If the Son of God was to come to earth, then manifesting as a middle aged man who loiters in central Glasgow singing Wonderwall on loop and shaking a small egg seems as likely a vessel for him to take as any other, right? So argues stand-up Chris Forbes. Meeting Malcolm, who claims to be God’s progeny, Forbes opted not to dismiss him as a delusional jibber-jabberer. Instead, he invited him back to his (newly purchased) flat to interview him at length about the claim.
Their talk forms the basis of Stirling-born Forbes’ latest hour of comedy, Prophecy. Describing their interaction in detail, he lays out how some part of him hoped Malcolm’s disclosure might help him find a new form of spirituality to adhere to, having renounced his Calvinist upbringing. We hear excerpts of their interview verbatim, in which Malcolm reveals himself to be a natural raconteur, bright and lucid in his logic. All the while, Forbes provides context, including the bafflement his girlfriend expresses upon finding he’s apparently bought a vagrant back to their flat for tea on a whim.
It’s evident from the hour that Forbes is a good egg – kind, thoughtful, and generous. His routine is more intriguing than uproarious, but nevertheless it’s refreshing to see a comedian consider theological issues without defaulting to too-cool-for-school scepticism. Which is not to suggest the show proselytises – Malcolm seems suitably libertarian in his approach to other people’s behaviour and beliefs, as might befit the Son of God – but rather that Forbes has crafted a show designed to investigate what form a higher power might take, if there was/is one.
Culminating in something like a conversion on Forbes’ behalf, his fervour for Malcolm’s spiritual philosophy (which ultimately boils down to an elegantly framed version of monism), feels a little contrived. But for a show that takes such a charitable view of human nature, surely a little dramatic license can be forgiven.