Commentary: Politics have come for comedy

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Commentary: Politics have come for comedy

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Justin Ha, Staff Writer

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In the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election in 2017, there was a series of Saturday Night Live skits about the debates that rapidly grew in popularity.

After each debate, there was sure to be a skit poking fun at the candidates in front of millions of viewers.

The first few skits grew into a dozen and then a few more each week, until all of a sudden the political skits were running rampant across the web. And then Trump was sworn in.

That’s when it began.

Trump is everywhere. That is all anyone talks about. It is Trump mania, and the comedians of the world are more than happy to capitalize on the insanity of it all.

It was funny at first, but as 2019 comes to an end, the ceaseless jokes about the commander in chief and politics in general has left a bad taste in our mouths, leaving us to ask – is comedy too political?

The main problem is the oversaturation.

It is nothing new for shows like SNL to talk about current events. It makes sense – comedy is linked to shared experiences, and the whole world is collectively turning their eyes toward the White House.

The only problem is that there is just too much news in our comedy now.

It was funny at first, but the repeated gafs of politicians have stalled and made us question if late-night comedy is dictated by whatever Trump tweets next.”

— Justin Ha

Nobody wants to hear Stephen Colbert rip into Trump for the 100th time.

It was funny at first, but the repeated gafs of politicians have stalled and made us question if late-night comedy is dictated by whatever Trump tweets next.

Almost 100% of Colbert’s monologues in the past three months have been about politics, even though the late show is not supposed to act as a news source.

Just look at the number of political comedy shows that have gotten their start since Trump’s rise to power.

“Full Frontal,” with Samantha Bee, “Patriot Act,” with Hasan Minahj, “The Jim Jefferies Show,” and the “Opposition,” just to name a few, have all gotten their start thanks to the tempestuous political climate.

When did it become OK for the main source of news to be SNL?

Maybe it’s OK for Seth Meyers to talk about Trump’s hair, but I would say his brand should not be in the business of joking about kids in cages or the latest shooting.

Comedy should be an escape from our everyday lives and an opportunity to take shelter from the outside world with the comfort of humor.

But some people would rather put their remote down feeling depressed rather than laughing.

There is a reason why Stephen Colbert is flourishing while the less-political Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel) are struggling to keep up, even though Americans seem to have favorable opinions about the latter.

The edgy humor is attractive, and viewers are more likely to watch the controversial comedy than something that makes them smile.

Personally I feel like a lot of people watch political comedy to keep up with trends and news rather than to have a pleasant viewing experience, which has caused witty comedy to morph into soulless news.

The hysteria the Trump train has left in our culture is changing what we watch and how we spend our time.

Viewers seem unable to turn their attention from the seductive nature of political humor and it is hurting comedy as a whole.

It seems like no matter how hard comedians try, they can’t outrun the news cycle.

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