Glenn Loury has a new episode talking with comedians at a comedy club about what can and cannot be said in this society, and if comedy offers an opportunity that is not available to others. It is a promising idea, but I gave up on it quickly. It is a matter of audience. Who goes to comedy clubs? Disproportionately young, hip, single, or at least without children. As I am still in a mode of watching comedians, that is what I see when the audience is shown. Also drunk and out for a good-time evening. That is going to skew strongly liberal. Dry Bar is a bit older.
I could tell immediately as Glenn started that the topics he was bringing up were jarring to those people. A few of the comedians seemed ready to tackle some of them and whether comedy would be possible, but the discomfort in the air was palpable. They were quick to say that few or no topics were off-limits in comedy, but when they leaped in - one especially - it was clear that they couldn't quite imagine how jokes could be told about these things. She thought that the comedian only learned what was over the line by working the audience. Yet look at who is going to be her audience. It's not a representative sample of the society. Not that we should protest that or deplore it in anyway, it's just what people prefer to do with their time and it's their choice. Comedians who could find humor in those topics aren't going to be in front of that audience. Generally.
So it remains an open question whether some other style of humor could be used to broach these topics - satire sites seem to manage it at least somewhat, though social media censors the Babylon Bee pretty regularly. There are public speakers, Christian speakers who trade in humor quite a bit. Those audiences are older, and they are often coming to get something else as well, beyond mere yuks. They are getting motivation, or a teaching, or are part of a conference. But I think we can be clear that standard club standup comedy is not going to be that vehicle, because their is no audience for the comic to polish her routine in front of, so she can't make a living at it. It is therefore self-reinforcing, in that people will have in mind what type of experience they are going to be spending their money on, and will stay away from things they don't think they will find enjoyable.
If someone listened longer and encourages me to go back and give it another try I will consider it.