During my morning run, I randomly started thinking about the ability of comedians to make people laugh about serious issues. The first person that came to my mind was Chris Rock. He talks about really serious stuff. Here is a clip of one of my favorite stand-up specials Never scared:
In this clip, Chris Rock is talking about a serious issue concerning the over medication of Americans and people are laughing about it. Politicians look for ways to get their electorate to be concerned about issues and the best way is right under their noses; laughter.
People like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have used comedy to bring up political and social issues as well. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report both discuss the days news with a comedic twist. For me, the comedy along with the news allows me to think of the subject in a way that would have never thought about. I would say that comedy definitely does something and has a role in how many people perceive issues.
When I get a chance, I would love to look deeper into the role of comedy and its role in social and political issues. Is it a recent development or has comedy always been an outlet for serious issues. I remember my psychology roommate said that we joke around with the things that we are most afraid of. Maybe that has something to do with it. Thinking back to history classes, I remember a discussion we had about jesters and the role they played in voicing concerns of the kingdom to kings in a monarchy. Wow!! It looks like I have a starting point.
I’ve even thought as far as to come up with a name…”The fifth estate”. The name was rooted in the plan of our forefathers for the branches of government. The first, second and third estate became the executive, legislative and judicial branch. The fourth estate was the press.( iffy…a discussion for a future blog post) So, by naming it the fifth estate, it signifies the role of comedy in politics.
I hope this is one of my many ideas that actually happens. I think it would good for people to realize comedians help educate citizens.