That is the only possible explanation for Politico putting this headline on one of their articles on Saturday: “How Trump Turned Liberal Comedians Conservative.” When the reader sees that there is almost no way they can resist finding out how liberal comedians became conservative due to Trump which was the premise of the title on the story by Joanna Weiss.
Naturally, this thesis comes from a professor, Dannagal Young at the University of Delaware, who claims that liberals, like Jon Stewart in his Comedy Central heyday, are “playful, subversive, at once cynical and weirdly optimistic.” Liberals under Trump, by contrast, are alarmed at a threat, which is conservative. “Social science research has shown that liberals and conservatives are (on average) wired differently, with social and cultural conservatives personally more attuned to danger, worried about intruders, primed to protect an establishment under threat.” So now liberal comedy is humorless….like conservatives?
When they come to the May 2018 moment when Samantha Bee, in a rant about immigration on her TBS show Full Frontal, called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c—,” the exercise breaks down. The line drew a laugh, but there was nothing to puzzle out. No irony, no distance. She just meant it.
“There was no incongruity in what she did,” says Young, whose upcoming book, Irony and Outrage, examines the psychological underpinnings of political entertainment. “I don’t care she’s used the c-word a bunch. I care that she, like, didn’t make a joke.”
You can see just how weak her argument is just by looking at where she makes her strongest premise pitch which turns out to be a complete dud:
Like the red meat at Trump’s rallies, it was pitched to the base, satisfying in the way that calling someone a “libtard” feels for people on the right; less a wry observation than a hard push back against a persistent enemy or a looming threat. If Trump has changed the tone of the presidency, he’s done the same for TV humor, creating a kind of insult comedy for the Resistance: less subtle, less civil—and, strangely, more conservative.
Yup. That’s it. Because TDS comedians have lost their sense of subtlety supposedly due to Trump, then their new crude advocacy type of shrill “comedy” somehow qualifies as conservative.
Today, Bee’s faux [Daily Show] innocence is gone; her Full Frontal persona understands everything that’s happening. Her fury is directed not just at Trump, but at everyone on the right; she apologized for the c-word episode, but her anger hasn’t faded. A recent segment on the Alabama’s stringent new abortion law, “Sex Ed for Senators,” explained that when a woman is designated six weeks pregnant, it actually measures the number of weeks from her last period, not from the moment of conception. “Bet you didn’t know uteruses were also time travelers,” Bee said. “That’s science, bitch!”
Okay, so Colbert and Bee are just angrily pushing their anti-Trump agendas. And yet by some weird logic (or perhaps just clickbait logic), Weiss now labels them as “conservative,” like Trump and Fox News. She concluded:
It could be that this new tone will be a left wing mobilizing force. The midterm elections drew unusually high numbers of Democratic voters; some predict a similar wave in 2020. Late night comedy could be a small part of that movement. But if that happens, it will be because comedians were less like Jon Stewart—the original version—and more like Sean Hannity and Trump.
Beam me up, Scotty!