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Pope Francis meets more than 100 comedians at the Vatican: 'You also make God smile'

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Pope Francis meets more than 100 comedians at the Vatican: 'You also make God smile'
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Pope Francis meets more than 100 comedians at the Vatican: 'You also make God smile'

2024-06-14 21:07 Last Updated At:21:11

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Before flying to Italy's southern Puglia region to meet world leaders at the Group of Seven summit, Pope Francis hosted a very different audience at the Vatican on Friday celebrating the importance of humor.

The pontiff welcomed more than 100 comedians from 15 nations, including U.S. celebrities Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock, Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien.

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CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, leaves after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Before flying to Italy's southern Puglia region to meet world leaders at the Group of Seven summit, Pope Francis hosted a very different audience at the Vatican on Friday celebrating the importance of humor.

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Conan O'Brien is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Conan O'Brien is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Stephen Colbert is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Stephen Colbert is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, arrives for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, arrives for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Chris Rock, left, and Conan O'Brien arrive for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Chris Rock, left, and Conan O'Brien arrive for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

“In the midst of so much gloomy news, immersed as we are in many social and even personal emergencies, you have the power to spread peace and smiles,” Francis told the comedians.

“You unite people, because laughter is contagious,” he continued, asking jokingly, “Please pray for me: for, not against!”

Francis pointed out that in the creation, “Divine wisdom practiced your art for the benefit of none other than God himself, the first spectator in history,” with God delighting in the works that he had made.

“Remember this,” he added. "When you manage to bring intelligent smiles to the lips of even a single spectator, you also make God smile.”

Francis also said it was OK to “laugh at God” in the same way “we play and joke with the people we love.”

After delivering his speech, Francis greeted all the comedians individually, sharing laughs and jokes with some of them.

“It was great, it was very fast and really loving, and made me happy,” Goldberg said afterward.

O’Brien noted that the pope “spoke in Italian, so I’m not quite sure what was said.”

“To be in that room and to be with all my fellow comedians, some of whom I’ve been good friends with for many years, in that environment, was quite strange," the TV host added. "All of us were thinking, how did this happen? Why are we here, and when are they going to throw us out?”

Colbert admitted his Italian “is really bad, I would like to speak it better.” But he managed to remind the pope that he had done the audiobook for his memoir.

“It was wonderful, he’ll never forget me,” he joked.

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, leaves after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, leaves after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Conan O'Brien is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Conan O'Brien is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Stephen Colbert is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Stephen Colbert is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg is interviewed after an audience with Pope Francis in Clementine Hall, at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, arrives for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

CAPTION CORRECTS LOCATION Whoopi Goldberg, centre, arrives for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Chris Rock, left, and Conan O'Brien arrive for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Chris Rock, left, and Conan O'Brien arrive for an audience with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall at The Vatican, Friday, June 14, 2024. Pope Francis is meeting with over 100 comedians from 15 countries aiming to establish a link between the Catholic Church and comic artists. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Felipe Mora scored in the 3rd minute, Santiago Moreno scored three minutes into the second half and the Portland Timbers ended Real Salt Lake's club-record 10-match unbeaten run on the road with a 3-0 victory on Saturday night.

James Pantemis finished with three saves to earn his fourth clean sheet in his 11th start of the season for the Timbers (10-8-6), who handed Real Salt Lake (12-4-7) its second loss in its last 19 matches. Real Salt Lake had not lost on the road since a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Inter Miami in the season opener.

Mora used Moreno's 10th assist of the season to score his 11th goal and give the Timbers the early lead.

Moreno took passes from Evander and Jonathan Rodríguez and scored in the 48th minute for a 2-0 lead. Evander notched his 12th assist and Rodríguez snagged his sixth on Moreno's fifth goal of the season.

Evander put the icing on the victory with his 11th goal of the season off a pass from Antony Alves Santos in the final minute of regulation. It was the fourth assist this season for Antony, who had one goal in three starts and nine appearances last season — his first in the league.

Zac MacMath stopped four shots in goal for Real Salt Lake.

Rodríguez, Mora and Evander all have 11 goals, giving the Timbers a trio of players with 10-plus goals in a single season for the first time in club history.

Pantemis held Real Salt Lake's high-scoring threesome in check. Cristian “Chicho” Arango entered play with 17 goals and 11 assists, while Andrés Gómez had 11 goals and nine assists. Diego Luna began the day with a team-high 12 assists to go along with five goals. Luna became first player in the league's 29-year existence to register multiple three-assist matches before his 23rd birthday. He needs three more goal contributions to give RSL three players with 20-plus in a single season for the first time.

Portland leads the all-time series 14-9-10.

Real Salt Lake went 4-0-6 during its unbeaten run away from home. The club has gone 11-2-6 in its last 19 matches to climb into a three-way tie for first place in the Western Conference with Los Angeles FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy. All three leaders lost on Saturday.

Real Salt Lake stays on the road to play Los Angeles FC on Wednesday. The Timbers travel to play the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport

Portland Timbers' Felipe Mora points toward the sky after his goal against Real Salt Lake in an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Portland Timbers' Felipe Mora points toward the sky after his goal against Real Salt Lake in an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Portland Timbers forward Jonathan Rodríguez (14) fights for possession against Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody (2) during an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Portland Timbers forward Jonathan Rodríguez (14) fights for possession against Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody (2) during an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Portland Timbers midfielder Evander (10) pushes the ball ahead while Real Salt Lake midfielder Emeka Eneli (14) gives chase during an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Portland Timbers midfielder Evander (10) pushes the ball ahead while Real Salt Lake midfielder Emeka Eneli (14) gives chase during an MLS soccer match in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Players get into a scuffle during the first half an MLS soccer match between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

Players get into a scuffle during the first half an MLS soccer match between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake in Portland, Ore., Saturday, July 13, 2024. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP)

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