Taking the Leary Challenge

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Comedian Denis Leary has overstepped the limits many times in the past, but this time he has gone way too far, by hosting what he calls an “anti-Christmas Christmas special” on Comedy Central. The one-hour program is literally overflowing with blasphemies and profanities which include denying the virginity of Our Lady, ridiculing Catholic beliefs and a skit portraying a group of lesbian nuns.1 The American TFP web site is asking its readers to register their indignant protest, against the program’s scheduled airing on December 17.

Although formerly Catholic, comedian Denis Leary has built his reputation by pushing the envelope. Indeed, he admits that offending Catholics is a strategy he uses to increase publicity for his productions. In an interview with The Phoenix, Loyola University’s official student paper, he stated: “I always hope that when I put out a record or even a comedy special, that the Catholic Church bans it and the press has a problem with something contained in it because it helps get the word out.”2 Faithful Catholics should view these statements as a challenge.

Many others have made such a challenge and lost. Catholics united in protest have beat many past blasphemies. Such was the case with Alma Lopez’s “Our Lady of Controversy,” a blasphemous art exhibit shown at Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art. When protests were organized against it, their effectiveness was proven at an annual meeting of the American Association of Museums in 2002.

There, journalist Hollis Walker addressed a crowd of museum curators about how devastating protests that create controversy can be. She stated: “Accept that you are not going to win. There is no win in such a controversy. You’re just going to survive. Those are the facts. It’s not pretty, but those are the facts.”3
Martin Scorcese, director of the blasphemous film The Last Temptation of Christ, similarly complained that protests entirely changed the way the public viewed his movie. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Ya! (9-8-88), he stated: “the problem is that after so much controversy, the public went to see my film already conditioned and convinced that it was sacrilegious and blasphemous. If the public debate around it had not occurred and the press had not given it so much attention, the public would have seen the film with other eyes…”4

In light of the true effectiveness that protests have, Mr. Leary’s comments should be viewed as nothing more than a cheap trick to dissuade faithful Catholics from actions that could throw his “Christmas special” off the air and damage his career.
“If Denis Leary wants the kind of negative publicity that protests generate,” said TFP Web editor John Horvat, “then I say give him what he is asking for. We must register our indignation and say no to what Mr. Leary is doing.”

With this in mind, the TFP web site is activating its 35,000 email subscriber network in a massive e-protest, aimed at convincing Comedy Central president Doug Herzog to refuse to air the show on December 17.
Denis Leary is challenging Catholics. He is challenging them to stand up and defend the honor of Our Lord, Our Lady and the Church. He wants to bully them into doing nothing. Catholics must take his challenge and prove him wrong.



  1. Due to their profane nature, the author prefers not to give more details. Those who desire a more complete description of the show are advised to visit the following links, but warned that their content is not suitable for younger readers. http://www.catholicleague.org/05press_releases/quarter%204/051129_sick_idea.htm and http://www.traditionalvalues.org/modules.php?sid=2509.
  2. http://www.loyolaphoenix.com/media/paper673/news/2005/11/16/Diversions/Have-Yourself.A.Merry.Little.Denis.Leary.Interview-1059123.shtml?page=3.
  3. Cf. https://tfp.org/TFPForum/Tendential_Revolution/controversy.htm.
  4. For more information on the effectiveness of protests, see https://tfp.org/TFPForum/Tendential_Revolution/controversy.htm.

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