Thursday, December 22, 2011 |
Are you ready to hear the voice of God? Well, the voice of God as channelled by comedy writer David Javerbaum. The former executive producer of The Daily Show with John Stewart certainly seems to have more awards than God (12 Emmys, two Grammys and two Peabody Awards), has written one bestseller (What to Expect When You're Expected) and contributed to two more (America: The Book and Earth: The Book). So what better challenge to tackle next than ghostwriting the memoirs of the big guy upstairs?
Javerbaum's latest book is The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. "I'm a comedy writer, not a theologian by nature, but I was looking for a job, and God approached me to ask if I wanted to do this, to do joke punch-up, essentially," Javerbaum deadpanned in a recent interview on Day 6. "Because he's not very funny. He's not a very mirthful God, if you know some of his work, you'll know that." No, it's not just the translation: God lacks a sense of humour, Javerbaum confirms.
The Last Testament features some vocabulary that experts might refer to as "old-timey" -- words like "lo" and "verily." Javerbaum was enthusiastic about working within these confines. "I really enjoyed creating the character," he told host Brent Bambury. "God is a literary character. It felt as I was doing it that I was becoming more and more aware of him -- and I don't mean that in any kind of spiritual sense, but in the sense of creating a character from a writing standpoint."
Javerbaum feels confident that he found the voice of God -- at least his idea of the character of God from the Old Testament. But what else does God have to say that didn't get covered in those earlier texts (you know, that little publication called The Bible)? "He talks about the Old and New Testaments, and the Koran, with great candour, especially considering we've only got one year left," explained Javerbaum. Evidently, God has a "people crush" on the Mayans, and is planning on going with their date for the apocalypse: December 21, 2012.
There are many people who believe that the "word of God" is not something to be trifled with. But Javerbaum isn't worried about getting flack from purists. "I'm not changing the text from the previous work. We're just adding another point of view," he pointed out. "Not everything was divulged in those books." The current book also contains God's thoughts on the present. "There's a series of short essays throughout the book where he talks about topics like sports, romance, America." There are even recipes. "It's a smorgasGod."
In any case, the backlash has been minor. So far, the backlash consists mainly of a column on the website of a conservative Christian who believes The Last Testament is an "anti-God" book. It's not enough for Javerbaum. "We're trying to build the backlash a little bit more," he said. "So we can get more attention and sell more books."
More seriously, Walmart and other big box stores have refused to carry The Last Testament, which doesn't surprise Javerbaum much. "I don't know how big my sales would have been there anyway," he said. More surprisingly, Simon & Schuster UK (the overseas sister of Javerbaum's publisher) has refused to publish the book for fear it might be too inflammatory. Still, Javerbaum is hoping that this sort of censorship will make people very angry, which will translate into book sales -- "and more money for me."
The Last Testament: A Memoir
by God, as told to David Javerbaum
Buy this book at:
From the publisher:
Read more at Simon & Schuster.