Negotiations between Hollywood writers and their employers have been at a standstill for several weeks. The writers’ strike won’t affect most prime-time programs for some time since studios have enough material in the hopper to get them through the season. The strike has, however, affected daily shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. It should be noted that Late Night with Conan O’Brien is one of the few programs paying its support staff while the Writers' Guild haggles over their right to first class airfare. (See Jennsylvania.com for a succinct viewpoint from a working-class writer.)
The strike has led the programs of media darlings Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to rely on reruns. Given that they have cable shows with mediocre ratings by prime-time standards, it’s peculiar that they would be mentioned in nearly every article about the writers’ strike. The fact that they use writers should come as a shock to many people since we have to endure the mainstream media’s multiple orgasms over the brilliance of Stewart and Colbert. Perhaps the real writers are on to something. If I were one of them, I would strike, too.
Truthfully, I was once a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. One of my favorite political lines comes from Jon Stewart’s satirical explanation of why gay marriage is wrong. To paraphrase: Marriage is sacred because in America marriage is meant to be between a man and the woman the audience chooses for him.
I realize that there’s nothing more fatal to a joke than explaining it, but I’ll labor on. Stewart and Colbert (or their writers, rather) are at their funniest when the jokes have a grain of truth. Even conservatives can agree that the “marriage is sacred” line is funny when juxtaposed with pop culture realities. However, as Stewart and Colbert became more popular with the media elite, their shows’ goal shifted from entertaining apathetic college kids to recycling the Left’s tired method of arguing with conservatives (Hypocrite! Racist! Homophobe! Christian!).
Liberals like Colbert and Stewart gather media accolades on the intelligence and intricacies of their satire while conservative writers like Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn get blank stares and hoity toity sniffles when they make jokes. Last week I had the pleasure of seeing both of them in action. Steyn spoke at a CAMERA-sponsored event in Philadelphia and Coulter spoke at the National Journalism Center’s 30th Anniversary. Unfortunately, I could only watch the latter on C-SPAN.
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