COMEDIAN Matt Lucas’ belief in God “disappeared entirely” while he was filming for Comic Relief in Ethiopia.
The Little Britain star relates in Little Me: My Life From A-Z (Canongate, £20) about meeting an Ethiopian “wasting away from AIDS in a tiny hut, an image of Jesus on the wall, that I figured there were three possible answers to the big question of whether or not God exists.
“1. Yes, but he’s not very nice. 2. Yes, but he’s not very good at it. Like Aston Villa. 3. No.”
Lucas — whose family name was originally Solotsky — added: “And yet, despite being an atheist, I always look forward to Jewish holidays with the family and enjoy much of our rich culture.
“I love the feeling of being part of something. I’m not sure I’ve experienced anything else comparable to it.”
Despite his grandparents being Orthodox, when his parents Diana and John married, they joined a Reform synagogue.
Lucas, who was a member of Reform Synagogue Youth, said his early years revolved around the synagogue — Shabbat services, Hebrew classes on Sundays and Tuesdays, youth group on Sundays and cub scouts on Thursdays.
“Saturday morning services seemed to go on forever,” he writes, “and involved lots of standing up and then sitting back down again on hard wooden benches.
“My brother (Howard) and I would pass the time browsing the back of the siddur and chuckling at the funny names of the ancient rabbis whose lessons were quoted.”
Lucas has only visited Israel once, when he was six in 1980.
“Dad said that the Western Wall was the holiest place I’d ever visit and so I quietly kicked it, daring God to do his worst,” he writes.