Gab Bonesso is Catholic. She's also pro-abortion, makes jokes about her dead father and calls the Pope a Nazi --– all in the name of comedy.
"I definitely do a lot of material that a typical Catholic would find offensive," says Bonesso, a local comic and graduate of Duquesne University's theater-arts program.
Bonesso returns to her alma mater -- which happens to be a Catholic school -- for a show on Sat., April 4.
"People are surprised when I identify as Catholic because I say so many things challenging the Catholic Church," says Bonesso. "But that's why I wanted to go back to Duquesne. I do question my church in my material, and I think that students, especially, can identify with that."
Some more than others, perhaps: Bonesso says she's heard word of "some complaint letters about me coming there. ... I'm just going to do my thing and hope that nothing goes wrong."
John Lane, director of the school's theater-arts program, says that complaints have been limited to "one anonymous phone call" complaining about Bonesso's blog.
"We are excited and proud to have Gab come back," he adds.
And Bonesso says she hopes to show a different side of Catholicism. "You can somehow find a religious aspect in most of my stories," says Bonesso, "even things that are random and you think have nothing to do with God, I insert Him in there -- or Her, whoever.
"We're not all conservative, we're not all necessarily rich," adds Bonesso, who grew up in Robinson Township. "I do a bit about being an Italian Catholic and how that's different than being a regular Catholic. I think that ethnic Catholics are a lot different than some more modern, neo-Catholics who are rich and much more conservative."
Bonesso also recently took on a sidekick: Phineas the inflatable shark, voiced by retired Duquesne professor Jay Keenan.
"I've always had a thing for sharks," says Bonesso. "Jaws is one of my top-10 favorite movies of all time." On April 4, Phineas will join Bonesso in a scene from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
But her material isn't always so light. "My comedy is very real in the sense that I don't steer away from any topic, even if it's very dark and depressing," she says. "I do a lot of material about my deceased father, who passed away of cancer when I was in college."
Bonesso jokes that her father is a zombie living in her basement, brought back from the dead by her mother practicing Santeria.
"Most Catholics would be making the sign of the cross every time I make a joke about my deceased father," says Bonesso. "But that's just the way I deal with it.
"I don't worry about being seen as a good Catholic, because I know I'm Catholic and I know who I am," she adds. "But I know that people have a problem with the things that come out of my mouth."
Gab Bonesso 8 p.m. Duquesne University, Rockwell Hall, The Peter Mills Auditorium, 600 Forbes Ave., Downtown. $10 (free for Duquesne students, $5 other students). 412-849-9601 or gabbonesso.com