Does Humor Have a Liberal Bias?

Lori Day meditates on the apparent exclusivity of the left in mainstream political comedy.

I know this may come off a tad polarizing, but I think liberal male comedians are funny as hell and they have no equals on the other side of the aisle. I stand a greater chance of seeing Russia from my house than spotting a genuinely funny conservative comedian anywhere in the continental United States.

There are so many hilarious liberal comedians. Think of the perpetually baffled Jon Stewart with his sharp tongue and soft heart; the slyly satirical Stephen Colbert masquerading as a conservative to dish up a heaping serving of irony; the smirky genius of Bill Maher, who never worries about being popular; enraged and frustrated Lewis Black, always on the verge of a primal scream; politically savvy Chris Rock, who takes no prisoners when it comes to issues of race; and the late George Carlin, who had the greatest gift on Earth for cutting through BS.

The list is endless.

But where oh where are the conservative political comedians? Rush? NO. Glenn Beck? GOD NO. Bill O’Reilly? SAME ANSWER. Fox News? YES—but they aren’t trying to be funny.

The current GOP candidates are drop-dead funny, but they also aren’t trying to be. They’re the manna from heaven that falls into the laps of left-wing talk show hosts who have the easiest job in the world these days.

I knew that I needed to do my homework and get out of my own media silo because there must be some amusing Republican comedians out there that I just don’t know about. I decided to consult The Google. While I believe that notable conservative comedians must exist, I swear, searching online for them was like trying to find Bigfoot. I scrolled through link after link, but the deeper into the pages I went, the more obvious it became that I was unlikely to find any big names.

The most entertaining thing about the whole process was that well before I came upon any links to obscure right-wing comedians, I had to get through a whole bunch of Google queries that asked some version of “Why aren’t there any conservative comedians?” I realized quite a lot of people were wondering the same thing as me. Most of them sounded completely flummoxed.

So all this got me thinking. Why don’t there seem to be many well-known Republican comedians, and why are they entirely absent in Tea Party Land? The Dems have Jon Stewart and the GOP has … Rush Limbaugh?

Just noticing something here. Stewart is on television, and Limbaugh is on radio. There seems to be a left/right pattern along these lines. Why do conservatives dominate the airwaves, while liberals are masters of evening television comedy?

I think it’s because radio format is just perfect for yelling into a microphone and ranting about Muslims, gays, feminists, blacks, immigrants, the ACLU, baby killers, and scientists. It’s an equally ideal medium for the legions of right-wing acolytes awaiting instructions on how to think and who to hate. So maybe this is all hilarious if you get a chuckle out of material such as, oh, frothing-at-the-mouth racism or sexism, but I like to think better of most conservatives.

Over here on the left, this twilight zone of radio twaddle is not such a great medium for those who prefer to observe the world on their own terms and use humor to explore—and survive—the absurd.

♦◊♦

While full of its own brand of nonsense, liberal political humor is whip-smart, satirical, and self-deprecating. Liberal comedians understand that laughter helps turn the pressure valve just a little bit clockwise. And it had better be all of these things for those of us attempting to cope sanely with today’s political circus.

As Keith Olbermann says at the end of each of his evening talk shows, “Congratulations on surviving another day of this crap.” No, congratulations to you, Keith, for helping us survive it with your witty, intelligent, respectful relationship with your audience, who, like you, don’t suffer fools lightly. Thank you for not talking down to us or propagating bigotry. Thank you for being so goddamn funny when today’s political world isn’t. And thank you Current TV for hosting Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Who said Al Gore didn’t have a sense of humor?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there are no conservatives who are funny or have an appreciation for humor. Of course there are. I just don’t see them using it publicly.

(On a side note, I’ve recently acquired more Facebook friends back in the red state of my birth than I had actual friends when I was in school there, and lots of them lean right. OK, so their teabagger rants often make me hide or unfriend them, but hey, at least they’re funny!)

Although there are not many conservative comedians who are well known in mainstream America, Dennis Miller just came to mind. He was a Democrat back in the days of SNL, but he is now the conservative go-to guy for Fox News when they want an infusion of comedy beyond what they are already providing their viewers through their interchangeable cast of blond spokesactresses and anchormodels, and the occasional talkingmustache. Miller, although a famous face, has decidedly lost his edge, if he ever even was that funny. And I seriously can’t think of any other conservative comedians who are household names.

Here’s the thing: there are tons of liberal issues that might make excellent comedic fodder for conservatives if they could put aside the need for red-faced screaming apoplexy in their radio studios and lighten up a bit. For example, they may feel that workers having collective bargaining rights is a crime against humanity—and that topic certainly lends itself to radio show tirades—but how many more conservative voters might be reached with a humorous look at unions? I take that back. I never said it. Never mind.

Please allow me to leave you with the best example of liberal humor I’ve encountered this year. The thirteen seconds from 8:38 to 8:51 did almost kill me, leaving me kicking, convulsing, and hypoxic in the fetal position on the floor. That image is on the house—you’re welcome.

After a workout like that, I survived the crap of another day, and so can you.

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About Lori Day

Lori Day is an educational psychologist and consultant with Lori Day Consulting in Concord, MA, having worked previously in the field of education for over 25 years in public schools, private schools, and at the college level. She writes and blogs about parenting, education, children, gender, media, and pop culture. You can connect with Lori on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Comments

  1. That’s pretty funny – I actually had the exact same thought just the other day (about the lack of conservative comedians). I’ll grant you that South Park does get in lots of hilarious jabs at liberals, but they bash everyone equally. :D

    If you’re not familiar with him, I’d like to add Andy Borowitz to the list of hilarious liberal comedians. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook etc. which is pretty much where he became prominent. Just genius one liners.

  2. I’ve been saying for weeks that my favorite new show this season is the weekly GOP debate. But, as you say, they are not actually trying to be funny. Too bad. They are so damn good at it.

    George Carlin, despite a few flaws, remains my all time favorite comedian/modern day philosopher and I am happy to say my oldest son went off to college with several Carlin books in tow (along with a little Jon Stewart). I recently read “To be a good comic, you have to be pretty intelligent.” so….make of that what you will.

    • The GOP gets “funnier” every day. For example, Newt is now very funny in a Dickensian way, if that is not an oxymoron.

  3. Lori, I had never wondered about why there aren’t more (any) conservative comedians, but of course you’re right! They only manage to be unintentionally funny. I just want to know: why aren’t Stewart and Colbert running for office? I’d vote from them any day over any of these clowns. I’m serious!

  4. Not mostly a live performer, but P J O’Rourke is a pretty funny writer on the right, so the thing is at least possible.
    I rarely agree with him, but I usually enjoy reading him.

  5. Tom Matlack says:

    Great piece Lori. I agree with you and admit to being a regular viewer of Real Time, Daily Show, and Chelsea (not sure her political view but she does talk about gays and drugs a lot).

    The one thing I would like to add is that there are lot and lots of liberals with absolutely NO sense of humor. I grew up in a house full of them. Whenever politics becomes religion, whether on the right or the left, we are all in for a lot of trouble.

    • Saw Chelsea doing live stand up a few years ago and have read her books. Love/hate thing with her. In terms of there being no humor in liberal families where politics = religion, agree with you, but must state that growing up liberal in the civil rights era south with almost all relatives being conservative was no barrel of laughs either. :-)

  6. The pop-psychology articles I’ve read on humor suggest that it usually relies on double meanings, sudden twists, and other acts of mental flexibility. Perhaps those traits are more common among shades-of-gray liberal thinkers than among conservatives–though, of course, there are always numerous exceptions.

  7. Funny, here I was thinking the GOP has been kidding us all for years. You mean to tell me they really believe the nonsense they are spewing?

    • LOL… I honestly can’t figure that out. I think some of these Tea Party idiots DO actually believe it!

      • natureartist says:

        Since I am one of those tea party idiots, you leftists so like to lampoon, I notice the left consistently has a sense of humor but mostly when it is insulting someone else. Your intolerance of others’ opinions is biblical, in its proportion. It amazes me how little humor you have when others are pointing out how silly and absurd you can be at times. But somehow we conservatives are humorless because we don’t embrace your insults with laughs and giggles.

        • Mark Ellis says:

          Case in point, the disrespect shown candidate Michele Bachmann by Jimmy Fallon’s house band. Calling a guest a bitch because you disagree with her politics. Nice. If this was done to Mrs. Obama or Hillary Clinton, the feminists would be up in arms. The bias is so blatant it is not even worth mentioning anymore, everyone gets that this is how it works.

          Liberal comedians are funnier, no newsflash there. But don’t forget, the entertainment field is dominated by left-of-center decision-makers. If there was a hysterically funny (intentionally) conservative, how far would they get.

          • Mark, what happened on the Jimmy Fallon show was absolutely horrible. I completely agree. Inexcusable. But you’ll notice how sincere and complete the apology was, unlike some apologies we hear these days. And you ask what would have happened if it were Michelle Obama. Are you unaware of what Rush Limbaugh did the next day? When discussing her on his radio show, he intro’d her with that godawful sexist song “Baby’s Got Back.” Class act that Rush Limbaugh. I don’t recall a sincere apology or any apology at all.

            • Yeah, that,s the lefts new tatic. Throw out the insult, get your cheap laughs from your fellow lefties, then issue a “sincere” apology. Like Fallon has no idea what his band is going to play. I do believe they have these things called “Production Meetings” so everyone involved with the show is on the same page. Imean, Iwas born at 7:30 at night, but it wasen’t last night!

            • Mark Ellis says:

              I take your point, Lori, and I agree that Fallon’s apology came across as sincere. II won’t stop watching his show just because I respect Ms. Bachmann. The distinction I would make is that Rush is a hyper-partisan political commentator, and everybody knows that. If a liberal was to enter his lair–though Limbaugh is not the best example because his show is host-driven–they would know what they’re getting into. Bachmann only thought she was appearing on a late night comedy show, and thus was blindsided. Fallon can scathe on Bachmann and others all he wants in his comedic bits, I have no problem with that, but it is a comedy show, not part of the political arena. If you invite a person on the show it is the executive producer and the host’s responsibility to ensure the guest is not unduly insulted to their face, whatever their politics.

          • natureartist says:

            There is a place for very funny conservatives in comedy who spout conservative beliefs. A lot of it is in the form of talk radio. To a conservative, much of what is said on conservative talk radio is very funny. However, to a liberal, it is not funny at all, and we are suppose to understand that this has nothing to do with their lack of a sense of humor. Conversely, we conservatives are labeled as humorless because we don’t embrace the liberal bias in humor as funny. Apparently their lack of humor when listening to us make fun of what they believe in, is excusable and understandable. They still get to label themselves as funny people. When conservatives respond in kind, we just have no sense of humor. I guess liberals, in addition to a monopoly on compassion, have a monopoly on humor. Now that’s funny!

  8. Interesting point you brought up…I probably wouldn’t have thought of it unless I was a conservative. Good article!

  9. Mike Nicholson says:

    Does Humour Have a Liberal Bias? My immediate reaction is emphatically “NO”. Of course before answering the question we need to define ‘humour’ – it can vary in people’s minds from making other folk look small to cynicism to sarcasm to wit etc. For my money the Liberal/Left is adept at criticising through sarcasm and cynicism but has completely lost the ability to laugh at itself. The puffed up self-important mythical moral high ground occupied by the Liberals runs counter to humour. For me the best humour is apolitical – Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Ken Dodd etc are truly funny. Of all the means of generating laughter genuine wit has my vote

    • “For my money the Liberal/Left is adept at criticising through sarcasm and cynicism but has completely lost the ability to laugh at itself.”

      I agree with the first part of the sentence but totally disagree with the second part. The liberal comedians I watch are incredibly self-deprecating and make fun of themselves all the time. If they didn’t, they would just be obnoxious. The fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously is one of the biggest aspects of their brilliance.

      • Mike Nicholson says:

        Guess we will have to beg to differ. The Left has never understood that satire does not = humour.

      • Really Lori, come on! You really think Keith Olberman does’nt take himself seriously? As for Dennis Miller, while I’m dissappointed with his appearances on Fox, I recently saw his standup routine and I thought he’s as funny as ever.He’s said that only because heis somewhat known can he come “out” as a conservitive. It seems in tinseltown you either follow liberal dogma or your career is D.O.A. Therefore less well known performers must “stay in the closet”. It’s ironic that a belief called “Liberalism” should be so intolerant of others who feel differently.

        • No, it’s the free market that determines who is funny. Conservatives ain’t. The Invisible hand has pointed.

          • It’s never been up to the”Free Market” in hollywood. In the 50′s, people were blackballed for being alleged “Communist Sympathizers”. Now people are blackballed for being conservative or Republicians.

  10. Mike Nicholson says:

    Indeed the title of this debate focuses on: “the apparent exclusivity of the left in mainstream political comedy”. Well ‘political comedy’ whatever that means .(probably satire) does not equate to humour. Give me Reagan’s humour any day over that of Kerry and Mondale – to name but two!

    • I’ll take Jon Stewart’s lampooning Herman Cain for being a moron any time over Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro”.

      • OMG, I know, it is so reprehensible. Must shut my mouth right now before I type 2000 words!!

        • I don’t like Rush for several reasons, in particular his punitive, dark ages stance on the “War on Drugs”, highlighted by his hypocrisy. I do like Stewart and Colbert for their ability to laugh at absurdity across the political spectrum even if, I as a libertarian, often disagree with them. I also find South Park, King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Family Guy funny for the same reason (the latter two created by self-proclaimed liberals, the former two by what could best be described as libertarian-leaning independents).

          I cannot say that Rush is not funny, though. I haven’t listened to him for a long time, so I had to look up Barack the Magic Negro, and it is downright hilarious. It seems many liberals turn into finger wagging scolds at the slightest hint of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. as fast as religious conservatives do when it comes to sex or “dirty” words. Believe it or not, you can laugh at the stereotypes about a group of people without hating people in that group, and without wanting to violate or eliminate anyone’s civil rights.

    • http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/satire

      Satire:

      “The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

      • I think one of the reasons you overlooked is that conservitives believe in everyones right to an opinion. Even if it’s in dissagreement with theirs. “How about Rush Limbaugh” you say? For every Rush Linbaugh ther’s an Al Frankin (I personally don’t find either entertaining). No, Liberalism requires total orthordoxy and all other opinions must be ridiculed to extinction

    • wellokaythen says:

      I’m a pretty dedicated liberal, and I have to admit Kerry is not the most captivating personality. “My face is drooping with enthusiasm,” as one impersonator put it.

  11. wellokaythen says:

    My politics are pretty liberal, but I do enjoy listening to and reading what George Will has to say. Okay, so it’s very dry and esoteric sometimes, and he’s not really a comedian, and I disagree with a lot of his assumptions, but he has a keen wit. And, even as a liberal I’d rather hear an articulate conservative than a “talking points” kind of liberal.

    Bill Maher is hard to categorize in terms of liberal and conservative. He says he tends to vote Democrat because he prefers people bribed by the ACLU to people bribed by the NRA. He’s more of a “pox on both your houses” kind of commentator.

    It’s hard to tell from the SNL news crew if they have an overwhelming liberal bias. I tend to think they lean slightly left but take on all political absurdities all across the spectrum.

    I do think that in American politics the liberal side has a little more room for uncertainty and nuance and the idea that there may be more than one right answer. I tend to associate the right with the idea of certainty, ideological purity, only one way to do something, and more focus on absolutes. Liberals say that liberals are more open-minded, while conservatives argue that liberals are mushy-headed and inconsistent. I know I’m biased, but I have the impression that liberals are better able to make fun of themselves than conservatives are, which opens up many more opportunities for humor.

    • “… I have the impression that liberals are better able to make fun of themselves than conservatives are, which opens up many more opportunities for humor.”

      I think that’s key.

      • natureartist says:

        Lori, I hate to have to be the bearer of bad news. But I have never met a bunch of people who will not tolerate humor directed at them as liberals. The first thing out of liberals’ mouths is that those directing humor at them are hateful and intolerant. We conservatives have a much thicker skin, becauase we have had our opinions and positions ridiculed and made fun of for as long as I have lived. I am 57, and I have never known it to be any other way. Ever try being a conservative, and listen to hollywood make fun of you to roaring laughter at every popular event? I grew up with it. Talk radio was all liberal when I was in my youth. I grew up in Boston. My beliefs and principles impuned and ridiculed as though I was some sort of pervert just for believing in conservative principles, all put upon me from those who obviously believe themselves to be virtuous and oh so caring. I had to sit there and take it when groups of so called friends threw insults and laughte at my beliefs without knowing I was one of “those stupid people”.I just smiled and took it. I don’t any more. And believe me, it hurt me to think people who I thought to be kind and compassionate, could act so ugly at times, displaying the same intolerance, they were complaining about. I am happy to laugh at myself. I have had to learn to, just to survive at times. I have the thick skin to prove it. But in my older years, I have decided it isn’t worth laughing at something that isn’t funny any more. I call it as I see it.

        • Tolerance, respect, and esteem. Some ideas are not worthy of respect or esteem.

          If they were truly ‘intolerant’ then they would kill you for having those beliefs.

          • natureartist says:

            Could you please specify which conservative ideas you believe deserve no respect? Please be specific in your description. I would like to know what opinions of mine are worthy of my having to spend the rest of my days burning in hell. Please help me get my mind right so I can be a person worthy of respect. I need some help from an “expert”.

            • damefrancesbacon says:

              If we’re talking about social conservative ideas, I would say that the idea that we should control the most personal aspects of a person’s life like sexual practices is leaves a lot to be desired, in terms of tolerance and respect. It just so happens that most conservative values (not getting into pure fiscal conservatism) are derived from outdated and superstitious beliefs (Am I really a lower life form because I kissed another girl?) And before you argue that conservatives aren’t trying to control homosexual practices, do a quick Google search on how many (and which) states still outlaw sodomy (if it weren’t for Lawrence v. Texas) and same-sex marriage. It’s rather deplorable and leaves a lot to be respected.

            • natureartist says:

              I am a die hard conservative, and I hang in conservative circles. Social issues never come up in conversation. Most conservatives I know, don’t even go to church. I couldn’t care less about what somebody does in their bedroom, and abortion is barely on my radar. I never want to see it outlawed. But the intolerance that I have to bear from liberals just for being a fiscal conservative is enough for them to treat me like I am some kind of moron. That is intolerance!

              For much of my younger life, I never talked politics at all. Had friends that I socialized with, and they always liked my company. Then one day, I decided to state my conservative FISCAL principles, and you would think I was caught molesting a child. One so called friend declared me unfit to socialize with anymore. Any chance she got, she would throw a dig at me that was hurtful. I tried to continue to be cordial, but eventually gave up. I didn’t change and become ugly, she did.

              How about having a friend that you were never political with, then you invite her to your wedding. She accepts quite happily. I am excitedly talking about marrying a Naval Officer, and he will be in uniform. I then get from her “I hate the military and I will not come to your wedding, because I wouldn’t be caught dead going to a military wedding.” I kid you not. Turns out she was one of your tolerant liberal friends. Oh by the way the friend in the previous paragraph also let it out of the bag that she also “hates the military.” Oh but my husband is okay. I guess that is suppose to make me feel good.

              Don’t lecture me about intolerance. These are just two examples, I have plenty more.

  12. I can’t tell if this is cause or effect, but I think social and cultural conservatives are less likely to go to comedy clubs or watch stand-up comedy. They would look at what passes for humor in much of pop culture and would find much of it distasteful. (They have that in common with many on the far left.) I suspect they are more likely to be old-fashioned in terms of protocol, more likely to “be good” when talking about other people, because God is watching, etc. Let’s just put the stereotype front and center – Ned Flanders would not be a good comedian.

    They are politically a little less likely to make jokes about their elected leaders even if the elected leader is a liberal – “hate the man but respect the office” is right up there with “love the sinner, hate the sin”….

    It’s remarkable how many conservatives go on Stewart and Colbert and are just not prepared to be made fun of. I’m convinced some of them think that Colbert is a sincere fellow conservative.

    • “Let’s just put the stereotype front and center – Ned Flanders would not be a good comedian.”

      Cracking up!!!

      “I’m convinced some of them think that Colbert is a sincere fellow conservative.”

      Still laughing! Reminds me of a favorite Internet Rule, “Poe’s Law”: Poe’s law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an Internet adage reflecting the fact that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism.

      • I’ve hadn’t heard of Poe’s Law, but it makes a lot of sense to me. There are abundant examples on this site on a daily basis….

  13. Mike Nicholson says:

    To understand the humour base of the Left, it might be helpful to consider its thinking. In broad terms the Left is keen to, and adept at, giving away other people’s money – usually as a vote catching measure. Second, the Left rejoices in criticism rather than construction. These two pillars of Left thinking determine its so called humour. That humour follows a dismally regular pattern of mockery, satire, belittlement (of achievers in particular) and sarcasm. The Left deserves Mr Kerry

    • …and your comment is unfunny yet another tidbit of evidence conservatives have no sense of humor. Keep choking that chicken.

  14. Lara O'Brien says:

    did you ever consider that if you do not agree with the “liberal comedians”, you might not think they are sooooo funny, as you apparently do. So liberals are smarter, and now apparently, funnier than conservatives. Why do you compare Rush Limbaugh to Jon Stewart. One is a comedian and the other is a talk show host, clearly not the same thing. Compare Rush to Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow, doubt you find them too funny. BTW, you might think Dennis Miller was funny if you didn’t think his views were so DUMB!

  15. First, there are a handful of conservative funny-men, someone already mentioned George Will, and I think Ben Stein also deserves an honorable mention, particularly for his books.

    Second, it seems fairly obvious why there are almost no conservative humorists: liberals have become very adept at labeling conservative beliefs as “offensive.” In this piece alone, the author casually labels conservative radio as racist, sexist, and anti-muslim.

    As someone who usually disagrees with liberals, I can assure everyone that frothing-at-the-mouth liberals are just as offensive as conservatives. The difference is that conservatives are not very good at labeling them as offensive. As a concrete example: it was extremely offensive for Amanda Marcotte to continue to insist that the Duke Lacrosse players were rapists fully years after they had been cleared. But, there is no word to describe this kind of obvious prejudice, and so she is free to produce “humorous” snark, while conservatives commentators get stuck with labels like racist or sexist.

    Just to throw some more examples out: it’s okay to make fun of Christians for their beliefs, but if you make fun of Islam, suddenly it’s offensive. It’s okay to make fun of someone with conservative sexual morals, but if you make fun of someone for promoting promiscuity, suddenly it’s offensive. It’s okay to make fun the culture of white or Asian people (Christian Lander has made a career out of it, and the “Asian Dad” meme passed without comment), but if you make fun of black or Latino culture, suddenly it’s offensive.

    Basically, Liberals have successfully cordoned off their beliefs as things that are “offensive” to make fun of, resulting in a shortage of conservative comedians.

    • “Second, it seems fairly obvious why there are almost no conservative humorists: liberals have become very adept at labeling conservative beliefs as “offensive.”

      And of course this goes equally both ways and is why our government is totally gridlocked. So this thread has finally gone in the direction I anticipated, which is fine! We all have our political views.

      I’d just add here that this piece is satire, written about satire, i.e. a humorous look at politics and political humor from a self-confessed liberal as a contribution to a series on humor. In other words, this is comedy! Everyone has their own views on what is funny and what isn’t–makes the world go ’round! :-)

    • Mike Nicholson says:

      Great stuff and well argued

    • Mike, you said pretty much exactly what I wanted to write.

    • natureartist says:

      George Will is funny? I have been a conservative all my life. I never thought of him as funny. Maybe I am just missing something. I will have to listen to him more often.
      I think that there are probably many funny conservative comedians. I would bet that they just don’t want anyone to know that they are conservative. That kind of thing can destroy a pop culture artists’ career. Personally, I think Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz are hilarious. But putting them aside. Adam Sandler who has been outed as a conservative is quite funny as well. How about Ron White, and Larry the Cable guy? These guys can’t get a laugh out of a liberal? If liberals cannot laugh at these guys, they have a very selective sense of humor.

  16. Mike Nicholson says:

    Should have said – Mike, Great stuff and well argued!

  17. I’m very sympathetic to environmentalism and to social justice activism, but I have definitely met environmentalists and activists who had no sense of humor. Many of them have wonderful senses of humor, but some of them are the equivalent of leftist fundamentalists. The political spectrum is like a horseshoe — the further to the left and right you go, the more the extremists resemble each other.

    • “The political spectrum is like a horseshoe — the further to the left and right you go, the more the extremists resemble each other.”

      Totally!

  18. Interesting article. I know it was a bit tongue-in-check, but it made me think a bit. And, I have to admit I used to be a conservative when I was young and naive. And, at the time, Bill O’Reilly was a comedian to me. He always had a smile and pointed out the ‘absurd’. Jon Stewart does just that, too. For that matter, Colbert is of course a satirical version of Bill being waaay too conservative. I think it’s the same part of the brain getting stimulated.

  19. MorgainePendragon says:

    I think it’s important to recognise that there’s a difference between a comedian and a humourist. Will James, Mark Twain, James Thurber, etc, were humourists– they used satire and humour to analyse US American society. Dick Gregory, also, although categorised as a comedian, is much more a social critic/humourist to my thinking.

    What the writer HERE is talking about is comedians (although I suppose it could be argued that Stewart, at least, has crossed the line to humourist). Except that all comedians are humourists, whereas all humourists are not comedians.

    There ARE satirical and humourist writers/commentators to the right of the spectrum– several listed here, although I would say that none of them comes close to William Buckley. Although I disagreed almost 100% with his politics, he was one of the few who could make me laugh at some of the absurdities of my own side– and there are, admittedly, quite a few.

    Which also brings me to the topic of absurdist humour, which is much more satire than overt comedy– and yet in European culture (particularly societies from the former Communist Bloc) has been the lifeblood of many a challenge to the status quo.

    Finally, I’d also like to comment on the dearth of women comedians over the last 20 years. The 70s and 80s spawned some wonderful women comics: Gilda Radner, Rita Rudner, Elaine Boozler, Paula Poundstone. Also, I can hardly name any black women comedians, except for the indomitable Wanda Sykes.

  20. What is really funny is that feminists lack a sense of humor.

  21. AnonymousDog says:

    Is it that there are no conservative comedians, or is it that the channels of comedic commerce (or anyway, those who control those channels)favor liberal comedy?

    What would be the reception of a conservative comedian at the typical comedy club where comedians tend to get their start? What is the likelihood that the powers-that-be in television would put a truly conservative comedian on the air?

  22. The sad truth is pointing out liberal foibles isn’t funny, it’s depressing.

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