Edgy comedies that are still properly left-wing?

In today’s reverse-PC world, the “edginess” of comedies seems to be measured by how well they offend minorites and reaffirm the position those in power hold. Cases in point: talk-radio, “The War at Home”, “South Park”, “Becker”, that short-lived cartoon on Spike where they had the nerve to give the whiny “oppressed-white-male” star a black best friend, and I think a bunch of other junk that I don’t watch like Larry the Cable Guy, “Mind of Mencia”, and “Crank Yankers”. The message from these seem to be “stop complaining, know your place; we all have problems, but for the most part, everything is fine”.

But there are still a few satirical shows with a counter-cultural ethos that IS still actually counter-cultural. The ones I know about are “The Daily Show” and its spin-offs, “Wonder Showzen”, “Family Guy”, “American Dad”, and the sporadically appearing “TV Funhouse” shorts on “Saturday Night Live”. Does anyone know of any others that I’m missing out on?

Such is the nature of comedy. Comedy searches to speak the truth via humor. When you’re the target of it, you can’t be as upset, because it is a joke and then you’re seen as someone who can’t take a joke.

So, to defeat it before it gets there, it’s pushed aside as “just a stupid comedy”. That makes it more palatable for the target to digest.

That’s a good summary of something that’s bugged me for a couple of years. I might put Carlos Mencia in a different category, though. He’s part of that new breed of comedian that gets laughs by affirming stereotypes. Other examples would include Lisa Lampanelli, Sarah Silverman and, until he started to wonder why people were laughing so hard, Dave Chappelle. On the other hand, those others are mocking the stereotypers, and Mencia’s humor is more like “admit it, these are pretty true.”

Back to the topic at hand. Arrested Development regularly, if subtly, mocked the Bush administration and the Iraq war. The central storyline involved Iraq, they repeatedly joked about the USA PATRIOT Act, they had a “Mission Accomplished” banner show up a couple of times, they were stories about the separation of church and state, and in one of the last episodes, they mocked the Terri Schiavo controversy. I thought the last of those was actually the edgiest - there was a scene where a character who is pretending to be in a coma watches and responds to a balloon in the same way Schiavo did in that oft-broadcast video.

Well, given the fact that every BLACK comedian does nothing but joke about how hilarious the differences between black people and white people are, why does this surprise you?

When the in thing in comedy is black jokes from black comedians, Mexican jokes from Mexican comedians, Asian jokes from Margaret Cho, and it’s all boring and hashed-out and done to death, sooner or later some WHITE person is going to come along and start making fun of all the other races - to be unique.

And let me just add: when the establishment is PC, when we’ve come to a point in society where your reputation is ruined if there are racial allegations against you, when you are forced to resign because someone is alleging that you are “racist,” when, I dare say, “racist” has become today what “communist” was in the 50s - a word with the power to blight careers, destroy reputations, and put a black mark on a man’s soul - then pushing the anti-PC envelope IS what’s edgy.

And comedians are always going to try to be edgy.

Sorry, pizzabrat, I think you need to turn down the offend-o-meter.

Where will ever find such a bold young visionary?

Point taken, but come on, Don Rickles isn’t being featured on Comedy Central every night.

And it’s Comedy Central’s loss! :wink:

(Emphasis mine:)

You racist, you.

Stupid colon bracket smiley.

Preview is your friend.

…what does this have to do with anything? I’m not talking about being upset, or wondering how to defeat the sting of reverse-PC humor. Besides, “just a stupid comedy” isn’t the only way of dismissing gags on the wrong side of the political spectrum. I do it by acknowledging that the jokes are based on false premises.

BTW, I thought I remembered a couple of digs at the administration and conservatisim on “Arrested Development”, but, then, that show is off the air…

And after watching “Everybody Hates Chris” last night, I’d have to add that, too. Despite the fact that Rock’s “Niggers vs Black People” bit became a manifesto for those wanting to legitimize their anti-black prejudices, that show takes some shocking swipes at white racism. But other than that, the EHC isn’t very political.

Then again, the show takes place twenty years ago and the racism is perpatuated by Italian-American characters, so maybe it’s not that shocking.

The thread-title says “left-wing,” which IMO is a very, very different thing from “counter-cultural.” A more political thing, you understand. (See this old GD thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=262432&highlight) I know of no TV comedies at all which actually advocate leftist revolution or even leftist politics, and that includes John Stewart.

…and just to clear that up, I’m saying the time period means that people can shrug off the racism as being only relevant to the 80’s, and Italian-Americans are another comfortably stereotyped group, and one of those stereotypes is being especially racist towards blacks. That’s why EHC can have white racist characters without being controversial.

Never heard of Larry the Cable Guy? He’s around quite a bit.

I don’t know if you’re willing to consider print, but McGruder’s The Boondocks doesn’t stoop to un-PC chic-- the “new PC”-- (especially rare considering it’s a comic strip) and can be pretty biting.

:confused: What exactly do you mean? What is this “un-PC chic” or “new PC”?

Well, the first is obvious-- it’s chic to be un-PC. Duh.

I referred to it as the “new PC” because being accused of being PC is currently de rigeur, and, in my experience, much more pervasive than being accused of harboring an --ism.


  1. It’s always a whole lot easier to be a funny conservative than a funny progressive. A condition of laughing really hard and long is being carefree = not caring about others or the world, if only for a few moments.

  2. Women/minorities in comedy are still largely about kidding the stereotypes - which, being women/minorities, they kind of have to personify in a ludicrous, exaggerated way. In order for Sarah Silverman to attack the concept of the slutty JAP ditz, she first has to be the slutty JAP ditz.

Yes, but Don Rickles was funny.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve laughed at LtCG. However, his schtick is good for about 5 listens, and after two I was being more entertained by listening to his good ol’ boy accent slip all the time.

Also, what does “properly left-wing” mean?