Can humor make a difference?

Political humor can prompt people to change the society by engaging them through different perspectives. Unlike most media, political comedy takes humor into account, and it opens people to the comedians’ thoughts, “What makes comedy so effective is that if you’re making them laugh along the way, they’re going to listen to the deeper cut stuff” (Farsad 13). As joke tellers gain the audiences’ trust, they can convey a lot of information, and let people be aware of the reality. “Arguably they offer a more open-minded and informed alternative, one which takes pride in digging for truths and in providing additional perspectives and points-of-view” (Ellis 151). Besides being a delivery system of truth, comedies can innovate the public’s thoughts and encourage them to participate in the social changes. While a lot of changes occur with blood and fire, political humor peacefully resolves the conflicts. As Jon Steward observes, “a joke has never ridden a motorcycle into a crow with a baton. A joke has never shot teargas to a group of people in a park. It’s just talk” (Taksler 42:30-43:00). In other words, a joke uses wit to overcome gruesome threats. Therefore, political humor benefits people with its open-mindedness, and deals with social problems in a subtler way.

Although comedians use humor to engage the audiences, some scholars point out the straw men of comedies that fail to consider the credibility of counterarguments, “Comedic straw men degrade the opposition not only by twisting and misrepresenting their arguments, but also by ridiculing them” (Lopez 159). It seems comedies always use these cheat tactics to win people’s heart. However, the straw men here are benign, because they are used for good purposes.

Works cited

Ellis, Iain. “Political Humor and Its Diss Contents.” Pop Matters, 14 Oct. 2012, Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 150-155.

Lopez, Ramon. “Why Jon Stewart is Bad for America.” The Federalist, 5 Dec. 2014, Rpt. in The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing with Humor Readings. UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, pp. 156-162.

“Negin Farsad: Can Humor Fight Prejudice?” TED Radio Hour from NPR, 24 Mar. 2017,

Tickling Giants. Directed by Sara Taksler, 2016.


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