Comedians and Congress

The very astute and funny comedian Sarah Silverman said yesterday on a segment of The View, “Why is it we hold our comedians to a higher standard than our Congressional representatives?” She was responding to the trend for comedians to come under physical attack on stage and verbal abuse online. I want you to re-read the emboldened sentence of hers and let it sink in. Why, indeed?

If that is not enough to stew on, I want you to think of recent and not so recent comments by several members of Congress with names like Taylor-Greene, Cawthorn, Jordan, Gosar, Breitbart, Gohmer, Brooks, Gaetz et al. If that were not enough, fold in comments from folks like Senators Cruz, Paul. etc. Then we have the former president’s comments which take it to an even lower level.

These comedians make their living making fun of uncomfortable topics. Do they cross the line on occasion? Absolutely. Yet, we seem to vilify them more than we do for people who are supposed to represent our better angels as elected officials. I can disagree with a policy position of an elected official and that is OK. Yet, I want them to be respectful of the office they hold.

I disagree with Democrats and Republicans on various issues. I think some Democrats tend to forget we need to pay for things, e.g. But, the names I mention above are all Republican for a reason. They have a strident manner in dealing with opposing arguments. Name calling is not an argument. Parroting conspiracy theories is not an argument. Saying truly inane things does not make you more credible.

It is not ironic that the most touted leader in the world is a former comedian. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has stood up against the invasion of Russian troops and rallied his country against the onslaught. To be frank, Vladimir Putin did not count on that stance thinking he could steam roll Ukraine in three days. He could not have been more wrong.

When I watch shows that are news centered comedy discussions, the more astute guests tend to be comedians. To be able to make fun of something, you tend to have to know what it is and why it could be funny. In this same vein, one of the best news shows on TV is actually a comedy show – John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight.” Invariably, his writers will have an in-depth discussion on issues that do not get air time elsewhere such as predatory tele-evangelists, predatory lending, predatory court fees, et al. Other new sources have actually complimented their efforts.

Since comedians seem to be more knowledgeable, maybe we should do like sports teams do. When an elected official is obviously not up to the challenge, like in a sporting event, let’s just replace him or her with a comedian. In my view, we will be far better off.


28 thoughts on “Comedians and Congress

  1. Note to Readers: John Oliver learned from the best in Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” And, Trevor Noah has picked up the baton and others have gone on to create their own shows like Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee. Bill Maher is of the same ilk, although he can be a little smug at times. But, comedians or comedic actors like DL Hughley, George Lopez, Ashton Kuchar to name only a few, are quite knowledgeable about issues.

    • PS – Each of these folks can give thanks to comedians that came before them like Dick Gregory, George Carlin, Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Richard Klein, et al, who would wax on about political issues of the day. Gregory was famous for going on hunger strikes to focus people’s attention on lack of opportunities for African Americans.

  2. I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right … we do hold comedians to a much higher standard. Will Smith has been barred from the Academy Awards for … I believe it’s 10 years, for slapping Chris Rock, and it is said that he is becoming an outcast for the same reason. I’m not condoning what Smith did, but his punishment for a single slap is far more than the punishment of certain members of Congress you named, as well as a twice-impeached former president, for their roles in an attempted coup, for their lies, and for failing to uphold their oaths to this nation.

  3. Successful comedians are very intelligent people. Otherwise, their jokes would not be funny. So, it makes absolute sense to me that a comedian has become a serious and steadfast leader.
    Regarding overstepping a limit line… the worse the politicians are the more we need some hangdog humor I think…

  4. BRAVO! I heard Sarah say that, and it stopped me in my tracks. We have such an odd perception of intelligence in this country. Assuming that law degrees from Ivy League schools somehow make you a better person. I’m on board for comedians taking over DC. I nominate Jim Carey to get the ball rolling.

    • Roger, sadly it is true. When I see fervent religious folks speaking of the former president in the same breath as Jesus, it truly breaks my heart. WWJD, certainly not act like the former president. Keith

      • Quite so Keith
        One could certainly start a firestorm by using New Testament and Revelations to indicate that Trump is The Anti-Christ.
        You can imagine the response to that one.

      • It has to be said his recation to the presidential election of 2020 was one of the biggest tantrums ever.
        Though he always reminded me of that most truculent of teenagers on being told to clean up their room.
        Still, I must admit to a secret mischief to make my previous accusation just to annoy those folk who embrace religion with political ends
        and heaped praise on him.

      • Roger, people who heap praise on this person are not paying attention to the obvious. He divided us with his shallow ego and lies, he betrayed us by instigating an attack on a branch of government and he endangered us through his incompetent handling of COVID-19, without warning people of the danger. And, the list goes on. Keith

  5. This was a wonderful post, Keith. I’ve been carefully curating my list of people to vote for. But you have made it so much easier – vote for comedians. LOL. At least we’ll get a laugh, instead of all the fear, hate, and pain we’ve suffered the last bunch of years. What kind of topsy-turvy world do we live in where are comedians are held to higher standards than leaders of nations? (and all the Kardashians being at the met gala, is as big news as war in Ukraine?)

    • Rose, so very true. Thanks for your comment. Since we are the United States of Entertainment,” comedians as elected officials would be apropos. Comedian Al Franken was actually a well-informed Senator before he went brain dead filming his sexual humor. Men, too often, think with the wrong organ. Keith

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