Saturday, October 01, 2022


I listened to Tyler Cowan interview Dave Barry, and they spoke about humor in partisan divide. Barry is not the first I have heard mention it, but much current humor does not cause laughter, and not even a smile or chuckle, just the grim satisfaction of having said something mean about the other side that you know your people would approve of with a knowing look. Grim satisfaction  has replaced laughter. Oddly, it was traced back to SNL, and the idea that they had greatly improved humor by bringing in silliness to go with topicality (and really first-class silliness, I might add.  Killer Bees. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger...), but also sown the seeds for its destruction with their increasing political meanness.

Then I saw the FB pages of some relatives, who used to be funny people, and knew that it was true. I feel some guilt in the case of my younger brother, as it was I who originally taught him this.

I am trying to think of political humor from any side that is actually funny.  The closest I can get is people who go against type and play on that for humor.

They spoke highly of Robert Benchley for written humor, but allow that his short films are at least from a script.


Jonathan said...

The Barry interview is good, thanks. He and Cowen are reasonable people. So many aren't.

Most political humor is like German humor in the old joke - no laughing matter. The Babylon Bee is pretty good when it's good. Greg Gutfeld is pretty good when he's good. Maybe I'm merely showing my biases. Someone out there would say the same about The Onion when it makes fun of Republicans. In any case even relatively good political humor tends to be marginal as humor and doesn't endure. The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello are timeless, but who remembers David Fry?

Korora said...

Gilbert and Sullivan are timeless. So is Menander's Δύσκολος (Peevish Man or Grouch), recovered nearly complete by archaeologists sixty-odd years ago.