasting is a pagan religious ritual! You’re supposed to be setting an example!
Lot: [Looking dejected.] Now I’ll have to report Susan to the judicial committee for toasting that marshmallow. It was all her idea. Though I ate it; just like Adam ate the fruit Eve gave him. Does that make me guilty too?
Norris: Oh, it was just a toasted marshmallow? That’s okay then.
Lot: Whew! Well, now I’m really glad we decided against the piñata.
Norris: Actually, piñatas are permitted.
Lot: [Reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out a pencil and notebook, begins writing something down.]
Norris: What are you doing now?
Lot: Just making a note. “Piñatas: okay… Toasting: ETERNAL DEATH!”
Norris: Now that you’ve got that straight in your mind, can you tell us why you would have a piñata, of all things, at your anniversary celebration?
Lot: I told you we were going all out.
Lot: Oh yeah; people have piñatas at their celebrations. I’ve seen this: you take a stick and hit it, and stuff falls out… It’s kind of like these young attractive sisters: they get hit on all the time, and then spill their guts in the courts about elders having sexually abused them.
Norris: Yeah; I’d like to take a stick to them myself sometimes, for all the trouble they cause the Society.
Too bad it’s not like in the good old days when Rutherford armed his body-guards with canes, which they weren’t hesitant to use.
Lot: Yeah, not like the “metaphorical rod” that brother Jackson tried to pull over on the Australian Royal Commission!
Norris: [Ignoring Lot.] And unfortunately it’s not just the sisters; there’s those young brothers in tight pants, exciting the older men —
Lot: Wait a minute! [Takes out notebook and writes again] “Tight pants: HUMAN HOT-DOGS!
[Puts away notebook and yawns.]
Norris: Are we keeping you up?
Lot: [Looks at watch] It’s about time for my siesta.
Norris: You take a siesta?
Lot: Every day. [Norris stares at him, making him nervous and guilty.] Uh-oh! [Takes out notebook and rifles through it.] I don’t see siestas on the list. Aren’t they okay?
Norris: Just like birthdays, there is only one mention of a siesta in the Bible, and a murder was committed during it.
Lot: [Writes in notebook, with exaggerated emphasis, as if stabbing a hole through the paper.] I better pop a No-Doze!
Norris: Just kidding, brother Lot. Siestas are acceptable.
Lot: [Rips the page out of his notebook, crumples it, and throws it offstage.] And into the apostate-bucket it goes!
Norris: We have to get off now and make room for the serious stuff. Despite all our foolishness, we’d like to end on an inspiring note —
Lot: Oh, I’ve got one! You know we joke about the sisters, but seriously, I’ve come closer in my understanding and appreciation and love for Jehovah through my long, long, long [nodding his head and slumping lower and lower with each repetition of the word] long marriage.
Norris: Kind of gives you a taste for what eternity will be like, doesn’t it, brother?
Lot: [Straightening back up] Yes, isn’t it wonderful? Best of all, I now understand why Jehovah created man before woman.
Norris: Why is that?
Lot: He didn’t want any advice on how to do it.
Norris & Lot: [Raise their arms above their heads, give each other high-five’s, and bow.]
Audience: [Gives standing ovation.]
Norris & Lot: Thank you; you’ve been great — though you’ll never be as great as us!
Disclaimer: Any resemblance of characters in this article to actual persons, living or dead, may not be entirely coincidental.
This dialogue is entirely the product of the writer’s warped imagination (along with some bad jokes culled from the Internet), though it’s mostly all in fun, it all has a basis in the actual writings, theology, history, and policies of the Watchtower (as the provided links demonstrate.)
The Standup Comedy of the Governing Body (video with mostly different content)