A conference is attempting an academic feat that, to some, is akin to trying to prove pi repeats. They’re trying to show that the Bible’s pretty funny, actually.
To me, this actually makes complete sense. When you’re the underdog, the victim of persecution (in this case Romans), one of the best weapons you have is satire and being funny. It’s only once you become establishment do you tend to become humorless. It’s no wonder that the conference, entitled “Laughter and Comedy in Ancient Christianity” focuses on the early days, where, apparently, parodies of Adam and St. Peter were appreciated, and not feared.
Of course, there are some, like Brad Stine, who are trying to connect comedy and modern Christianity (of the evangelical variety yet) as reported by the New Yorker. Interestingly, a comic like Stine has arose at a time when evangelicals claim they feel persecuted by Hollywood, activist judges, etc., etc. Do people only attempt comedy when they think they’re getting kicked in the face?