In today’s times it seems that the only group that can actually talk about politics intelligently is comedians. Politicians want/have to lie to their voters so they will stay in office. They have to cozy up with many people they do not actually agree with. They basically have to watch very carefully what they say in their position (unless it’s Donald Trump it seems). Ordinary citizens usually do not bring up politics in casual conversation. It’s not polite and can get very heated very fast. When politics is brought up said argument ensues and it becomes more about who can win a verbal argument with clever comebacks than an actual enlightening discussion on truth and understanding.
But comedians are different. Comedians have a captive audience that has paid to come see the comedian. They most likely are familiar and think the comedian is funny. The audience doesn’t speak back at the comedian save for a few boos or cheers. So the comedian has much more freedom than the politician or normal citizen to talk about subjects that are normally taboo.
Much of what is funny in life is everyday occurrences seen through a deeper perspective than most people have. Many comedians have grown up using comedy to help them deal with the hardships of life. Politics are often used to try to address many hardships in life. So it’s no coincidence that the two often coincide.
I used to be a delivery driver. I had a lot of time in my van driving around. So I often listened to podcasts. One of the podcasts I listened to was the Joe Rogan experience. Joe Rogan is sportscaster for MMA as well as a comedian. Now I disagree with a lot of his views. I’m not a fan of the cussing or disrespect towards Christianity. But there’s a lot of things I agree with him about.
He’s a liberal, but he’s not for the liberal agenda of being overly soft and cuddly to protect people’s feelings. Often comedy can be offensive, sometimes for good, sometimes not. But sometimes people need to be offended. Other times things are not offensive that people take offensively. What I appreciate about him the most though is that he brings in many guests into the studio, both ones he agrees with, and ones he does not agree with. Some of his guests include: Ben Shapiro, Neil Degrass Tyson, Jordan Peterson, Alex Jones, Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, Bernie Sanders, and too many more to list! America needs more of bringing individuals of differing beliefs together to have a friendly discussion.
I also have to confess that I have watched some of Dave Chapelle’s comedy stints. He’s very funny, but he’s also insightful. He has some very interesting things to say about race, political relations in America, and other things.
While there are toxic comedians who are getting cheap laughs by throwing barbs, there is some good comedy out there that is exploring political issues in ways we cannot find elsewhere. Comedy’s ability to lower people’s defenses and help them understand an issue through laughter goes a long way. I hope we can take note of this and build upon it in the future.
(Originally published in the newspaper The Hespirian Beacon on 11/5/19)