There's Nothing Funny about Democrats
A recent Saturday Night Live skit on Obama has been called a lampoon, but in reality, it was more like an excuse for liberalism's shortcomings. The skit implies that the American people place a higher priority on entertainment than on the tough issues that face the country, and because of that, we have not given the president the political power he needs to solve the latter.
This skit drives home the point that comedians seem to find nothing funny about Democrats. They are almost never the target of jokes. On the other hand, there is practically a whole industry of comedy and satire aimed at conservatives. To illustrate my point, I have included many hypertext links; check them out.
Shows like Saturday Night Live have been lampooning conservatives since Gerald Ford (he was depicted as clumsy, forever tripping and stumbling around). Remember how Reagan was depicted as an old, absent-minded, simplistic, trigger-happy, uncaring B-movie actor, or an evil, diabolical mastermind? More recently, late-night talk shows, sitcoms, and stand-up comedians can't get enough of targeting conservatives. Situation comedies are so laced with anti-conservative humor that they are practically propaganda.
In recent times, recall how comedians portrayed Bush an ignorant, racist, saber-rattling, uncaring frat-boy-turned-cowboy with blood on his hands? Who hasn't seen a sketch where Dick Cheney, Bob Dole, Sarah Palin, or Dan Quayle was put though the comedic meat-grinder for the sake of a laugh? As this clip clearly shows, mainstream comedians can't get enough of denigrating Sarah Palin. And it's difficult to keep up with the Letterman jokes about her.
Stand-up comedians have been making jokes about conservatives for decades. But as far as Carter, Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, and Obama are concerned, the humor community can't seem to find a single thread of truth from which a joke can be woven. For them, there's nothing funny about Democrats. Any jokes they do make are almost complimentary. They don't attack the target's character; they simply make gentle fun of some characteristic or idiosyncrasy.
The fact of the matter is that the reason why comics only make fun of conservatives is because liberalism is the piper that must be paid in order to work in the humor community. After all, liberals run pop culture in this country.
Comedians aim their jokes at conservatives in order to discredit the conservative movement and gain favor with the powers that be. They will not joke about liberalism because they dare not take the chance that someone might actually question their loyalty. Comedians are stone-cold serious about doing no harm to liberalism. Joking about liberals is the third rail of the comedy business. If they were to step off the reservation, they'd probably be out of a job.
The jokes about conservatives are not just about being funny; they're also about intimating that conservatives are flawed. The root of most of the jokes is a negative personal quality, such as stupidity, racism, sexism, or elitism. Consider the oft-seen sketch whose theme is that Bush is an idiot, oblivious to the havoc that his hare-brained schemes are causing. Or remember when Dan Quayle was portrayed as an ignorant, immature, inexperienced youth, by no means ready to serve in the White House?
Contrast this with the humor of Bob Hope back in the '60s and '70s. Hope made good-hearted jokes that did not insult the politician; he used playful and respectful jokes whose goal was to elicit a laugh based on a personality that everyone was familiar with, not to point out character flaws under the veil of humor. Remember when he would present each of the latest college football stars on his specials with a custom joke? Hope could tell a joke about a public figure who was in his audience, and the target would laugh along with the audience. How often do contemporary comedians do that with conservatives?
So the next time someone says that there is no cultural bias against conservatives, ask him to try to recall a joke or sketch in the mainstream entertainment industry that targets a Democrat. And if he can, is it lighthearted or denigrating?
Chris W. Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.