These are the times when politics took a spot in the run for mainstream attention. No longer restricted to academic circles and uncles' discussions, politics took root into households and everyday lives. And as comedy reflects and plays off of real life, comedians clearly took note of this.
How do you tackle something as serious and impactful as politics with comedy? Turns out, being light-hearted and poking fun could be the best way to talk about these issues.
Dissent, But Make It Funny.
We all know politics is messy. From journalists and lawyers to politicians themselves, scandals and even crime with legal or life-threatening consequences are common-place. This is where comedy comes in.
By design, comedy is not meant to be taken seriously. Except for special cases, taking jokes to heart just makes you look petty or overly-sensitive. Definitely not great for PR.
Hence, when political affiliations control most mainstream media, comedy rises as a mode of dissent and criticism. People seek out comedians over academic arguments or debates. When comedians begin addressing these issues, they are heard.
Not only does this allow important topics to come to light, but audiences hear opinions apart from those that already saturate all the media around them. This is the encouragement to think, to be aware, and to be more open. All this in a package sealed by laughter and a good time.
As we can see, in today's political climate, comedians have actually started taking the place of news or journalists. Examples like Kunal Kamra, Peeing Human, Dhruv Rathee, and Hasan Minhaj, all employ comedy to highlight more serious points and provide information.
Comedy Makes Politics Accessible
With the amount of propaganda and formal details in politics, it is often not easy for most people to stay aware and informed enough to form educated opinions. However, comedy makes politics accessible and consumable for the masses.
One PeeingHuman video can give you more data than an hour-long lecture, because the latter is hard for a lot of us to sit through, let alone pay attention to. Like memes and funny videos, political comedy is shareable. It can go viral easily, show up on YouTube feeds more often, and find huge audiences within a matter of hours.
When the majority shuts down all formal criticism, comedians found the crack under the wall that allows them to slip through this barrier; humour. Audiences trust and form a bond with their favourite comedians, an alternative source to find out about what's happening. Research and dissent are brought together in a likeable format, and people eat it up.
In dire times, perhaps laughter is truly the best medicine.