Why are Republicans so derided?

As an outsider, Ive noticed that it takes just a mention of the word Republican on a US TV show to elicit gales of mocking laughter. Its much the same on this board. If they`re figures of such fun over there, how on earth do they manage to win elections?

I don’t know. I can’t speak for American TV, but it seems to me that ‘Democrat’ gets much the same reaction on these boards.

aldiboronti, I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t think this is true re either of the “big two” US political parties. I thing the group that has, for several years now, been derided in a knee-jerk kind of way, is liberals.

I haven’t seen that at all. I’m sure it occurs from time to time, but that would also be the case for mentions of the word Democrat or the great bugaboo liberal. Can you give us a site or anything?

I`ll get my coat.

(Fast Show)

If you disagree with a particular group, you’re likely to retain a mental image of the very worst aspects of that group. I’m not a soccer fan, for example, so when I think of “soccer fans” I typically think of riots in the stands and lynch mobs attacking fans of rival teams with broken beer bottles. I rarely think of the 99+% of soccer fans who are decent folk and do not engage in mayhem.

So, if you’re not a Republican yourself, then hearing the mention of the word “Republican” probably conjures up exaggerated images of the worst aspects of the Republican party. You see giant smog-belching smokestacks, CIA agents giving arms to fascist regimes, wars being fought because we haven’t had a good patriotic war in a while, little children forced to pledge allegiance to God and the Flag at gunpoint, fathers employing corporal punishment with a bullwhip when their children dare to think for themselves, death penalty for people who have sex out of wedlock, historical revisionism, etc., etc… You would be less likely to see the rather striking similarities between Republicans and Democrats. (The differences between Repubs and Dems are insignificant next to the differences between, say, the Labor and Tory parties of England.)


Nah. The OP is correct. You can get a laugh by throwing “Republican” out–in some contexts. However, you can get a laugh by throwing out “Democrat” in other contexts.

It would tend to depend on where you hear it.

Often, “Republican” is thrown out as a code-word for “old money,” “conservative,” “country-club set,” or similar perceptions.

“Democrat” would be thrown out for “working class,” “liberal,” or “bowling league.”

Now, in general comedy is going to target the “stuffy” and the “upper crust” more than the “down-to-earth” types who “work” for a living, so I suspect that one would, indeed, see the word Republican thrown out into a situation comedy or a stand-up comedy routine rather more frequently than the word Democrat.

And, as my excessive use of quotation marks indicates, the attributes applied to either Republicans or Democrats are based on very loose stereotypes that are hardly indicative of reality. The stereotypes had some basis in the classes of American society decades ago, but they have been jolted and stirred by real-life events so much that the stereotypes hang on rather in spite of, rather than because of, reality.

You’re on to something here. Of course, low-class characters are ripe subjects for humor, too. But in those cases, it is because they are hicks or rubes, not because they vote for Democrats. (Academics & idealists are also stereotypical Democrats, making it the party of Elitism, ironically enough.)

However, humor aimed at upper-crust Republicans often involves real-life Republican figures, like stupid politicians. Congresman Tom DeLay is hilarious, and is unapologetically Republican.

When Senator Ted Kennedy is funny, it’s because he’s a lecherous drunk, not because he’s a Democrat.

(sung to the tune of the Irish Washer Woman)

My father is dead, and my mother is dead,
And my brother is dead, and my brother is dead,
And my brother is dead, and my nephew is dead,
And my wife is a drunk, and my car doesn’t float.

(Courtesy of rec.humor records, Inc.)

Shouldn’t there be a dead sister in there as well?

In any event, it’s not just “upper-crust” associations that get used with Republicans for a laugh. Or was Archie Bunker really a member of the power elite in disguise?

As I noted earlier, the word Democrat can also evoke a laugh in the proper context–it is just that comedy more frequently laughs at “upper crust.” Archie’s commentary on the passing scene was simply not one that relied on more “typical” humor.

(Archie Bunker was probably never a Republican. The Reagan Democrats occurred long after the show had mutated from its original premise. Archie was probably one of the conflicted people who would become Reagan Democrats, but was never actually one on the original show.)

I’m pretty sure that it was mentioned often that he was a Nixon supporter, and that that was used as a source of humor from time to time.

Basically, I think that social conservatism and outdated opinions are also a source of humor that tends to be tossed at Republicans. In addition to what you’ve said.

Except you’re forgetting that many hardcore republicans (like my dad) think of dems as being the non-working, sucking off the government teat class…so many stereotypes, so few parties.

I have a theory that comedians work best when they are outside of the establishment. Therefore, most of the funniest comedians in the 60’s and 70’s were liberals, because the establishment was conservative. Guys like George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, even Robin Williams.

But today, many of the funniest comedians are all Libertarians, Conservatives, or other fringe figures, because the establishment is generally center/slightly liberal. Dave Barry, Drew Carey, Bill Maher, Larry Miller, Dennis Miller, P.J. O’Rourke… Conservative/Libertarian, all. Except for maybe Bill Maher, who occupies his own little universe of weirdness.

Many of the liberals who used to be funny have become painful to watch. George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne, Robin Williams… They’ve either degenerated into Schmaltz, or have become mean and nasty (Carlin).

Al Franken is one liberal who has managed to stay funny and relevant while using liberal themes.

You think Dave Barry is a conservative/liberatarian? One of us is clearly out of the loop here…

…not impossibly me, although I hope not. I’ve had a rough enough week as it is!

Actually, Dave Barry has become more conservative since he married his second wife (a Cuban). Still, Bill Maher and Dennis Miller are not exactly the funniest comedians right now (PI cancelled, Miller booted off PI) while Carey’s humor is mostly nonpartisan, and his show is on life support (going against the West Wing will do that to you). Also, you ignored liberal Lewis Black, one of the funniest people on TV (If not THE funniest person on TV). Plus, late night TV leans Democratic IMHO (Letterman re-registered as a D, Leno’s wife gave money to them and SNL definitely is pro-Clinton and anti-Bush) Also, most of the comedians nowadays are nonpartisan in their humor. Maybe they’re going against the establishment by not giving a rat’s patoot about politics. Of course, 49 percent of the voting age population felt the same way in 2000, so maybe they aren’t going to be that way for long.

Dave Barry is definitely a conservative/Libertarian.


Big Kahuna: I agree with you about Lewis Black - he KILLS me. Hilarious guy.

I by no means meant to suggest that there are no funny Liberals - there are great comedians of all political persuasions. But the TREND is for there to be more conservative comedians than their used to be.

Part of it is that I think many liberals have just gotten too humorless in general. Like the old joke goes, “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” Answer: “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!!!”

The whole political correctness movement comes out of the left, and it’s entirely devoid of humor.

You should read Dave Barry Talks Back. He has an article in which he solicits advice for balancing the budget, with responses so funny I nearly choked from laughing.

Your post suggested that American humor in general had moved to the right. I’d like to think that humor is fairly nonpartisan, entertainment is often ruined when it gets involved in politics. There are the Lewis Blacks and P.J. O’Rourkes who know their shit and can make legitimate, hilarious jokes about government, but when Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Maher prosteletyze [sp?] it’s painful.

I think the over-PC crowd is merely a vocal minority within the left, just the same as the Lynne Cheneys and Pat Robertsons who don’t find humor in things that lampoon them. Both sides have the irritating people who want the country to be turned into humorless automatons, but the PC movement grew in strength in past years and overshadowed the censor-happy right. I’d be willing to bet that more or less the same percentage of Gore and Bush voters have senses of humor, if there’s any way to measure that.

Nah, we can always get laughs by mocking conservatives. :wink:

And if you’re looking for unfunny political comedians, go no further than the comic strip Mallard Filmore. Conservative as all-get-out, and duller than watching water evaporate…

(if this keeps up,this thread will end up in Cafe Society)