“It’s not as frightening as it sounds,” the authors insist rather unconvincingly, describing a sample invocation:
Thou hast taken control of my good sense. When thou art with me, I am debased and dishonored.
Oh, and Close claimed his cocaine addiction was cured by a coven of Toronto witches.
Yes, for aside from his cult-leader shtick, Close was your typical morbid, manic, heavily medicated modern comic. Not surprisingly, he and student John Belushi were best buddies.
In the unwatchable movie Wired (1989), a comedy coach clearly patterned on Close screams at “Belushi” (played by Michael Chiklis), “Let the demons loose!”
The coach’s furious Freudian litany is familiar to even the casual student of humor:
Comedy is aggression….”Knock “em dead. Heh-heh, I murdered “em!”…Comedy’s an assault….Kill ‘em. Make ‘em laugh “til it hurts…”til they have a fuckin” hemorrhage! That’s comedy.
And yet the only people who ever actually died were the ones on the stage, not in the audience.
Later in life, Close felt compelled to tell new students that “the advice I gave Belushi made him a star, it didn”t kill him””a strange statement if you”re simply teaching mundane inhibition-reducing exercises to budding actors.
So yes, Bible-thumpers wasted a generation looking for covens in all the wrong places. Making fun of them is, well, fun. But a slender satanic thread has run through American pop culture ever since 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby (whose director lost his wife soon thereafter in a frenzied cult murder spree). Never mind that The Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath”even Sammy Davis, Jr.“flirted with the Devil back when membership in Anton LaVey’s “church” was commonplace in Hollywood.
Next time a comedian jokes about “stupid” Christian sacraments”or even the Bushes” membership in Skull & Bones (while ignoring John Kerry’s)”you”ll be forgiven for wondering what sorts of creepy rituals that comedian has ever performed with a straight face and whether or not, somewhere, Screwtape is getting the last laugh.
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