- (Photo: Fox 5 News Video screencap)
NEW YORK – Comedian Stephen Colbert cracked jokes at major Catholic figures such as Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and Pope Francis during Thursday's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, which raised $3 million in charity for children.
Colbert, a Roman Catholic who teaches Sunday school, declared himself "America's most famous Catholic" in his opening remarks, according to The Associated Press, then turned to Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
"I know what the cardinal is thinking: 'Stephen, pride is a sin.' Well, Cardinal, so is envy, so we're even."
The dinner was the 68th annual fundraiser held in honor of former New York Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic presidential candidate. Last year's event was attended by 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, though neither showed up this time around.
Dolan, who appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" in September, was the butt of a number of jokes from the comedian, who also made fun of the cardinal's traditional Catholic vestments.
"I have great respect for Cardinal Dolan, though I do have to say, sir, it is not easy when you are wearing that outfit," Colbert said.
"In that cape and red sash, you look like a matador who's really let himself go."
Dolan appeared to take everything in good humor, with the NY Times noting: "It was just one more sign that the two men might be having the most prominent friendship in Catholicism today."
Colbert further joked that Dolan had a chance to be elected pope when Catholic bishops were electing a new leader earlier this year at the Vatican, "but he blew it in the swimsuit competition."
The comedian also focused on Pope Francis, bringing up the humble and modest nature the new Roman Catholic leader has been praised for. He joked that if the pope had planned Thursday's dinner, "we wouldn't be in white-tie at the Waldorf - we'd be in sweat pants at the corner booth of the IHOP."
"His Humbleness would be out washing the feet of the coat-check guy or something," Colbert continued. "We get it, you're modest."
Colbert also poked fun at Wall Street and the dinner's attendees:
"It's like we all showed up at the same Halloween party dressed as the Monopoly guy," he said. "And you know that's kind of fitting because the Wall Street guys apparently have a get-out-of-jail free card."
Dolan embraced the comedian when he left the stage, and told the audience, who paid $1,500-a-plate, that humor can be a critical part in a person's faith. He also presented Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan with an award for his philanthropy.
Organizers estimate the event raised close to $3 million, money which will go to help needy children. Fox 5 noted this is the largest amount that has been raised in a year that a president has not attended.
The full audio of Colbert's speech can be listened to at the Colbert News Hub.