Can The Political and Religious Right Be Funny Enough To Sway Opinion?

I think that comedy provides a huge and largely unrecognized influence on a person's view of the world. When someone or something is funny, we not only remember it, but it can carry a great deal of weight. We can more easily see and accept the truth of an idea or position if it is presented as comedy, especially if something hypocritical is being pointed out.

George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Ricky Gervais, Ben Elton, Penn & Teller, Bill Maher, Bill Hicks, and Julia Sweeney are just a few whose political/religious positions carry weight because they are funny. There are many, many more.

There are a few funny comedians from the political or religious right out there to compete, but there are only a few and their popularity is not all that great. There's Dennis Miller, P.J. O'Rourke, and Drew Carey. But they have a small and niche audience, at best. The most popular of them seem to keep away from non-political and non-religious topics, too.

Those on the political and religious right seem to like to be serious and be preached to through radio, television and/or the pulpit. Those on the political and religious left like to laugh and discuss. This is the way it seems, anyway. There are exceptions, of course.

What does this say about how people like to be stimulated? About how they are influenced? About how they see the world? Is it that people who like to laugh are more likely to be on the political or religious left, or does being on the political or religious left carry with it a tendency to want to laugh?

Is it even possible for a right-wing comedian to sway opinion based on their comedy?

Tags: comedy, funny, laugh, opinion, politics

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The only right-wing comedians I know of are the three you listed and they're not funny. It has nothing to do with my beliefs they just aren't funny. So I don't think any of those three will be swaying public opinion any time soon.
I don't think comedy holds much sway in helping us make our decisions. I love many of the comics you mentioned, particularly George Carlin, Jon Stewart and Penn & Teller. I also enjoy Lewis black. I think the reason I love them so much though is that they already say what I feel. They don't really sway me as much as they back up what I feel.

I agree that the Right has little in the way of comics, but you have to admit that Palin could be pretty funny considering how outright stupid she is, but that worked against her, not for her.
Although I don't think Glenn Back is funny, my mom sure thinks he is. When I point out his insanity, she thinks he's just being silly. And yes, she is swayed by his ridiculous sense of humor, and also Rush Limbaugh's. I remember her snickering while telling me Rush had basically encouraged people to register as Democrats and vote for a certain candidate so Hillary Clinton wouldn't get nominated... or what it Obama? In any case, she thought it was funny. I thought it was disgusting and I couldn't believe she thought it was okay for the Republicans to cheat to get their candidate in. If the Dems had done it (like Acorn allegedly has), they'd be freaking out.

But the thing is, they made it funny... and by making it funny, they made it okay. When Beck snickers at his opponents, his (uneducated) audience snickers with him. They have a false sense of superiority from this and don't stop to think that the fact they're laughing at this guy does NOT make him laughable.

Shawn says he isn't swayed by humor, and that may be true. I do think it makes a lot of things that are unacceptable more acceptable because now we're all laughing.
Drew Carey is libertarian, so yeah, he's more right wing in regards to fiscal issues. But so are Penn & Teller, so why not include them in that little list of right wingers?
People could go in various camps, I guess.

Like I mentioned, comedians with positions on the polical/religious right seem to mostly avoid those positions in their material. Penn & Teller and Drew Carey are both examples of that. Maybe it's just because that stuff can't be made funny to most people.

Sorry you got mad about a post on comedy. But, thanks for your contribution anyway.
I got mad? Just asking a question.
@Shawn: I forgot about Lewis Black! I even read Me of Little Faith this summer.

@CaraColeen: I never even considered that Beck and Limbaugh would be seen as funny, but I guess you're right. I don't see them as funny, either, though.

It seems to me that when a good comedian addresses an issue, it's not only funny, but it's based in some sort of truth. If their comedy is based on a lie or a mistake, then it's not as funny (or not funny at all). And when we are exposed to truth through humor, we are more likely to accept it, even if it's at odds with a position we currently hold. Maybe I'm wrong, though. It's just an idea that I thought would be worth exploring to see what we might find out about oursevles.
My major professor in psychology once said something that has always stuck with me: The people who scare me are the serious ones, they're the one's who are dangerous!
I just love laughing with these great comedians. youtube is wonderful..
I have been splitting my sides reading Mark Twain's Letters from Earth.uncensored writtings
His wit about religion written in his time is so relevant now.
All atheists should read this book. I have discussed this before but when I am feeling a bit sad I read this bookto have a good laigh. .
I am going to see Ricky Gervais and his shows are always sell outs i nn the UKso it shows that the amount of atheists are unknown.
Comedy does help in influencing issues, if only by shedding light on them and spotlighting just how ridiculous certain things can be.
Hmm...interesting observation and resultant question of social liberalism leading to comedic preferences or vice versa. I think a definite correlation could be drawn between a decreased reliance upon faith and an increased appreciation of comedy. The more a person bases their worldview upon unsubstantiated information, the more likely they are to perceive satirical criticism as threatening and unpleasant. Those of us who base our ethics on observational logic and rational justice are not threatened by comedy because our worldviews do not require leaps of faith. Because we are not threatened, we are able to appreciate humour and irony in ourselves and others.

I just watched Gervais' new film this weekend and really liked it. While the religious satire was blatant (but still hilarious), I also detected a subtler condemnation of strict realism. (I don't want to elaborate for fear of spoilers.)

In the end, George Carlin was one of the most brilliant human beings to ever walk the earth.

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