Authorities Relieved To Hear Church Fires Were Joke

Pictured: the hilarity of church fires.

Local and state officials in Alabama breathed a sigh of relief earlier today, when the three college students being held in connection with starting a string of church fires in the state revealed that it was all "a joke that got out of hand".

"I was afraid there was some kind of malicious intent present, but fortunately, these fires were done for the sake of humor," said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. "And you know something? It was a pretty good attempt."

"Ohhh, the churches were on fire, and it was a joke," said one church leader. "Haha. That's not bad."

The students, who were originally going to be tried for nine counts of arson and idiocyson, are now likely going to receive a full pardon.

"If there's one thing we don't want to do, it's stopping people from laughing at Alabama," said U.S. Attorney Alice Martin. "These boys are doing their state proud, and I don't think anyone wants to see me try and throw them in jail because of their sense of humor."

The students' razor-sharp wit has not escaped Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live, who is considering commissioning the boys for work on the show.

"We could really use something funny on the show," he said, "and my gut instinct is telling me these church fires are it."

The incident leaves America with a telling impression of U.S. colleges: although education may not be a top priority for many students, important social skills and intellectual concepts are naturally picked up on campus.

"This kind of work simply could not have been done by those possessing a mere high school diploma or GED," said Catherine Evans, education analyst. "Clearly, college in America is working beyond beer parties and childish fraternity pranks."

Birmingham-Southern College, the school attended by the boys, has said it is pleased with their initiative and spirit.

"These three students really went above and beyond what's normally expected of college kids," said college president David Pollick. "As we send kids like these out into the future, ready to one day take care of us when we are old and decrepit, we feel confident that we will be in good hands... good funny hands!"

Even prior to the disclosure that the fires were a joke, the boys were considered tremendously intelligent; when questioned, they claimed that fires following the initial fires were set "as a diversion to throw investigators off", a tactic that impressed local police.

"My boys were pretty confused when the new fires sprang up," admitted police chief Enus Lanley. "In fact, we had begun to formulate a theory that the fires were not really fires at all, but earthquakes. Those boys threw us for a loop somethin' fierce."

"If they weren't so committed to the field of comedy, I'd say there's a spot on the force for all three of 'em," he said admiringly.

As for what's next for the three, no one can guess, although Internet rumors suggest a savage gay-beating joke may be in the works.

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