So I was asked to host the Global Atheist Convention Gala Dinner this year. I decided, given that I am the least prolific out of all the speakers, that it was my job to be a court jester of sorts. I felt that the best way to do this was to make fun of the atheists and the speakers.
The first part of the speech is below. I omitted the housekeeping stuff at the end. I realise a lot of the jokes may not come across well without the delivery, but hopefully the video of the night will be available online soon.
Good evening, my name is Simon Taylor. And for my first miracle… I’d like to welcome you to the Global Atheist Convention Gala Dinner…otherwise known as Revenge of Nerds Live.
We’re back in Melbourne for our second coming. It’s a pleasure to be at the Melbourne Convention Centre, a venue prestigious for hosting esteemed events such as: Sexpo and nine months later The Baby and Toddler Show.
Thank you to the convention organisers for having me as your host. I must say that I feel so honoured…that Ben Elton wasn’t available tonight.
I have put much consideration into my hosting as it was quite hard to work out what to say. There is risk I could regress into petty religious bashing.
I COULD say that, for me, growing up in the Catholic Church was like living in a nightmare. When you wake up you realise that none of it was real, you’re sweating because it’s all based on fear and sometimes you have a really confusing erection.
I COULD say this, I COULD make all these cheap stabs at religion…but I won’t. Because we’re Atheists and we’re better than that.
We should celebrate being together tonight. We all know the expression: ‘organising Atheists is like herding cats’. So I hope you enjoy your meal tonight which will be canned tuna and a bowl of milk. Enjoy.
Some people say that we Atheists act like we know everything. Which is fine, everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion.
We know that we don’t know everything. And knowing that we know that we don’t know everything, gives us the knowledge to know that knowing is something you can’t always know that you know…you know?
But something I do know, is how amazing our speakers are this year. Let me welcome some of the people here tonight.
Dan Dennett, let’s welcome Dan Dennett. As you know, the author of Breaking The Spell. For those who haven’t read it, Breaking The Spell is a step-by-step guide to getting over the Harry Potter series; a powerful book and a powerful tittle of course made credible by Dan’s wizardly beard. Dan Dumbledore Dennett.
Another brilliant man here tonight is Lawrence Krauss. I learned so much from him, like that my hand is made out of a star. Which is funny because I often imagine my hand is Natalie Portman.
Speaking of stars. Stella Young you’re here. Stella can I ask you something personal?…Stella would you…would you…would you give me Tony Jone’s phone number? I know you’re smarter than me, but stop hogging all the good TV shows. I can whinge about politics too. Waa waa waa carbon tax, asylum seeks waa waa waa. See: Q&A‘s easy.
Peter Singer is here. Not only did he speak but he is also running a child care facility here. Drop you babies off in the morning and you will get them back…. if they’re not a social burden.
Geoffrey Robertson is here tonight! Geoffrey Robertson QC. Let’s say I made a joke about Geoffrey Robertson and he sued me for defamation of character. What would I do? …No punchline, just a hypothetical.
Ayan Hirsi Ali is here. What an honour and a privilege. I have a lot of jokes about Ayan Hirsi Ali…. and she has a lot of bodyguards. (Throw away joke card).
PZ Myers has come over. We all know his science blog, Pharyngula, which is hugely popular. PZ has 5987 likes on Facebook. That’s only 41 326 132 less than Justin Bieber. An amazing effort.
Fiona Patten is attending. Please make her welcome. Fiona is the founder of the Australian Sex Party. If you would like to join the sex party, I’m staying at the Hilton room 403.
But putting the sex into secular, Sam Harris is here. Seriously, Sam Harris is so attractive I’m not sure whether I love him more for his mind or his soulless body. How can we not believe in a higher being when the jaw line of Sam Harris can only have been chiselled by God himself. I know we’re both straight and you’re married Sam, but I just want to run away with you, hold your hand and watch the sun set over a Moral Landscape.
And finally I’d like to mention that we are in the presence of Professor Richard Dawkins.
Richard Dawkins is so prolific it’s hard to stand next to him without him having a book written about you.
I bet you even his tomb stone will have citations.
Richard (can I call you Richard? Thanks) Richard coined the term meme. That’s right, he invented the word that describes when many people share a video of LOL Cats on YouTube. What a visionary.
Richard has even released a children’s book The Magic of Reality. It’s rumoured that he is now writing more books just for children, such as The Blind iPhone Maker and The Very Naughty Gene.
Yet it would be remiss of me not to mention Professor Dawkins’ most famous work. The piece of work that has been seen by most people out of everything he has ever done… his appearance of episode 12, series 4 of Dr Who. Amazing stuff.
I know you are all excited to see the keynote speakers here but please give them some space during the meal…because they’re special. They’re the chosen people.