Comedians are Modern Day Philosophers, goes the thinking of some. “Hogwash” goes mine.
In the brief moments of pure, arrogant hubris, I consider trying out comedy as a vocation. Then I hop onto twitter and read opinion articles, and then nope the fuck out. Comedy is far too fucking serious.
It’s not that it’s not funny. Some of it is. It’s just that it’s something that is hugely scrutinised. If it’s not the “parallel thinking” of Amy Schumer that’s under the microscope, it’s the policing of jokes for what harm they may bring. Jon Stewart once lauded himself for being a greater news source for the youth than traditional media, after which the next few years saw talk shows like his turn into the traditional media.
Comedy can make very striking observations, however they typically are only superficial assessments of any given topic. Any comedy piece I’ve seen that tries to delve too far into any given topic usually ends up pandering to the audience, and descends into what I call “Woo Comedy”.
The kind of comedy that usually gets one or two lonesome voices in the crowd to yelp “Woo” before everyone else awkwardly applauds afterward – possibly because there are stage staff who are telling the audience when to applaud.
I do not find Woo Comedy funny. I do not find Woo Comedy informative. I do not find Woo Comedy useful even as philosophy. In fact, to call comedians philosophers is to insult those who might actually study philosophy.
Woo Comedy is preaching.
When a Comedian is telling me what topics should be taboo, I disagree. When a comedian spends more time insulting their political opposites, I turn off. When a comedian tries to wrap something up as intellectualism, I cringe so hard my face folds in half.
This isn’t to say what comedians should and shouldn’t do. Oh no, quite the opposite. They are free to do and say as they want. I just won’t be watching. And I’m not so arrogant to assume that my thinking is any different to many others out there. In fact, I dare say that my view is not unique in anyway, and that comedians serving as shills for politics are only going to slowly erode in relevance before they become merely preachers to the already converted, while they continue to have their lunch cut by others who actually try to convince moderates in the middle.
Maybe then they’ll realise what comedians were all along; Not philosophers, but jesters.