In case it has gone unnoticed, comedy has gone evangelical. The comedic activist has permeated the holiest of holies, big government, to help the elected shape the message. The message being we live in a reality of our own making, mistakes are not our own, there is nothing to see here and it’s Bush’s fault.
Artists who used to unite for Gilda’s Club now machinate with NGOs such as 350.org to excoriate climate change deniers and fundraise for non-profits like LivingLiberally.org to mobilize “First Amendment enthusiasts to try their hands at the Second.”
Activists clamor at the Netroots Nation and the National Media Reform conferences to absorb dictates from the “Shifting Culture Through Storytelling, Media Making and Collaboration” breakout sessions and panels on “Satire and Progressive Politics – the use of comedy to advance a progressive agenda.” It’s a regular cornucopia of talk to the hand, I mean, talk to the angry, clinched fist types. Very funny.
The satirist and the cynic have always been in our midst to remind polite society of its hypocrisies. Now as activists, they collude with the elected to strategize tactical assaults on the different-minded.
The comedic artist who once portrayed the world honestly through the gentle sting of chastisement has given way to the activist who scores points solely through jokes predicated on hate and divisiveness.
No longer does the comic workshop routines with fellow writers and tweak bits live before not-ready-for-primetime audiences for the sake of getting laughs. The comedic activist ruminates about a falsified reality. Their intent, like any loyal Alinskyite, is to ridicule a world in which they believe they are occupied malcontents.
To laugh at Sarah Silverman’s ‘Quickie Aborsh’ you have to accept her reality that we live in a time when unplanned pregnancies are fixed in the back of dark alleys. To laugh at Louis C.K.’s tweets about assaulting the former governor of Alaska, you have to accept his reality that it is white, conservative men who oppress the rights of women.
Perhaps it is time to become reacquainted with the comedic art form and the artists who reflected an honest portrayal of reality; a reality in which not every Republican is racist and not every priest a pedophile.
One could estimate that half the country still lives under the illusion that America is still a force for good and objective truth still exists. “They may be illusions, but they are powerful illusions.”
Though no conservative ideologues by any means, perhaps it is time to revisit Brooks and Reiner and their 2000 Year Old Man or to download the telephone monologues of Newhart and Berman or to pull up the befuddlements of Eckels from The Goon Show or the onomatopoeic punctuations of Borge – if only to get a taste of comedic honesty and textured subtleties.
But that’s just me. I prefer the days when laughter used to be the shortest distance between two people.