Are Liberals Really Better at Comedy?

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Tue, Aug 11 - 9:00 am EDT | 2 years ago by
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    Riposte Modernism - Funny Liberals

    Last week, Jon Stewart hosted his final episode of The Daily Show. You know, I think even if you aren’t a liberal, you have to acknowledge that his commercial and entertainment success was because he was good at being funny.

    He was more than funny, he was often very good at striking out at politicians’ crappy behavior. But if you’re not a liberal progressive, it’s pretty hard to actually admire that, because it seemed like he consistently struck and struck hard against the right, but played softball with his own side.

    Progressives loved him because he was really good at attacking exactly the people they wanted attacked, and no one else. Certainly not their own.

    Only Watches Jon Stewart
    Source: Meme Generator

    Of course, there was also this basic problem:

    The Jon Stewart Dissonance
    Source: Twitter

    Stewart was good at kvetching about how awful politicians were, but he never seemed to get that government itself might be a problem. Mind you, he could only do that because he always pretended that everything about big government would work perfectly if only those evil right-wingers would get out of the way. When you think about it, that’s what socialists have been using for their excuse since forever.

    With Stewart leaving, there was a lot of talk on the interwebs about how much funnier liberals are than conservatives. You might have seen some smug articles that set up the board by comparing Jon Stewart to the likes of Jeff Foxworthy and then concluding that conservatives are just more defective. It must just be that they’re so dumb they can’t do good funnies, right?

    But is this true? I think there’s a couple of reasons why this is actually total crap.

    First, these articles like to pretend that because some liberal comedians are funny, that means all liberals are funny; and because their straw-men right-wing comedians like Foxworthy aren’t as funny, that means no conservatives are funny. But that’s nonsense. Funny comedians are funny. That’s it. You’re not funny just because you agree with what a funny person is saying. “Funny” is something individuals do, you don’t get to take collective credit for it. In that sense, being funny is pretty much the ultimate rebuttal of liberal collectivism. You can’t make humor by consensus.

    In fact, a lot of liberals are ridiculously anti-funny. So much that they’ll attack even mostly-liberal comedians if they dare to cross that line into saying anything that goes against the liberal hive-mind.

    Bill Maher, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld are all basically liberal. Maher is more liberal than Chris Rock and both are more liberal than Seinfeld, but they all spend more time making fun of conservative ideas than they do liberal ones. And yet all three of them, three of the funniest comedians in show business by most accounts, agree that it’s impossible for a comedian to say anything funny on liberal college campuses.

    When they all agree that college-liberals have become little fascists who are so politically correct that they’re literally making comedy impossible, it’s pretty much a closed case.

    Did liberals hear this and take it as a sign they’d gone too far? Of course not! They doubled down on being unfunny, with attacks on the actually funny people for daring to disagree with them. Like some 20-year-old college genius who decided his liberal arts education meant he knew better than Jerry Seinfeld, and should give him some #leftsplaining about how to do comedy “correctly.” Jerry Freaking Seinfeld!

    So here’s what Bill Maher had to say about that:

     

    Second: liberals always want to present guys like Jon Stewart as the perfect example of a liberal comedian but “redneck” comedians like Larry the Cable Guy as the best example of a conservative comedian. They pretend that there are no right-wing comedians who’ll dare to be transgressive, which is a major part of what’s funny in our culture. That’s because liberals like to pretend that all conservatives are social conservatives. They intentionally ignore the libertarians, even though a lot of the funniest comedians are social libertarians.

    Progressive comedians like Jon Stewart self-censor. They can be really funny when they attack conservatives, but when they try to talk about anything liberal they aren’t any funnier than those guys on the redneck comedy circuit. But libertarian comedians aren’t scared of offending anyone, they’ll go after anything that moves.

    The best comedy is based on saying things that are uncomfortable but true. Those things we all ignore, or those things that the Collective has said we’re not supposed to think are funny. The stuff we all usually have to be fake about, that you have to pretend to agree with in order to be considered “proper.” The greatest comedians are the ones who aren’t proper.

    That’s why when someone asked Louis C.K. (a comedian the Left loves) who he thinks the funniest comedian alive is, he said it was Doug Stanhope.

    In case you’ve never heard of him, Doug Stanhope really is amazingly hilarious, and he’s a crazy rude libertarian that spares no one.

    (Warning: Definitely not safe for work!)

     

     

    (If you like those, there are a few more here, here and here that you might like.)

    Finally, even though The Daily Show was definitely a big success, it’s not even the biggest success on the Comedy Network. I think liberals need reminding that Jon Stewart’s show is only the second-longest running show on that channel.

    The longest one? It’s South Park. Yeah, the show created by a couple of libertarian guys that mocks anyone that wants to try to tell you to “respect their authoritah.”

     

    South Park is just as funny as The Daily Show, and more free. And not only that, it’s actually done more to change the political landscape in America. If you really need me to explain why, I’ll do that in a future article.

    Jon Stewart Photo by Brad Barket / Getty Images

    Kasimir Urbanski doesn’t write on a specific subject; he’s EveryJoe’s resident maniac-at-large. A recovering Humanities academic and world-traveler, he now lives in South America and is a researcher of fringe religion, eastern philosophy, and esoteric consciousness-expansion. In his spare time he writes tabletop RPGs, and blogs about them at therpgpundit.blogspot.com.

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      • http://qiwigames.com/ TheQiwiMan

        Excellent article, very well written.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Thanks!

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      • Raubgraf

        Your argumentation loses and wins me in an almost tidal pattern. The part about “funny is funny” is a winner. However, you lose me the moment you pit liberals against libertarians. If libertarians fall under the umbrella of conservative in your example, the argument becomes moot. Another point of criticism is the way in which you throw the words progressive and liberal around. I think many of the better comedians lean liberal, while some of the worst are progressive. I am also not quite sure what your criteria for being better at funny is. Being able to dish it out into all directions (see South Park) regardless of your bias? But funny is just funny, isn’t it?

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Funny is funny. I acknowledge that. But I go on to point out that one of the things that makes comedy work is a willingness to transgress against the little lies we’ve all been told we have to pretend are true. In the old days, the source of these social lies used to more often be the parish priest or the baptist minister. These days, it tends to be the online Cultural Studies major. Not willing to cross those means you have objectively less potential to be funny.
          Libertarian comedians tend to have the most range to be funny because they don’t give a crap about respecting the little lies on either side. And libertarians fall under the ‘umbrella of conservative’ because they are explicitly against the kind of thought-control that either old-school Marxists or new school Identity-politics fans demand of people. There are also some more ‘classical liberal’ type comedians (like Bill Maher) who refuse to play that game also, but they are largely a dying breed. They don’t get to perform at universities anymore either.

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