Imagine, if you will, something like a Key & Peele riff on a particularly blasphemous Monty Python Nativity sketch, rendered in the most profane Portugeuse.
That’s “A Primeira Tentação de Cristo,” a comedy special by Brazil’s Portos dos Fundos comedy Youtube channel. The English translation of the title? “The First Temptation of Christ.”
It’s bawdy, crude and manic, and it’s offensive enough to inspire “cancel Netflix” movements in certain corners of the world.
And by the way, it’s pretty damned funny, too. It pokes fun at religions in general, Christianity in particular, with a “people will believe anything” jocularity. It riffs on Brazilian homophobia and a vengeful, irresponsible “absentee father” God Almighty.
“Absent father? I’m OMNIPRESENT!”
Yeah, you’ve got to read subtitles to get the jokes — most of them. But the energy and liberating mockery of it all win you over.
The Three Kings/Wise Men are shlepping back to Bethlehem — “Are they still in that place with the manger?” — OK, NAZARETH then, with more gifts.
They kvetch about all the fun they could be having in Mykonos, on a Greek beach. They’re cheaping out on the gifts — flowers plucked along the way,”Myrrh, again?” Melchior’s brought his famous ham and cheese sandwich. Only an IDIOT woud bring pork as a gift, right?
“I said HAM.”
They arrive and realize this year it’s to be a surprise party for the Son of God. He’s 30. He’s off in the desert, but he’ll be back any minute. Have a drink!
“There’s no wine because Jesus hasn’t got around to doing miracles, yet,” Joseph (Rafael Portugal) complains.
The unruly family mingles and mills about. There’s a synethesizer playing a little dance music. But “Uncle Vittorio” (Antonio Tabet) is here and threatens to ruin the entire evening. He thinks it’s time to have “the talk” with Jesus, tell him that he’s his real father.
That’s right, the guy Mary (Evelyn Castro) has been passing off as an “uncle” is God Almighty. Well, at least he brought cake.
“NO ANGELS were harmed in the making of it,” he jokes. Joseph isn’t having it.
“That joke’s so old Noah told it!”
That’s the tenor of things here, poking, teasing, lightly mocking. Yes, Jesus was just in the desert “finding himself.” Yes, he came back with a special friend, Orlando (Fábio Porchat).
Yes, the family’s entirely too concerned, tactlessly so, about his sexual orientation. Jesus (Gregório Duvivier) is sure they’ve been reading his diary.
“Am I to be the ONLY one who can’t have a relationship? Is it a CRIME for a boy to have dreams? About a cousin?”
Jesus has visions that include a chat with other dieties — Shiva, Buddha, Haile Selassie and a Lizard Man from Scientology (I guess).
That’s the only gutless thing in “The First Temptation.” No ridicule for The Prophet? THAT would be edgy. Next year, take a shot at Ramadan.
“Temptation” is basically an overlong sketch leaning heavily on Christianity, stereotypes — got to convince the Hebrews a ham & cheese is made from soy, slaughtered in the kosher Shechita tradition — and the whole “They can’t SAY that, can they?” incorrectness of it all.
But the pacing, the in-your-face energy of “The First Temptation” put it over. If you’re easily offended about anything described above, it’s not for you. Watch something else.
And Portos de Fundos? We’re waiting for that Ramadan special.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, violence, profanity, touchy content
Cast: Evelyn Castro, Gregório Duvivier, Fábio Porchat, Rafael Portugal, Antonio Tabet
Credits: Directed by Rodrigo Van Der Put. An MPCA/Netflix release.
Running time: 46 minutes