After the passing of billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and activist David Koch, host of HBO’s “Real Time” Bill Maher viciously celebrated Koch’s death, and even hoped that it was “painful.” As a result, Maher was understandably the target of widespread condemnation from the political Right.
Supporters of Maher deflected criticism in one of two ways. The first was to cite Maher’s “freedom of speech.” This tactic is often used by political actors to defend controversial statements without having to actually justify their validity, even though it is clear that just because we have the right to say something doesn’t mean that we should say something, or that it is moral to do so.
While the illogical nature of the “First Amendment” retort is quite clear, we should be wary of the more surreptitious second method of deflection applied by a growing class of Leftist “Late Night” talk show hosts. Figures such as Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver have all built their careers upon the supposed bridge between political commentary and comedy, claiming to work in both the political and comedic realms in order provide amusing and deeply insightful political analysis.
In reality, they exist primarily in the political domain, peddling fairly ignorant hot-takes to their adoring (and often equally ignorant) audiences. Instead of “laughter,” true comedy is progressively sacrificed in favor of the far simpler pursuit of “clapter.” Deep and complex political issues are boiled down to bite-size and vapid one-liners, with the need for evidence or explanation obfuscated by lazy quips, silly faces, or irrelevant analogies.
When any political ignorance or comedic sparsity is revealed, these hosts flee from the arena of political debate and cower behind their alleged status as comedians. This strategy is applied time after time without question or protest, thereby leaving characters like Bill Maher unchallenged to continue to spew non-comedic and inaccurate political garbage.
The issue these hosts face is that the political and comedic domains are largely mutually exclusive. You can have political commentators who are occasionally amusing, and you can have comedians who are occasionally politically insightful. However, if you choose to permanently present yourself as a political analyst, you must be willing to expose your opinions to objective scrutiny. Comedians who refuse to defend the validity of their shallow arguments prove that they are false members of the political sphere.
While they attempt to occupy space in both the political and comedic domains, the fact is that they often do not have the political honesty or deep understanding required to be taken seriously as political commentators alone. Rather than entering the world of political punditry on their own merits, they abuse the relaxed nature of comedy to deliver a political narrative hidden within a Trojan Horse of laughter and applause.
The problem for conservatives is that the political battlefield has become inextricably linked with the cultural battlefield, and the political Left have hijacked vast swathes of popular culture to wield as tools of indoctrination. The parasite of Leftism has latched on to “Late Night” talk shows, with the quality of comedy declining as the claws of unabated radicalism dig deeper. The laughter and applause of audiences in search of ideological confirmation ensure that they remain blind to the complete inaccuracy or immorality of the Leftist talking points being fed to them night after night.
For this reason, it’s absolutely crucial that conservatives identify the danger of the oxymoronic “political comedian” and continue to push back against the Left’s stranglehold on popular culture. Unless we are able to weaken the Left’s grip on such an influential ideological outlet, audiences will continue to be fooled by the assumption of moral and political superiority inexplicably provided by comedy.
“It’s funny because it’s true?” Instead, the Left is ushering in the era of “It’s true because it’s funny.”