A spoof of the megachurch phenomenon in America has attracted over 45,000 viewers on YouTube as well as a recently-won Emmy award.
But the ones behind the less-than-two-minute skit are not atheist nor anti-Christian. They are churchgoing Americans out to expose what they feel some are turning into an "absurd religion."
"Though we use humor and satire, there is a purpose," says Steve Gray, co-host, creator and executive producer of The Steve & Kathy Show, which came out with Emmy-winning "Real Preachers of Genius: Mega Church Pastor," modeled after the Super Bowl commercial of a similar name.
"We are exposing the absurdities of religion while bringing hope to the very ones who have been excluded by it," adds Gray, who also serves as senior pastor of World Revival Church of Kansas City.
After "Mega Church Pastor" won in the Religion category at the Mid-America Emmy Awards earlier this month, Gray said the recognition the skit is receiving confirms his statement that America is ready for something different in Christianity.
"Religion in America is in crisis," Gray says, adding that his late-night TV show is one of his strategies to give America "religion that works."
Even more popular than "Mega Church Pastor" is "Cheech & Chong at the drive thru," a parody of the 70s/80s comedy duo that spoofs phenomena like drive-in church services that are designed to attract new visitors not drawn by conventional worship.
The video on YouTube has garnered over 85,000 hits over the course of 6 months.
In many of the skits produced for The Steve & Kathy Show, criticism of megachurches and the emergent church movement is clear.
In the skit "Sexy God," a Rob Bell impersonator – going by the name Rob Dingdong – struts to a musical parody of "I'm too Sexy" while speaking about his book, Sexy God, which alludes to the real-life pastor's 2007 book Sex God.
Both "Mega Church Pastor" and "Sexy God" were banned from GodTube, the highly popular Christian alternative to YouTube.com, prompting Gray to increase his videos' exposure through YouTube.
"Not for the religiously inclined, these spoofs help the American public see through the gimmicks of religion and consider a better way to do church," the promoters of The Steve & Kathy Show explained in a press release.
As of Friday, The Steve & Kathy Show has posted 40 videos on YouTube – four of which have garnered over 20,000 hits.
This month, Gray will be releasing his book My Absurd Religion, which complements the message of his TV show. It will be available Oct. 28 at Amazon.com.