Gay Byrne’s God.

Stephen Fry’s remorseless logic.

Telly heaven

Gay Byrne:
“Suppose what Oscar believed in when he died, despite your protestations, it’s all true and you walk up to the Pearly Gates and you are confronted by God, what will Stephen Fry say to him, her or it?”

Stephen Fry:
“I will basically, that is the theodicy I think, I will say ‘Bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you, how dare you create a world in which there is such misery it’s not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly utterly evil, why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’ That’s what I’d say.”

“You think you’re going to get in?”

Fry: “No, but I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They’re wrong. Now if I died and it was Pluto, Hades and it were the twelve Greek Gods then I would have more truck with it because the Greeks were, they didn’t pretend not to be human in their appetites and in their capriciousness and in their unreasonableness.
They didn’t present themselves as being all seeing all-wise all-kind all beneficent, because the god who created this universe, if there is a god was quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish, totally, we have to spend our life on our knees thanking him, what kind of god would do that?.
Yes the world is very splendid but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind, they eat outwards from the eyes, why, why did you do that to us?
You could easily have made a creation in which that didn’t exist, it is simply not acceptable, so you know atheism is not just about not believing there is a god, but on the assumption that there is one what kind of god is it, it’s perfectly apparent he is monstrous, utterly monstrous, he deserves no respect whatsoever, the moment we banish him life becomes simple purer, cleaner, and more worth living in my view.”

Byrne: “That sure is the longest answer to that question that I ever got in this entire series.”

The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, Sunday February 1, 10.30pm


Johnstone Weetabix writes:

Would you just check out the gurns on Gaybo’s head when he gets an answer he may not have expected…

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93 thoughts on “Oh God

  1. Mikeyfex

    That screenshot.

    I propose we knock the Poolbeg chimneys and replace them with a 200m tall bust of that.

  2. rabjet

    Is that the face of a man who has spent the majority of a long life worshiping the entity which has just been thoroughly rubbished and realizing that it was all a waste of time? Could be…

      1. sickofallthisbs

        Agree with Mike – Fry is nowhere near as clever as he likes to pretend he is; a cursory glance at his Twitter feed reveals his true moronic side.

        1. Jordofthejungle

          Lol – physician heal thyself!

          Your hard-hitting contrarian shtick is getting tiresome given that it is itself borne of superficiality and moronic trite musings.

        2. munkifisht

          Well think Queen’s college reckon he’s smarter than you, but John Lloyd (who produces QI) say’s Fry is actually quite bemused by how people think he’s smart and refutes it.

      2. Spud

        I’m not really a fan either.
        You’d be surprised how many people ask ‘what??? How can you NOT love the guy??’.

        Believing in God or not becomes irrelevant once they find that out!

      3. Eliot Rosewater

        I wouldn’t be a fan of Fry (or Byrne, or RTE) primarily because he comes across as a pompous condescending prat most of the time. And that he has a TV show which shows himself as incredibly intelligent and witty, even though it’s heavily scripted.

        But I agree with him here.

        And loved his character(s) in Blackadder.

        1. yrtnuocecnareviled

          He sounds believable, you like how he pronounces things or he annoys you I guess.
          His Jeeves was savage but General Melchett was just heroic.

        1. ivan

          “Stephen Fry is a stupid person’s idea of what an intelligent person is like” is a stupid person’s idea of what a witty epigram is like.

          1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

            One of the things I was very much surprised by is the sound of Julie Burchill’s voice. I know she can’t help it, but Jaykers, is it hard to listen to. It’s not like she has vocal fry or anything, it’s just her squeaky voice.

  3. newsjustin

    The man raises a fair point. I sure don’t have an answer for him.
    I doubt Gay was in the dark about what to expect from Fry though….surely he knows his form.

    1. OnTheUp

      That’s what I was thinking, Fry is quite vocal about Atheism.

      The debate in which he and Christopher Hitchens took on Anne Widdicome and Archbishop SomethingOrOther in a debate on whether the Catholic Church was a force for good was astonishing.

      They dismantled Widdicome and Archbishop Buttercup

  4. Robyn

    Gaybo’s face just screams what he is thinking during those answers. Something along the lines of:

    “Oh fupp, the Archbishop will have me crucified for this.”

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      He brings up the ‘pearly gates’ question a lot in interviews – present day and the old LLS ones. I think many of his vintage and religious persuasion are truly scared of an ‘after-life judgement’ by a higher being – I see this in elderly folk a lot.

      1. JimmytheHead

        Very true, which is mad because Gaybo was quite the poo-stirrer back in the late 60’s when all RTE shows had to be approved by a (full time RTE paycheque’d) member of the clergy.

        1. Soundings

          Maybe because Gaybo is at that age, where he “doesn’t need the operator any more, he has the direct line”, that he has become more set in his convictions. That said, he has been remarkably open about his views of euthanasia, seeing it as an option for those in extreme pain.

          1. JimmytheHead

            Gaybo might be of the hail mary generation but it wasnt until he “retired” that you can see, compared to the moronic howyas that have emerged since, he was a world class TV presenter and host. Met him in Smithfield a few years back and he was lovely! Tiny fella

          2. Joe the Lion

            Sadly I agree with Jimmy

            he is a condescending nasty little man in many ways but he was always on top of his game and interesting to listen to particularly on the raidio

  5. JimmytheHead

    Great stuff from Fry as usual, man knows how to talk sense. Also riddled with manic depression and he made a great documentary about it; The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive.

    “If god did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him” – Voltaire

  6. Eoin Rogers

    Nice deflection from Gaybo. Don’t think we’d have seen that kind of quick form from Tubs or Brendan O’Carroll… although that’s hardly a compliment…

  7. Michael

    That tv series is gold. The Terry Wogan one especially. Two of the world’s best interviewers interviewing each other in a way.

    Wogan is an atheist by the way but the best stories were of how he took the conscious decision to be his usual perky self the day after the Birmingham and Guilford bombings to show that Irish people were not collectively responsible for these atrocities. I can’t do it justice, just watch it if you find it

    1. Frilly Keane

      Wogan is in a class of his own

      Gay was nowhere near ‘im in the LOL moments. ( I’m particularly reminded of his wireless show the week of Nigella’s Christmas special, drinking your tears stuff)

      He didn’t fawn over Hollywood. Dysentery anyone?

      And when there was grup in the running order. Genius entertainment

      And all without auto cues

        1. Formerly known as


          Eurovision – Aussie TV used to rebroadcast Terry Wogan doing it. He was so offensive to other cultures, that the Aussie channel used the RTE commentary for a few years. Now, they send over their own people, who can make people laugh, without being offensive.

          1. Formerly known as

            Yes, because Australia is multicultural – lots of people from all over Europe settled here, in the past 70 years. Terry Wogan’s quips at cultures that the British don’t consider worthy, did not go down well here.

  8. scottser

    in the pantheon of gods, jehovah (yaweh) was the jealous god. monotheism is born of jealousy, spite and warfare so theology is on fry’s side here.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I was actually expecting Gaybo to say one of two things…

      1. But God kicked us out of the garden of Eden, otherwise we would be OK now. And that explains the bad spiders that eats babies eyes ’cause like *sucks thumb for a sec* they wouldn’t exist in Eden.

      2. Original sin.

    2. Just a thought

      Jehovah wasn’t in the pantheon of 12 gods to which Fry refers. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hestia and Hephaestus.

  9. kurtz


    This may be the greatest answer to the mind numbing childish ‘pearly gates’ question I’ve ever heard. Fantastic.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Gave me a flashback to being in the school principal’s office – the “you won’t get far with that attitude” face.

        1. Lilly

          I will never forget that interview. He was obnoxious to his guest and really showed himself up as clergy ass kisser.

      1. Michael

        who? Fry? he’s answering the question in his inimical flourished way.
        byrne? that’s the style of this tv program. He maintains his even humour throughout these programs. He challenges but never contradicts. At heart it’s like “comedians going out for coffee “, a stylised interview.
        Check out his interview with Wogan, the first atheist he interviewed several years ago.

        1. Joe the Lion

          I don’t buy your Gaybo ‘challenges but never contradicts’ codology. He exercises editorial and personally judgemental behaviour in every interview I’ve ever seen. To be fair that style is from his era but he’s no David Frost.

      2. B Bop

        For once I cursed the size of our large telly at last night’s airing.
        I got the spins with the ridiculous camera switching to capture Gay’s every noggin slapping, pompous expression, feigned look of surprise & over enthused face pulling.
        He brings nothing to the discussion, nor indeed is he an interviewer with wisdom.
        He is however excellent on that retro Sunday afternoon show of his on Lyric FM!

  10. Bluebeard

    I understand people may not like him, but the work he did in giving gay people, atheists, travellers, single mothers, immigrants and other marginalised people a voice, often against criticism from rte and the public, should never be underestimated and has never since been repeated. We was a true public servant.

    1. ollie

      who, Stephen Fry ‘cos that aint Gay Byrne you’re describing. He only gave a voice to those who didn’t disagree with his pompous view of the world, except for Annie Murphy who he allowed on HIS show so he could try and humiliate her. Boy did that backfire!

      1. Bluebeard

        Wow, is that the only show you saw? He had the first lesbian, gay priest, college educated traveler, incest survivor, aids victim, single mother etc. He had multiple interviews with survivors of all sorts of abuse, ex prisoners, heroin addicts, and all and any that you can think of. Budding entrepreneurs, comedians, musicians, writers and actors. Gay’s secret is that he had a rather benign view of the world. His role was to mirror it, not try and steer it. He was also able to separate his own life from his public persona, sometimes to a frightening degree.

  11. Eoghany

    “Children with bone cancer”… He nailed it. That there is proof enough for me that there is no god. Or if there is, he’s an awful asshole.

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