How Comedy Impacts Political Views

Comedy and politics are a complementary duo. Most late-night TV hosts, such as Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, all come from a comedic background. In 1974, Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford impression on “Saturday Night Live” engaged its audience in important political discourse.
Most political satire like the jokes found on “Saturday Night Live” or “The Daily Show,” are left-leaning, but a 2010 study shows that there is a political balance. “A 2010 study, for example, performed over an eight-month period, recorded every political joke told about a political figure on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late during their respective presidential tenures.” “The Daily Show,” though often viewed as liberal-leaning, does a good job of checking both the conservative-leaning and liberal-leaning media.
In an article published by the Inquiries Journal, author Matthew Popkin notes the significance of “The Daily Show’s” satirical content: “The Daily Show has evolved into a social, political, and media satirical commentary show that is becoming a ‘check’ on the accountability of the political process and major news networks. The media often are thought of as a check on the government.”
Well-crafted satire, such as that found on “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show,” can leave viewers feeling more informed than they do when relying upon traditional media sources. These shows, along with most late-night political satire, center around comedic value versus informational value. They blur the lines between entertainment and current events. Political satire offers a more palatable perspective on serious issues and events. A comedic lens for politics offers a more accessible gateway to understanding current issues and makes politics, as a whole, more interesting to understand. Political satire should serve as an example of a more creative format in which the news can be presented.

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