Comedy billboards attacked outside church

BY ADRIAN HATWELL
Last updated 17:18 06/07/2010

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Vandals who seem driven by the separation of church and humour have attacked a billboard outside of an Auckland church.

The advertising space outside of St Mathew-in-the-City is no stranger to such assaults, last Christmas the church's controversial billboard was covered in paint by an unimpressed vandal, but this time the ad didn't even belong to the church.

Instead, the poster was promoting Eulogy, a one-man-show created by Wade Jackson and Colin Mitchell showing at Auckland University's Maidment Theatre this month.

The billboard, depicting the production's evangelical protagonist next to the text "Thanks to Jesus I'm rich, white and horny", was defaced with yellow paint in the last two days.

Creator Jackson speculates the vandalism was the work of "a religious Christian zealot with no sense of humour".

He says he believes the culprit to be the same person behind last Christmas's billboard attack, even though this one didn't even depict a real church.

Jackson describes Eulogy as "the funeral of the prophet Joseph Jones, a superficial, cunning, acerbic sociopath" who becomes one of the most powerful and wealthy tele-evangelists in the world.

He says the attack on the billboard is a sign that the play is important and the production company will not be changing their marketing techniques in the wake of the attack.

"It's important to be able to laugh at ourselves. This is a satire that uses some of the very same techniques that these evangelical religious leaders use to get money out of their partitioners," said Jackson

Despite the righteousness of their cause, however, the company will be unable to replace the billboard.

"Unlike the churches we comment on, we're not rolling in money," said Jackson.

"We only had the one and it was sponsored by Image Center and allowed to be put up by St Matthews."

It is the first time the space has been used to promote anything outside the church.

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