Comedy Is Dead, and Leftists Murdered It
When everything is a "trigger" or a "microaggression," it ceases to be funny for miserable people.
American leftists are often miserable and unhappy people.
Everything, it seems, offends them. Marriage and the nuclear family (father, mother, children), the basic unit of all civilizations for millennia, the Left now considers anachronistic, oppressive, and patriarchal. Leftists oppose the free market, which has lifted more people out of poverty than anything else in human history. They hate individual liberty (because bureaucrats can order our lives better than we can), the rich (except rich progressives), the NFL (not because social justice warriors are protesting the anthem but because the sport is too violent, and there aren’t enough minority coaches and owners), steak, school choice, low taxes, the Constitution, plastic straws, country music, Israel, non-coastal Americans…
Yes, even comedy, which once brought together Americans of all stripes by highlighting the common struggles and absurdities of life in a humorous way, has come under the angry glare of the American Left. There is no aspect of life or culture remaining that leftists aren’t offended by.
This is leading to the death of comedy.
Late-night talk shows were once a welcome distraction from the stresses of life for millions of Americans, but no more. Late-night comedians have become self-righteous moralizers, raging against President Donald Trump as a modern-day American Hitler, while excoriating his supporters as either ignorant rubes or willing accomplices to Trump’s “crimes.” From Jimmy Kimmel’s ObamaCare cry-fests and tiresome political rants, to Stephen Colbert’s vile and graphic anti-Trump shtick, everywhere you turn leftist comedians are trying to out-scold each other over who can hate Trump, Republicans, conservatives, and Christians the most.
In fact, comedy is being replaced by a form of anti-comedy, as personified by an Australian “comedian” named Hannah Gadsby, creator of “Nanette,” a stage show where Gadsby delves into her own experience with “gender and sexual trauma,” and how women and the LGBT crowd are mistreated and silenced. She lashes out at men — all men — for enabling such abuse. The New York Times calls the show “comedy-destroying.” It’s meant as a compliment.
Comedians no longer find common ground all Americans can relate to. Instead, they actively denigrate half the population to the vitriolic applause of the other half.
Of course, not all comedians have followed that path. Many have just given up. Jerry Seinfeld, the undisputed King of Comedy for a generation, quit stand-up comedy on college and university campuses because progressives have sucked all of the joy out of it. Instead, Seinfeld is working on the 10th season of a show called “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee,” which is exactly what it sounds like. He avoids political pot-stirring, and just talks humorously about life.
Seinfeld stopped performing on campuses because today’s young “adults” can’t listen to comedy without getting enraged and offended. According to Seinfeld, “[Young people] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ … They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.” Comedian Chris Rock, known for his no-holds-barred, edgy comedy, stopped campus standup for the same reason.
And in an era when so-called liberals get their “news” from leftist comedians, they have lost the ability to identify hyperbole and satire. Recently, such “objective” journalistic outlets as The Washington Post, ABC News, NBC News, and Google News ran supposed news headlines highlighting attacks on President Trump by late-night talk show hosts. And this is news why? It’s not news, of course, but it allows the MSM another way to attack Trump.
It is a self-destructive cycle. The more hateful the attacks on the president and average Americans by late-night comedians, the more viewers they lose. The more viewers they lose, the more hateful they become in their anti-Trump invective in order to maximize ratings among the remaining, increasingly radical-Left viewership.
As sad as this development is, it’s also dangerous. More and more, young progressives are becoming incapable of facing setbacks, disappointments, and dealing civilly with those of opposing viewpoints. They require safe spaces and “trigger warnings” in order to be protected from “microaggressions” and other leftist boogeymen. They cheer physical violence against political opponents.
The more they indulge this radical infantilism, the more incapable they become of dealing with everyday life.
A recent study by three Harvard University psychologists found, “Trigger warnings may inadvertently undermine some aspects of emotional resilience. … This finding could have significant implications in the context of ongoing cultural debates about the power of language in reinforcing perceived oppression. That is, if we are telling students that words are akin to violence and can cause harm, and then giving them trigger warnings to compound that message, we risk increasing immediate anxiety responses rather than decreasing them.”
This type of emotional crippling has become so pervasive that a new sub-specialty has arisen in the psychiatric field; namely, treatment of “Trump Anxiety Disorder,” in which the patient fears the world ending as a result of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. That’s an odd thing to fear when the economy is finally thriving and life is generally good in America.
Yet many leftists genuinely fear an economic collapse, the death of free speech, nuclear war with North Korea, and other doomsday scenarios, despite no realistic justification.
And that’s just not funny.
Update and correction: The original version of this analysis noted that Jerry Seinfeld “quit stand-up comedy.” Stated correctly, he “quit stand-up comedy on college and university campuses” as noted later in context.