That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

Hey all, sorry for skipping out on writing something up last week. I’ll try not to make a habit of it. As a result, tonight’s rant may be a little bit of old news, but it’s based off a thought that’s been irking me for a while. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two week, I’m sure you’ve heard about Stephen Colbert taking a little flak for referring to President Trump as nothing more than Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster.” Now, first and foremost, I really don’t care that the comment was made. In this country, we have the privilege to speak our minds, and if Colbert wants to make vulgar remarks about the president, he’s more than welcome to do so. However, at what point are “comedians” like Colbert and the rest of the late night hosts going to admit that their shtick isn’t being derived from wit or situational absurdity? At what point will they admit that their brand of “comedy” is being derived solely from hate?

I liked Colbert when he was on Comedy Central. I think his satirical portrayal of an ultra conservative commentator was pretty witty, and I’ll admit that when I first started watching the show, I thought he actually was a centrist who tended to lean a little more to the right. Back then, he’d mock the gaffes and screw ups of politicians on both sides of the aisle and it made for good television because he was showing how all of these establishment politicians were alike in their disconnect with the average American. However, as the show went on through the years, I noticed less and less jokes were being made about the left and more and more attacks were being launched against the right. Eventually, the show just became a giant GOP roast session. What happened to the man who wasn’t afraid to point out the flaws and hypocrisies of both parties? Why was one side suddenly elevated to a position of moral superiority while the other side became nothing more than a whipping boy? In my mind, if you’re a comedian, you shouldn’t be afraid to mock hypocrisy and plain lunacy, even if it’s spouted off by a person you hold in high regard. That’s just a missed joke, and in the world of comedy, that’s a terrible tragedy.

I look at Colbert and I start to think about some of his other cohorts on the various networks. We have Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, and I’m sure loads of other left-leaning comedians that I’ve failed to mention. I think of these names because like Colbert, all they do is spew Trump hate. That’s their whole routine. “Trump is a monster.” “Trump hates women.” “Trump is a Cheeto.” “Trump is in love with his daughter.” The audiences all respond with the same hysterical laughter and applause as if these hosts have told the funniest joke in the world. These aren’t jokes. They’re just insults. It’s not comedy. There’s no wit behind the roasts. Did these people even study why a joke is actually funny?

Some of the best roasts I’ve ever watched are funny because a flaw of the target is lampooned in a hyperbolic way. The comedian has thought of some witty way to inflate the flaw to such heights that you end up laughing simply based off of the absurdity of the exaggeration. This kind of humor, to me, is the best. It’s a way we can talk and cope with our own flaws simply by laughing at them and refusing to give them any more status in our lives than that of a mild annoyance. These late night hosts are not engaging in that kind of humor. Their one-liners are not based off of wit, but rather, the absolute loathing hatred they harbor for the president. Comedy based on hate can only get you so far because it is based off of anger and not the usual happy-go-lucky emotions associated with humor. Colbert’s comment wasn’t funny. I’m sure the audience laughed, but they have to every time the stupid sign in the studio tells them to laugh.

I really wish we could make comedy great again. Anything made by humanity has flaws because we as humans are flawed. When we cannot joke about those flaws, or worse, say one’s sides flaws are better or worse than the other side’s, we are not using humor as it should be used. Humor can truly unite people and change their world view into something positive. It should not be used to push agendas and make people hate each other. I feel like humor is one of the reasons why humanity has survived all these years. The world is tough and if you can’t laugh at everything equally, you’re just not going to make it.

If you don’t agree with my point, I can understand. Humor in itself is highly subjective. Maybe you love the jokes made by Colbert and the other late-night hosts. If that’s your cup of tea, so be it. I want no part of it. I think their humor is lazy and born from hate, and when I want to laugh, I don’t look to surly, overgrown crybabies to tell me why hating the president is funny.

I just hope these guys get some new material soon. I’ve heard this joke one too many times.