As predicted, it’s a laugh a minute at the Ahmanson Theatre, with the body of actor Sean Hayes taken over by God in “An Act of God.”

The writer, David Javerbaum, who won 11 Emmy Awards for his work on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” proves his worth as blasphemer in chief, focusing his satirical barbs on the mayhem mankind has made of its relationship with the Almighty. It’s also been tailored to suit the Los Angeles audience, with a lot of show biz jokes.

Why Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”)? God asks and answers Himself. Well, “We’re both with William Morris,” just one of the countless one-liners that made the house roar.

One hilarious moment on opening night included God berating latecomers who were being seated more than a few minutes after the curtain rose. “El Nino traffic?” He sneers.

But as He tells us, like poor Don McLean, forever identified with the song “American Pie,” the Ten Commandments were never intended to define Him, so He’s back to reinvent and improve a new set of instructions for human behavior.

Hayes is exactly right for this role of the most irreverent God you’ll ever encounter. With the help of his “wing men” (yes, they do have wings), archangels Gabriel and Michael, God allows the audience to a few pointed questions. Not too challenging though; He has a way of getting around the answers.

He recounts that He needed “a break from eternity” (it got boring) and so he decided to “take a week out to create the Universe.” Day two: he makes “the firmament in the midst of the water. Slow day.” By day five: He creates the fish and the birds but His original game plan called for the birds to be in the sea and the fish to be in the sky. Asked “Did you not have a plan for the Universe?” He responds, “Yes but I’m not afraid to riff.”

While editing most of the existing commandments, two will remain: The first, “I am the Lord thy God … thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Well, as He points out, there was no one before Him!

And number 3 “Thou shalt not take my name in vain” is also a holdover. Of course it is: “I’m a brand! Bowing down and thanking me after making a touchdown cheapens the brand!”

Oh, and by the way, in referring to Jews, He says, “Celebrities are my chosen people. Of course, there’s a lot of overlap.” And, oh yeah, He’s not above engaging in celebrity “Godsip” – like laughing at “Lindsay Lohan enjoying penne ala vodka, without the penne.”

Of course politics plays into the rap-ture; for number 4 the revise is “Thou shalt separate me and state.” There is “no God-given right to guns, what part of the Bible does that appear in? The part with all the guns in it?”

And to those who claim that God has chosen them to run for office: “I don’t drop into the brains of right wing candidates telling them to run for President. Ted Cruz says ‘God loves me.’ No, I don’t!”

Number 5 now reads “Thou shalt not seek a personal relationship with me,” because He made mankind in his image and He is a self-declared “a**hole. There’s something seriously wrong with me!” He admits to having “wrath management issues,” given his mix of “incompetence and omniscience,” citing the Book of Job as funnier than “The Book of Mormon” to Him.

By the time we reach number 10, “Thou Shalt Believe in Thyself,” we get the idea. “Belief and faith are no excuse for abandoning reasonable, logical judgment.”

Sometimes it takes laughing at our foibles to understand the truth. “An Act of God” is at The Ahmanson Theatre through March 13 only. For tickets call (213) 972-4400 or reserve online at

Meet the Artist

Raymond Saunders started exhibiting his art the year I was born (no I won’t reveal that here!) and he made a name for himself in the 1960s, declaring in a pamphlet that “Black is a Color,” not a political, social or ideological burden on art. “Art,” he wrote,” projects beyond race and color, beyond America. It is universal, and Americans – black, white, or whatever – have no exclusive rights on it.”

Pittsburgh-born but California-based, Raymond Saunders’ work is abstract, often using collaged and found materials, and while he is a proponent of art as universal, his pieces often take into account the black urban experience.

He was a professor of painting at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, his work has been seen in numerous national and international gallery and museum solo and group exhibitions, and is part of many important collections.

You’ll have a chance to meet the artist this Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, also the home of the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. An exhibition dedicated to his recent works is on view now through March 26.

A reception for the artist takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. but if you get there early, you’ll be privileged to hear a gallery talk and take a walk-through with Saunders beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is free; for details and gallery information, call (310) 434-3434.

Image: “Untitled” mixed-media-on-panel paintings by Raymond Saunders.

Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also written features and reviews for various print and online publications.