Why there won’t ever be a conservative “Daily Show.”

“Conservatism, by its very definition, is about keeping the power where it currently is. American conservatives want Christianity to remain the dominant religion. They want heterosexuals to remain the only ones allowed to get married. It’s all about hurting ‘the little guy,’ so it doesn’t work well with comedy at all.” – Jon Bershad, Why Conservative Comedy Doesn’t Work And Likely Never Will (paraphrase)

Last week Fox “News” launched another comedy show. “The Greg Gutfeld Show” airs on Sunday nights and features Gutfeld, a commentator on their show “The Five” and a frequent contributor on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Fox’s previous attempt to counter-program “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” was titled “The 1/2 Hour News Hour.” It ran for seventeen episodes, intermittently from February through September 2007. It was awful. On its worst night, Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” wasn’t this bad.

Conservative “comedy” tends to work downward. They make fun of those they perceive to be less than they are. Power tends to see humor in weakness: authoritarians don’t laugh at “the boss.” In the old days the court jester’s job was to make fun of the boss, but there wasn’t much job security.

Real comedy is more diverse, it lampoons those in power as well as one’s peers, and to a large degree doesn’t treat anyone as lesser. It comforts the afflicted, and afflicts the comfortable. Whether it’s people in authority, or tradition, or silly assumptions we make about the world because that’s how we’ve been instructed to see things – humor is about poking at all that stuff.

In short: there is no subtlety to conservative brands of humor, just attacks.

(Inspired by a discussion at Democratic Underground.)

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