Are Conservatives Funny?

Are Conservatives Funny?

Adrienne BoettingerFriday,21 November 2014

The Snap:

While listening to Terri Gross fawn endlessly over Jon Stewart I was struck by two thoughts. One: I wanna be Terri Gross and get to fawn all over Jon Stewart. How awesome would that be? Two: Who is the conservative Jon Stewart? I mean, is there one? Are there any conservative comedians that are actually funny? There are plenty of conservative TV shows that I find hilarious but those are primarily shows not intending to be funny. Okay, maybe not plenty, but it was hysterical hearing Megyn Kelly referring to the Fuckabee show. So are conservatives funny and if so why don’t any of them have their own TV shows?

The Download:

Okay, I know the title of this post is totally clickbait. It is idiotic, not to mention as elitist as Fox “News” thinks liberals to be, to assert that conservatives aren’t funny. Ben Stein, for example; he’s pretty funny and he was Nixon’s speechwriter. Bob Hope was friggin’ hilarious and I’ve laughed til I’ve cried at some of Leslie Nielsen’s work; they both leaned red. Even if it’s difficult to name a bunch of modern comedians or comic entertainers who are conservative, think of your personal life. Several of my family members are ragingly rightist and yet they are able to maintain fairly decent senses of humor.

The thing is: none of the people described above are conservative political satirists. Political satire and conservatism just doesn’t seem to mix. The few recent attempts at it are pretty awful. Fox “News” had a short-lived show, Half Hour News Hour, that purported itself to be the conservative answer to The Daily Show. The trouble is the network took out all the funny; the show’s writers have come forward to say that the network put a halt to anything humorous that was controversial and the show didn’t last.

Now there’s the Flipside, a show launched this past fall that seems to be available only on local access cable between Macramé for Your Cats and Your Colon and You. You can also view episodes online and I made the valiant effort to watch an entire episode with an open mind. It just wasn’t funny. There were some okay moments, like when Michael Loftus (the show’s host) was disparaging President Obama’s experience before taking up residence in the White House by saying, “Community organizer is one step away from professional babysitter.”

But most of it was just awful. Like the tired argument that conservatives are somehow more American than liberals. That came across when Loftus told his audience they need to help the country return to the magic of the Reagan years “because we’re Americans and we’re smarter than these idiots who think they are smarter than us.” Or denigrating Islam, a popular hobby of the rightist of the right. In a Jack Handy like bit called “Questions Without Answers” that said: “If Islam is a religion of peace, wouldn’t its extremists be extremely peaceful?”

The issue seems to be more that the right can’t laugh at itself. The right doesn’t attack the right. It’s just not done. But despite what the Becks and Hannitys of the world say, the left LOVES attacking the left (they just attack the right more consistently). Some of the funniest and most eviscerating critiques I’ve heard about President Obama have come from Jon Stewart.

The only way a conservative political satire would actually not suck would be if it was hosted on a channel that wasn’t rabidly conservative; the same holds true for liberal satire. The funny ones are on Comedy Central, HBO and a little on the major networks — not MSNBC or CNN. In the meantime, I fear my conservative brethren will just have to repeatedly watch this clip of Megyn Kelly.

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Hat Tips:

NPRWashington MonthlyThe AtlanticThe WeekFlipside, Image Credit: Flickr

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