I’ve already offered one Crucifixion joke, and you can find more online. The devout may wish to look away now.
Musos often tell this one, a true story about a performance of the Matthew Passion in Bristol, and an extreme instance of corpsing. I’ll refrain from naming the performers, though I do rather feel they deserve to be immortalized rather than crucified (not a choice vouchsafed to Our Lord).
As the Jesus du jour (fortunately this was a scratch gig) wailed an anguished cry to his Father:
Eli, Eli, lama asabthani?
on declaiming the first cry of “E–li“, he spontaneously essayed an extra dramatic flourish by giving a resounding stamp with his foot. Finding the effect rather pleasing, he followed it up with another stamp on the second “E–li“.
This already had the other soloists, seated nearby, struggling to hold it together— it was even funnier considering that Jesus, up there on the cross, wasn’t exactly in a position to stamp his foot. But when it came to the evangelist’s turn to translate Jesus’s words (That is: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) to the same melody, for scrupulous accuracy of live reportage what else could he do except stamp again in his two equivalent cries of “Mein Gott“? The performers now totally lost it.
It strikes me that this may be even funnier the more deeply we engage with the anguish of the scene.
For good (or bad) measure, an encore of Always look on the bright side of life seems appropriate:
At such moments, it behoves me to stress that the Bach Passions are among the great monuments of Western civilisation…