Opinion: Comedians Need to Stop Pushing Their Agendas

Image via CNN

A comedian’s job is to entertain people, not to push their political agendas.

I have been playing a little game lately. I call it the Stephen Colbert game. I check the YouTube channel for his late-night talk show and see the title of his monologue video from the previous night. The goal is to see if Donald Trump’s name or the name of a member of his administration is included in the title. My guess was that the number of episodes including his name would be between fifteen and twenty.

I was wrong, however, because for over two months quite literally every single video of the daily monologue. Titles include: “Our President Needs the Validation of Boy Scouts,” “The Beginning of the End of the Trump Presidency,” and “Trump Really Puts the Fraud in Voter Fraud Commission” (is that supposed to be funny?). Stephen Colbert, I truly believe, is genuinely obsessed with Donald Trump.

And unfortunately, he is not the only one. As a conservative, I have recently had to give up watching late night talk shows and the majority of live comedy. Conan O’Brien’s is the last remaining show that is somewhat even-handed. Virtually every mainstream comedian is unceasing in his crusade against Trump. 

Donald Trump won the election. A huge number of people from all over the country (people like me) voted for him. 

Has it ever occurred to anyone working in television that incessantly insulting and attacking half the political views of half of the country might limit their audience? I used to be a big fan of Stephen Colbert, in particular. I knew he was liberal, but I still enjoyed his take on politics. Most importantly, his show was genuinely funny. But these past few years I have had to stop watching because he has quite frankly become insulting to me and my beliefs. John Oliver has arguably been the worst, yelling: “You [expletive] [expletive],” at Donald Trump on his show several times in the past twelve months.

And all of this actually makes me sad, because a lot of these comedians were people I enjoyed. But the mainstream entertainment industry’s intense progressiveness is getting out of hand.

So why is this the case? Why are comedians in particular being so divisive? I believe the problem is a case of self-importance.

Just this last week Michael Moore went on Mr. Colbert’s show and called for an “army of satire” against President Trump, and applauded Melissa McCarthy for helping to bring down Sean Spicer.

Donald Trump consistently offers comedy gold, and I understand that. Comedians cannot help but dig in. However, the problem arises when they start to think of themselves as something more than they are. Comedians are supposed to be entertainers, not public crusaders of liberalism.

Even more, there was once a time when they entertained all people, not just liberal ones. Johnny Carson ridiculed those on both sides of the aisle. It is, therefore, no surprise that he is remembered just as endearingly in conservative households as in liberal ones. If you want to attack politicians, fine. It can make for great comedy. Be fair, however. Have fun with both sides. 

Conservatives own televisions too, believe it or not, and ridiculing them incessantly is bad for business and for the morale of the country.

Matthew Jacobs, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is studying for his Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes about the intersection of religion and secularism in the United States.

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