After the 2016 election, many liberals were forced to look inward. Many tuned in to the voices that have become some of the most trusted in politics against all odds.
They went to HBO, Comedy Central or TBS to find a sort of catharsis and understanding of what had just occurred. In the past, they just went to Jon Stewart, but now political satire shows are popping up in droves.
We have Samantha Bee, the unfiltered firebrand, John Oliver with his comedic breakdowns of downright frightening prospects for the world and we have “Veep,” a show that feels ridiculous in some situations, but also feels like any given thing could very well happen to higher ups in Washington.
The number of comedians and platforms tackling political issues isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As wonderful as Stewart is, there could always be more voices on this topic, and in all honesty, the jokes have been writing themselves for the past two years. While the fruit is most certainly hanging low, it does not mean satire and mocking is the way to go about things, especially in regard to the voters.
One of many faults the Democrats have had for a long time was the appearance of being arrogant, though it is likely better to be considered arrogant than racist, as many on the right have demonstrated in their actions.
Maybe this isn’t a label the Democrats feel they need to shed, and that’s fine. Arrogance is often misconstrued as being correct and knowing it, and that’s where the major issue with political comedy lies. Though it is an informative and engaging medium for the most part, the effects are only positive if you’re of a certain mindset.
The importance of political comedy to the left is clear: it offers a pseudo break from the world where one can (hopefully) chuckle about the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in.
But this current era of political comedy lends some truth to the “smug liberal” stereotype. This leaves liberals in a particularly sticky spot. Do they aspire to hit hard on those who made a horrible, horrible choice with their vote but don’t see it that way and probably never will? These are the types of people who are instantly turned off by political comedy. It can be a form of catharsis, but it’s tough to use in arguments if one is truly trying to find common ground with someone that is on the complete opposite side of things.
Political comedy allows people to laugh at things that probably shouldn’t necessarily be laughed at, but also at things that are so ridiculous they could and probably have been plot lines on “Veep.” It takes the edge off even for a couple minutes, right before being serious at times to truly drive home the importance of the issues and being engaged.
It’s not all fun and games on these shows. More often than not there’s a greater point to be made, and without the Jon Stewarts, Sam Bees, Hasan Minhajs, Larry Wilmores and John Olivers of the world, it would be a whole lot scarier.