Why they ask: Can The Daily Show, comedy survive Obama?

On the same day that many mainstream media outlets, and even the new media mainstreamers, were asking if The Daily Show and comedy could survive an Obama administration, they also reported on what kind of puppy the Obamas would bring with them to the White House. Irony is alive and well, people! The old adage says there is no such thing as a stupid question, but this week proves once again that the media is quite apt at asking the lazy and idiotic questions.

Here is a roundup of some reports from Thursday, in which New York magazine and Politico both asked if The Daily Show could continue bringing the funny now that Barack Obama is replacing George W. Bush. The Hollywood Reporter also brings a similar report from the Wednesday night political humor panel at the New York Comedy Festival. The questions are moot. Anyone who watches The Daily Show and The Colbert Report know that their main focus is, and always has been, on mocking the media. Colbert’s alter-ego exists as long as Bill O’Reilly and self-centered broadcasters like him continue to exist. And Jon Stewart’s show and correspondents only ceded some ground to Bush/Cheney in recent years because their propaganda machine had become a must-mock. So. Why does the media overlook this, even when they reported on the Obama puppy question as if it was an issue of equal importance to, oh, say, our rising unemployment crisis and the recession and our ongoing wars? Because it’s easy. Because it’s lazy. Because an editor’s knees jerk in reaction to eight years of nonsense and wonders what do we do now that we have elected a leader who actually inspires confidence?

Similarly, a Boston Globe story last month tried to posit that comedy as a whole is liberal, going to college professors for proof of such. Right. As if it’s an academic question. The fact that right-wing attempts at comedy (see: FOX News 1/2 Hour News Hour or the recent box-office flop, An American Carol) fail is not because they are conservatives, but because they fail at one of the basic tenants of humor — making sure the audience likes you and is on your side, which is tougher to do when you are the haves making fun of the have-nots. It’s something Chris Rock talks about onstage this past year, and in his HBO special, Kill the Messenger. Fat people can joke about skinny bitches, the poor can take down the rich, but if it’s the other way around, that’s just what a bully does. Are bullies funny? Would you like to see the King and Queen put on a show about how silly the oppressed villagers are? That’s not how it was in the olden times. Rather, the Jester made fun of the privileged as well as the masses (particularly if they were from another kingdom), in front of the royal court.

Related: Gawker turns to comedian Jordan Carlos for tips on making fun of Obama.

After the jump, a couple of post-election clips from Comedy Central…

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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