Culture

Everyone Is Making Fun Of Scientology Again After HBO’s Controversial ‘Going Clear’ Doco

Good news: it's cool to make fun of Tom Cruise again!

Scientology has been lurking on the fringes of pop culture for some time now — from the first scriptures put forth from a sci-fi turned self-help writer in the early 1950s, to that time Tom Cruise tried to kill Oprah with lasers from his mind.

And, as those are pretty much the main distinguishing features of this Very Serious Religion About An Alien Called Xenu, it’s understandably been an easy target for mockery. Seinfeld had a cheeky dig at it in the ’90s. South Park based a whole episode around it. Cracked and Funny or Die have entire sections of their sites devoted to it.

After a while, this all petered out; it was probably a combination of the jokes being too easy and the stakes being too high. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were reportedly investigated by Scientologists for years after their controversial 2005 episode. And really: reaffirming the fact that Tom Cruise and John Travolta are a bit creepy, just ain’t worth that kind of fuss.

But now, following the recent release of Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, it’s all cranking back into gear. Filmmaker Alex Gibney and HBO hired 160 lawyers to back up their claims, and the methodical takedown of the church has been critically-acclaimed as a “jaw dropping expose”. Despite their appeals otherwise, it seems like Scientology is fair game again, and the US has come out all galactic laser guns blazing.

SNL Made A Glorious Fake Ad For “The Church Of Neurotology”

As great as those little labels are, some are a little too on point. Gibney’s documentary has since ignited a broader discussion about the many scandals not included in the film; some of which involve missing persons.

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Bleak.

Seth Meyers Reminded Everyone He Still Exists At Late Night

This week, Late Night — the one without Jimmy Fallon — snuck in a mention of scientology into a segment you’ve almost definitely never hard of called ‘Ya Burnt’.

If that was too brief for you, Meyers also tackled the issue more seriously a couple of weeks ago during an interview with the filmmaker Alex Gibney. Less lols, more worrying truths about tax exemptions and the boundaries between religion and business.

Letterman Was A Big Dork

Yes, David Letterman’s still around. No, he hasn’t seen Going Clear. Yes, he will still make dad jokes about it.

Funny Or Die Revealed The “Scientology-Approved” Version Of The Film

#BREAKING: “The coffee was just… okay.”

Even with all this, ten years and one Emmy nomination later, that episode of South Park seems hard to beat. Some things just don’t need to be satirised.

South_Park_Xenu

Going Clear will be released nationally from June 6.