Have you ever wondered why some of the best political analysis comes from comedians? Look at the work of Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Kimmel, even Bill Mahr. The list could actually go on for pages.
These guys not only poke fun at political figures, they do so by dissecting their words and actions. And pointing out the things that don’t make sense in ways that get us to laugh.
What’s really going on here? Well, first laughing at something absurd and illogical is really rejecting it. It is also why political figures who do really stupid things object to satire. It is biting.
The real mechanism in play however is comparison. Authoritarian-minded political operators want whatever they say to be believed and accepted as fact. What happens when you compare these utterances to the real world? Well sometimes it is quite funny. Other times it is horrifying, but lets try to stay on the funny side.
A great random example is a Trevor Noah “Between the Scenes” segment. These were unscripted conversations he would have with his studio audience.
This shows something really important: a high intelligence and an ability to quickly and effectively show comparisons.
There’s nothing quite as boring as analyzing comedy. Sorry about that. But the truth is that facts don’t stand alone. They have to be compared to something to determine their value—and in many situations, their utter lack of value.
Comics are great at this and always have been. They make us laugh at and thus reject the insane, the stupid and the reprehensible. And by doing this they also help us recognize those same things when we see them in the future.