Fresno Beehive

Rogue Review: Jaguar Bennett’s religious parody is hilarious, groan-inducing fun

Jaguar Bennett stars in the one-man comedy show “Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit” at the 2017 Rogue Festival.
Jaguar Bennett stars in the one-man comedy show “Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit” at the 2017 Rogue Festival. Special to The Bee

“Let us pray.”

With those words, Jaguar Bennett begins “Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit,” the utterly hilarious and totally groan worthy one-man parody that is the local comic’s entry at this year’s Rogue Festival.

In it, Jaguar plays Jaguar, a kind of entrepreneurial preacher/guru/huckster selling religion as “the growth industry of the 21st century.” The show plays out like a business seminar as Christian revival (or vice versa) with hints of stand-up comedy and more traditional (though no less funny) one-man memoir storytelling.

There are moments when you wonder how much of the character Jaguar is actually Jaguar (or vice versa). I’m pretty sure he never really hid a bible from his parents under a stack of porno mags, or used masturbation to cover the fact that he’d been praying. I’m less certain he didn’t in fact spend his twenties crafting his own solipsistic religion based on, as he puts it “the martini of the mind.”

Any problems with the show – the one quick moment when Bennett lost focus and stumbled on a word or two – is forgiven by the man’s ability to snap off witty, almost quotable one liners that have you laughing or winching at the fact you’re laughing. Referring to God a “genocidal sky tyrant,” for example. Or to David Koresh as one of religion’s “breakthrough pioneers.”

That comedy is packed dense into almost every bit of the show, to the point where even the erudite moments (and there are a few) come off as laugh worthy.

Stray observations:

▪ Two minutes in, my face legit hurt from laughing and I wondered how the show could keep the pace. Somehow, it did.

▪ You really begin to understand Bennett’s brilliance once you realize the whole show is scripted and memorized, down to the word.

▪ The number of Donald Trump references seemed excessive, but you go with what’s trending.

▪ The number of “Star Wars” references also seemed excessive, but too fitting to not use.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

“Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit”

  • 7:15 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday
  • Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 N. Fulton
  • $5
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