The Reverend Richard Coles says he was once reprimanded by the church after letting out a “bad word” on the panel show Have I Got News For You.
The broadcaster is trying his hand at stand-up comedy for Stand Up And Deliver, a new two-part series on Channel 4 in support of Stand Up To Cancer.
However, he said he would avoid foul language in his routines or risk disciplinary action, according to the Clergy Discipline Measure.
Speaking to Radio Times, he said: “I could be done under the terms of the clergy discipline measure. I once let out a bad word on Have I Got News For You. When I opened my email the next day, the first thing I saw was ‘Lambeth Palace complaint’. I’ve been a bit wary since.”
Coles’ sister-in-law died last year after contracting Covid-19 during treatment for cancer and in 2019 his civil partner, the Rev David Coles, who was also a priest, died after a long illness.
He said he was comfortable laughing when faced with an event such as the death of a loved one.
Explaining his reasons for joining the show, he said: “Well, as a vicar, of course I spend a lot of my time laughing in the face of death. It comes with the territory, and dark humour is good and cool.
“Also my sister-in-law died of cancer, and Covid, in the middle of all this… so being involved with Stand Up to Cancer is obviously a good thing.”
He added: “David’s dying was actually full of comedy, which made me and him laugh when he was in a fit state to appreciate what was going on.
“Medics, undertakers and clergy have a black sense of humour, but I’m not sure it’s something for public consumption.”
Coles has been paired with established comedian David Baddiel, who is mentoring and training him ahead of a special performance.
The five amateurs also include soap star Katie McGlynn and reality TV personality Curtis Pritchard.
Coles is a regular contributor to Have I Got News For You and has appeared in a number of episodes, although he did not say when he made the comment or what language he used.
The full interview is in Radio Times magazine, out now.