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The Jesus Chatline was an online webshow hosted by Richard Burnish and Steven Chilton that began broadcasting in 2011.[1] It was portrayed as a Christian talk-show with a central theme of promoting the Neon Bible, a supposedly revolutionary rewrite of the traditional Bible that was catered to modern audiences.

The earliest known broadcast of the Chatline was the Cinema Edition episode. Early broadcasts of the show were quite amateur and consisted of funny gags, such as the Funeral Edition and Prison Edition episodes. From Episode 1 onwards, the show adopted a more professional format, adapting a televangelist aesthetic including using generic Christian webshow music, title cards and advertisements. This format lasted until the final broadcast No Monetary Compensation.

Every broadcast consisted of the hosts interacting with anonymous callers on topics pertaining to Christianity, as well as joke segments such as the Children's Chatline. Over time, a number of recurring callers became well ingrained in the culture of the show, frequently calling in with unique personas much to the chagrin of its hosts.

While convincingly masquerading as a valid talk show about Christian beliefs and theology, in reality it was a satirical project poking fun at Christian culture. The show became infamous among 4chan and its /b/ board and both hosts would pay homage to the trolls in several of their after-shows.[2] Jesus Chatline was eventually succeeded by several shows now hosted solely by Chilton, the last of which was the redneck themed HaulinAss, which came to an end following Chilton's actor's death in late 2018.

Despite fading into obscurity since its end, the Jesus Chatline is still remembered by some. The show's parody of early home-grown streams preceded the rise of modern meme and streaming culture that has become incredibly popular in the west. To many of those who lived and participated in the culture of the Jesus Chatline, the show remains a pioneer of modern day satire and cynicism that's becoming more and more policed in the modern world, and is even seen as a relic of the golden age of 4chan's /b/ board.

The Jesus Chatline will be continued by The Ark, its spiritual successor. Richard Burnish will be reprising his role as its host.

Trivia

  • The unofficial themes of the Chatline were Thunderstruck by ACDC, likely a reference to the song's use in the Cinema Edition episode. The introductions of the older episodes start with an amateur acoustic guitar cover of the song, which was performed by Richard during an aftershow.[3] Also used to open later episodes was the opening organ notes of Intervention by Arcade Fire.[4] The hosts would usually cut off the song before the lyrics began.[5] This song was also used in the first teaser trailers for The Ark.

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9UTWUO8tBA
  2. https://youtu.be/WZzWSO-bK8w?t=141
  3. https://youtu.be/wrG6suRlJHQ
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7UtxUlpEP0
  5. https://youtu.be/peoMFbkeEL8
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