"You can't be a Conservative and a Comedian" - What does this even mean?

I hear variations of this all the time (for clarification, you can replace conservative with right-wing or some other variation of that word) , “Conservative comedy isn’t funny”, “There’s no such thing as a conservative comedian”, “You can’t get humor from being conservative”. Hell there’s an entire Cracked article about it./

The problem being this entire line of thinking completely collapses if you give it any sort of actual thought. Nobody actually defines what “Conservative Comedy” is besides pointing to political cartoons, conservative commentators who like to make (bad) jokes, and the fact that none of the late-night hosts are conservative. That Cracked article itself brings out two “facts” I often see trumpeted, that

A. Comedy is all about punching up, not punching down (Which doesn’t make any sense, how much of comedy revolves around making fun of your spouse/friends/family?)

B. Conservatives aren’t as creative as liberals, thus they can’t be comedians (How does this mean conservatives can’t be funny at all?)

Some of the funniest people in the world (at least to me) are what I’ve seen people deem “conservative” in the past, Norm MacDonald, Colin Quinn, and Jerry Seinfeld (we can argue about Seinfeld but all sorts of articles have called him a cranky old conservative over his hatred of political correctness) . Not to mention actual conservative comedians like Larry the Cable Guy, Adam Carolla, and Kevin James. You may not find them funny (I don’t either) but they’re still wildly successful.

I don’t know why but it just bugs me so much people just throw that phrase out there without actually having any discussion about it.

One can certainly be both conservative and a comedian, but for me the issue seems to revolve around self-deprecation. In order to effectively convey the ridiculousness inherent in whatever the topic of your comedy is, you must be open in acknowledging that you are also capable of, and frequently guilty of, being ridiculous. And the comedians above (I admit I don’t know much about Carolla, but the others) use self-deprecating humor to their advantage.

But there seems to be this strand in modern American conservatism that will tolerate no ridicule at all and will push back hard and brutally against any criticism, no matter how lighthearted. Consider the current Jeff Fortenberry debacle, in which a professor who “liked” on Facebook a picture of Fortenberry defaced with a pair of googly eyes and some fart jokes was threatened with over-the-top consequences. Had Fortenberry laughed it off - or riffed off the googly eyes thing - he’d have come out of it ahead. As it is, he looks like a humourless dickhead. And mocking others while refusing to accept mockery of one’s own foibles will always make one come off as such.

In a similar vein, there seems to be this idea amongst such conservatives that any comedy that mocks them, even if it also mocks liberals, is inherently biased against them. SNL and The Daily Show have certainly never had any problem mocking Democrats, but in the same way some conservatives have created FoxNews as a safe news space and Conservapedia as a safe facts space, they somehow need to have safe comedy spaces “in the interest of balance” - and then we get crap like The 1/2 Hour News Hour, devoted primarily to heavy-duty bashing of liberal stereotypes, and Clint Eastwood talking to empty chairs.

Again, #notallconservatives. But there are a lot of them suffering from offensensitivity these days, and that lot certainly aren’t funny.

There aren’t as many conservative comedians as liberal ones, and the ones that do exist mostly aren’t very funny. Why that is is surely the subject of debate, but it’s tough to dispute that it’s true.

Now, conservatives aren’t completely devoid of humor. One example that comes to mind is Jeff Foxworthy. But this, I think, gets to Gyrate’s point about self-deprecation: Foxworthy’s act consists of making fun of a group that he himself identifies with.

Reagan was funny. Bush junior was funny too. I hated their politics but they both knew how to tell a joke.

Hitler wasn’t.

See the difference? It’s the difference between a conservative and a fascist. In the US, conservatives have become fascists. Fascists aren’t funny to anyone except other fascists, because they mock people they have power over as a precursor to dispossessing, exiling, or rounding up, spraying with bullets and shoveling into trenches in the forest. Which isn’t amusing.

I’d go so far as to say there aren’t any liberal comedians anymore. There aren’t conservative ones either, but the realities of how the world works in recent years means they are all libertarians, or unfunny corporate comedians who think that saying the f-word and c-word are edgy(Sarah Silverman).

That’s…an interesting thesis.

Well when I think of comedians I think of George Carlin, Chris Rock, Lisa Lampanelli, Doug Stanhope, etc., and none of those guys are PC. I’d say politically correct comedian is an oxymoron unless you’re specifically a PG comedian. Nothing is more tiresome than someone willing to be obscene but scared of offending anyone. And that’s because obscenity isn’t really offensive anymore, but some comedians use it as a crutch to make up for the fact that they are so not edgy. Sarah Silverman in particular actually thinks that “white fragility” is a problem for her viewers. I do like I Love You America, but not for the jokes, which are just tiresome. Her conversations with real people, much more interesting.

I think it means comedy requires self awareness, a willingness to challenge existing viewpoints and introspection, things conservatives aren’t known for.

Having said that there are a few funny ones. Nick dipaolo, also Greg gutfelds show on fox is funny.

But for the most part comedy is liberal and male.

So all comedians are either libertarians or corporate whores because you don’t like Sarah Silverman? I mean, I’m not particularly a fan of Silverman’s brand of humor but I’m reluctant to see it as an indictment of the entire industry, and I certainly don’t see how libertarianism fits in here.

“Punching down” usually devolves into “You can’t get good help anymore” and wife jokes. There’s just something inherently loutish and unsporting about it. I’m sure Gallagher and the Greaseman think they’re as funny as they ever were, but it just calls into question how funny they ever were to start with.

That said, despite my liberal impulses, one of my favorite writers is PJ O’Rourke. I seldom agree with him, but think he expresses himself wonderfully. He kind of peaked with PARLIAMENT OF WHORES and ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD, though.

I can’t believe you just reduced Sarah Silverman to a “shock” comic. Seriously dude, she’s one of the most intelligent comics out there. And her humor goes way beyond “fuck” or “cunt”.

I do like Sarah Silverman, actually, I just think she’s funny in the same way that Seinfeld is funny. She’s safe, but thinks she’s edgy. Seinfeld is at least self aware enough to know where his wheelhouse is. Kathy Griffin has long suffered from the same delusion. Doesn’t mean she’s not entertaining. Although she unintentionally did something that was actually edgy and got what people get nowadays for that “sin”.

The humor is solid. I didn’t attack her funniness. I attacked her tired attempts to be edgy while not offending anyone, which is not something that is actually possible. She actually plays it as safe as they come. There is literally nothing about her comedy that would offend or shock a modern audience. She’s actually the opposite of shock comedy. If her comedy is as intelligent as you believe, and I think an argument can be made for that, she should embrace that part of her talent, rather than trying to be Doug Stanhope and failing.

Bill Maher is actually a lot edgier, and while a liberal on politics, is very much a libertarian when it comes to free speech and modern society’s inability to take a joke.

I seem to recall seeing a sketch involving Jesus (as played by Michael Weatherly) fingerbanging Silverman on a couch while calling her a “good little Jewish girl”. I feel confident in placing such things outside the realm of “safe”. But it’s entirely possible that you’re just seeing her less edgy stuff, in the same way that Bob Saget, who does an absolutely filthy line of stand-up comedy, was largely known by most people for doing anodyne jokes as filler between funny home videos.

However, I’m still not sure how this all translates to dividing all comedians into libertarians or unfunny corporate comedians.

In terms of his speaking style at his rallies, I have heard Donald Trump described as an insult comic. Like many of you, I find what he says appalling rather than funny, but it seems to work for those in his base.

And that makes me wonder how much of “You can’t be a conservative and a comedian” really means “If you don’t share a point of view with me, I won’t find you funny.”

Donald Trump is not an insult comic. He just juvenilely insults others, and he and his ilk think it is funny. It is the difference between Don Rickles and a schoolyard bully with his squad behind him yelling “Yur a turd!” at someone. The laughter in that case is not from the funniness of the “joke”, but at the fact that they are getting away with it.

Franky, I firmly believe that ultra-liberals are likewise, humorless. I formed this opinion decades ago, when the headline of Mother Jones magazine was “The Simpsons is the death of satire.” I was like, yikes, I really have to read this magazine and understand it. Now, I was always kinda conservative and right-wing, but this article may very well have hardened me. And I still find Mother Jones thought provoking and intellectually stimulating. But this article, yikes, basically it said that, because liberal thought by Marge and Lisa was mocked, The Simpsons had ruined everything.

Now Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah are definitely left-leaning, and I don’t care for their politics, but they do poke mild fun at their own point of view from time to time. That makes them funny, and their message gets out and is useful.

A big problem with conservative comedy is, it has to be so broad, that you instantly know – “Oh I know what this is, this is ironic for irony’s sake.” Take the film and play The Producers, the “Springtime for Hitler” song, that ends and the bad actor starts speaking, and suddenly, everyone “gets it.” The joke being, that the joke is now on the producers. If the humor isn’t ironic, and there’s no producer to lose money on purpose … who’s the joke on?

Tucker Carlson is a brilliant political satirist. Case in point: https://youtu.be/jKUShNmEkaA?t=167

Really? Which special would you recommend to see this side of her? To me she is a shock comic who isn’t even that shocking and that’s the only humor I’ve seen from her.

Just watch her latest series on Hulu: “I Love You America”