Atheist sitcom creators win big in ‘No God But Funny’ contest

To challenge the negative stereotypes of atheists as heartless, hopeless or just plain evil in popular entertainment, talented freethinkers were asked to create a sitcom featuring a lovable atheist lead character for the “No God But Funny” contest, sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Center for Inquiry. Judges with expertise in comedy and television have chosen the winning entries.

Contestants were asked to “contribute to the downfall of civilization” by submitting either a 22-minute teleplay script for a prize of $15,000 or a fully produced 3- to 15-minute “webisode” for a prize of $25,000.

Winners in the teleplay category are Rachel Lewis and Daniel Beecher of Salt Lake City for their script “Thank God I’m Atheist,” in which two young atheists in love, Holly and Matt, are about to be married but have to contend with Holly’s devoutly Mormon parents, who have very different plans for them. When Holly worries about coming out to her parents, Matt tells her, “It’s not going to kill them. I’m thinking three days in a hospital, tops.”
The winner in the webisode category is John Dardis of Los Angeles for “Earth Angel,” a self-discovery story of a witty young woman named Angel who, on her 18th birthday, must find a way to come out as an atheist to her quirky and very religious family — on Christmas Day no less!

“Even in 2015, atheists are still too often pigeonholed as the ‘other’ — people that Americans don’t want to vote for and don’t want their kids to marry, due in large part to the way we’re portrayed in TV and movies,” said contest creator Pamela Koslyn. “But we’re convinced that finding creative ways to present atheists as charming, funny and warm will help to break old stereotypes and usher in greater social acceptance and legal rights for the nonreligious. That’s what we want to begin to make happen with this contest, and the results have been fantastic.”

Entries were judged comedians Paul Provenza and Steve Hill, writer and producer Barbara Romen, magician Max Maven and actor/ writer Rich Fulcher.

“Earth Angel” was screened Aug. 26 before an audience at the Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles, where Dardis received his prize.

Check out the complete script for “Thank God I’m Atheist”:
Watch “Earth Angel” on YouTube:

Freedom From Religion Foundation