Comedian Dubac brings ‘Jesus’ to TACAW
Former Aspenite returns with new show
Comedian Robert Dubac found Jesus — or, rather, found his satirical one-man show “Stand-Up Jesus” — during his long time off from touring and performing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The comedian and former Aspenite wrote and workshopped the new show, which imagines the messiah returning as a comedian, during the extended shutdown of the performing arts and comedy clubs in 2020 and 2021.
He will perform “Stand-Up Jesus” on Saturday at the Arts Campus at Willits.
Dubac, who was raised Catholic, knows that many will take offense to his new work and will oppose any religious satire. But he’s OK with that.
“The evangelical element of the culture has crossed the line,” he said. “In my opinion it’s an addiction and it’s craziness. If Jesus Christ came back to Earth, I think he’d be a little disappointed. He’d say, ‘Hey, you guys got my message wrong.’ That’s the impetus for this show.“
“Stand-Up Jesus” imagines Christ returning in middle age, looking to take over his dad’s god business and concluding he has to start a new religion because Christians got it so wrong over the past 2,000 years. Dubac’s Christ is instead now spreading the gospel of humor.
“He rewrote the Bible and added punchlines,” Dubac explained, “because he realized the last time he was here, if you preach without punchlines, you get crucified.”
He doesn’t spare punches for organized religion in the show, but he’s not attacking anybody, he said, or accusing anyone of being ignorant or stupid. He hopes religious people can enjoy “Stand-Up Jesus” and take a respectful ribbing.
“It’s sacrilegious and irreverent, but it’s in a good spirit,“ he said.
Dubac last played locally in 2018 when he brought his “The Book of Moron” to the Temporary at Willits, skewering the increasingly dumbed-down trajectory of American culture with his signature biting wit. That show premiered in Denver in 2014 and then ran Off-Broadway before going on the road.
Dubac got his start in Aspen during the town’s ski bum heyday of the early 1970s and honed his craft in local bars. He eventually became a go-to opening act for touring rock bands, starting with Aspen-honed rising stars like Jimmy Buffett. He remained a fixture here through the early ’90s as his stand-up and acting career took off. Now Dubac splits his time between Los Angeles and Telluride, visiting Aspen regularly to see old friends and do homecoming shows, including a 2015 set at the Aspen Laugh Festival.
He stayed in Telluride through the bulk of the pandemic, from the spring 2020 shutdown on, writing and laying low with a bubble of people.
“It was like the old commune-style days in the ’70s, so it was fine,” he said.
Dubac started touring sporadically again just a few months ago, including runs in Florida and Pennsylvania. But the pandemic has kept him from a full launch for “Stand-Up Jesus.” His plans to premiere it in New York last summer were scuttled by the delta variant. A San Francisco opening was canceled by omicron.
The Willits performance is among the first for “Stand-Up Jesus,” as Dubac eyes a wider road tour to reach a broad audience and, maybe, court some controversy.
“I would love to do it in the Bible Belt, because I think all the negative publicity would be just stupendous for it — I would like to have people picket it,” he said. “The thing is, there’s really nothing that offensive about it. It’s all about tolerance.”
Dubac ideally would like to eventually send it on the road with a diverse cast of performers playing Jesus.
“I’d like to do it with seven men and women, Black, white, Asian, all different sizes and it’s ‘Jesus appeared in Atlanta!’ ‘He’s in Minneapolis!’” Dubac said. “If it’s well-written enough, anybody can do it.”
IF YOU GO …
What: Robert Dubac’s ‘Stand-Up Jesus’
Where: The Arts Campus at Willits
When: Saturday, March 12, 8 p.m.
How much: $22-$35
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