Where are the conservative comedians?

22 Dec

Driving to work today I heard about how Jon Stewart single handedly got republicans to finally give 9/11 first responders health care, after almost a decade of telling them no. I was thinking how great it was that we have guys like Stewart and the republicans have people like Rush Limbaugh , then it hit me: conservatives don’t really have any political comedians. Why is that?

Conservatives rule the radio waves and utterly fail when it comes to comedy. Liberals fail on the radio, but are the kings of comedy. Why is that? Why is it that the format of radio works better for conservatives whereas the format of comedy and satire work best for liberals?

I think the answer is obvious, short, and blunt: Conservatives are blow-hards.

Ya, ya, not all conservatives are blow-hards. I know plenty who are very nice people, but as a general rule, the majority of them have a stick up their ass and are so authoritarian they don’t understand satire. The format of an overweight pill popping bigot screaming into his microphone about gays, feminists, blacks, and the ALCU straight to an eager audience of drones waiting for instructions  works perfectly for the conservative message of conformity, order, and respect for authority. It doesn’t work so well for people who are trying to step back from the world and examine the absurdity of what’s happening.

Political humor is great for that, for taking deadly serious issues and pulling us out of that serious mindset so we can really see what’s going on. Stopping, thinking, and making jokes at authority’s expense is antithetical to the conservative mindset of “march in line.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there are no conservatives who are comedians, being conservative doesn’t prevent you from having a sense of humor, but there aren’t any conservative political comedians. I think being a conservative comedian really limits your act as well. If you’re conservative, you’re probably also concerned about the “family image” and thus tend to keep your act on child friendly topics. Conservative comedians tend to avoid not only politics, but issues like sex and religion. Sure you can still be funny without mentioning those topics, but it really cuts out a huge chunk of what it is to be an adult. Sex, politics, religion, and swearing are adult issues. Adults want to hear things that are relevant to their lives. We get coddled and sheltered as children; part of being an adult is coming to terms with those issues and dealing with them. I can’t help but feel that the conservatives who are made uneasy by such things are stuck in an immature state.

Instead of trying to elaborate further, I think it’s only appropriate to let a comedian get my point across. Here’s Lewis Black on conservatives and humor:

5 Responses to “Where are the conservative comedians?”

  1. greengeekgirl December 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    I love Lewis Black so much. So, so much.

  2. Puddingpie January 26, 2011 at 3:58 am #

    I watch Remy Munasifi (GoRemy on Youtube) who occasionally makes fun of government waste and bureaucracy. You don’t have to be a blowhard to find that shit hilarious.

    I’m not a conservative, but I imagine there’s plenty on the left to make fun of: political correctness, environmentalists, Hollywood liberals, proselytizing vegetarians, liberal arts colleges, modern art, knowing what’s best for poor people, moral relativism…

    Everyone, both on the left and on the right, are full of shit. Making fun of that is a comedian’s job and absolutely doesn’t preclude, “Stopping, thinking, and making jokes at authority’s expense” no matter what side you’re on.

  3. godlesspaladin January 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to imply that there is nothing on the left to joke, there’s plenty. Obama’s one of the biggest examples, and I know liberal comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert call the left on their bullshit just as fast as they call the right, I was just noting that while there are not zero conservative political comedians, there is a very noticeable imbalance.

    I think it might also have something to do with how conservatives tend to be older generation white people. The young, hip, dynamic crowd is very decidedly liberal. You won’t find too many conservatives in preforming arts because, as a general trend, most conservatives seem to feel art is a waste of time and money that could be better spent on defense. (When’s the last time you saw a liberal legislative body at any level demanding that funding to the arts be cut?)

  4. Puddingpie January 27, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    I don’t think that because someone doesn’t support arts funding that they don’t like arts. They’re very separate things. Like the LA Opera borrowed $14 million from the local government after it went into debt putting on the Ring Cycle. $14 million! What else could you be doing with $!4 million?

    I resent the idea of the government being able to spend other people’s money to dictate what’s culturally valuable. A fundamental tenet of conservative thinking is that people as individuals make their own choices. I’m not a conservative, but it’s not a principle I disagree with. If an art production can’t survive on ticket sales and private donations, then maybe it should cut back or die. For comparison, the Washington National Opera put on the exact same production, but eliminated costumes and staging, to be relatively fiscally responsible without compromising the core musical integrity.

    Yes, it’s unethical to let essential services rely on the free market, because in my opinion, simple human dignity demands it. Essential services like police protection, schooling, sanitation, and health care. But the opera? It’s not like art will cease to exist without funding. People will always draw, sing, dance, rhyme, write…. without spending $14 million in taxpayer money. Maybe “high art” won’t exist. But why is the government responsible for deciding?

    (Wow, that was an unexpectedly long rant.)

    I also think the idea that old white people hate art is ridiculous too. For example, they’re the demographic that is single-handedly supporting classical music. Everyone likes art. IMHO, it’s a universal human characteristic. Maybe *the* defining human characteristic.

    I get into big yelling matches with my culturally conservative parents about what art should be. We disagree (loudly!) but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid or uncultured people. For me, art is a new way of understanding the world, even if it’s offensive or vulgar or confrontational, which is what I believe fundamentally marks me as a social liberal. For them, the purpose of art is to be transcendentally beautiful, or instill virtue. These purposes are at odds, and will influence what you gain from any particular work of art. Acting and comedy, in particular, tend to appeal to my art philosophy but not theirs. Nobody, conservative or liberal, thinks art is a “waste of time”. I think it’s derogatory to simplify conservatism like that, rather than have a constructive dialogue on what art means to different people.

  5. godlesspaladin January 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Hmmmm…. Those are good points and now I’m kind of stumped… Nice work. 🙂

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