Using comedy to reverse, or promote bunk

Leifer

Senior Member.
Without getting into a large discussion of the definition and structure of comedy, a simple description might be:
"....to reveal an ironic revelation of commonly held beliefs, in a witty satirical tone" (my def.)

Wikipedia's definition of Satire is:
Although a lot can be remarked here about the 'history of comedy', I am no scholar, and neither are most people.....so let's focus on recent history. This is not a retrospective of all comedy. Briefly though....the early medium of television (and radio) took comedy into the home, from where it had previously existed.....in publications, on stage, in clubs, on the street, from traveling shows, etc.
Early political satire, in the form of drawn cartoons........Caricature_gillray_plumpudding.jpg


Publications, Television, and Radio media have often had their viewpoint or stance expressed in terms of comedy.....sometimes the ideas are cross-barrier, sometimes they are rigidly one-sided.
And let's not forget, that comedy can make a (any) topic....enjoyable. In the 20th century, comedy had become a premiere method of expressing difficult subjects, to ordinary people.


When does comedy reveal "bunk" ??
When does comedy support "bunk" ?

George Carlin seemed not afraid to....both enhance a conspiracy, as well as bust them.......

Bill Maher speaks sense to his audience, but then has unique ideas on certain subjects like vaccines and ???.
Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and the Steven Colbert spinoff (both are "info-comedy" shows) show a good percentage of people "believe" what they say..........according Pew Research.....
John Oliver's HBO show "Last week with John Oliver" does do a decent job at exposing ironic truths for laughter......


Fox news recently debuted Greg Gutfeld as their new politi-comedian.

England's "hard-to-understand-if-you-weren't-british-born" Russel Brand..... is all over the place. I won't burden you with an example.
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
England's "hard-to-understand-if-you-weren't-british-born" Russel Brand..... is all over the place. I won't burden you with an example.
And thanks for that.

When does comedy reveal "bunk" ??
When does comedy support "bunk" ?
When it acts out a premise to an absurd extreme, exposing it's poor logical foundation.
It supports bunk when it promotes s straw-man version of the idea being parodied.
So I guess it's just a matter of accuracy in execution.
But accuracy isn't as funny as exaggeration, so sometimes the laugh takes precedent over fair portrayal.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Steven Colbert spinoff (both are "info-comedy" shows) show a good percentage of people "believe" what they say
how are you defining a good percentage? according to your link its really only a small percentage of consistent liberal men between the ages of 18 and 29.

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so.. forgive my bad math skills. thats 1.5% of mostly men who watch the show, believe it. :) just saying. The colbert report is funny though sometimes.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
National Report is a good example of maybe promoting bunk by not taking things to enough of an extreme to make the satire obvious. It just invents credible stories based on similar trends in real headlines, but doesn't take it so far that it's obviously not true. They're often pretty believable, and there's not always an obvious comedic value to them.
Maybe the comedy value is in just trolling people, if you're into that sort of thing.

 

Auldy

Senior Member.
This nifty video explains how humour comes from the unexpected. We laugh when the logical conclusion of something is upended and made unexpected.


What surprises the brains makes us smile, and when learn what surprises us, which is why jokes become less funny the more you hear them.

Assuming the science is right, maybe when satire supports/reveal bunk, people laugh and learn, and more anti or pro opinions are formed.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and the Steven Colbert spinoff (both are "info-comedy" shows) show a good percentage of people "believe" what they say..........according Pew Research.....

They (the regular audiences for those shows) don't believe the satire though, they believe the underlying message of the satire. I think this is because the audience, and the show writers and hosts, are largely youngish liberals. I'm a fan of both shows.

Unfortunately though, joking about a topic sometimes backfires:


I've generally dissuaded the use of comedy, as it comes across as mocking. I've had to delete a few cartoons from the "debunking humor" thread and elsewhere.

Do Fox News viewers become more critical of their station's misrepresentations after watching the Daily Show? I think the answer is obvious - Fox News viewers don't watch the Daily show, and if they happen to see it they would simply think it's biased "liberal media". The Daily Show is largely preaching to the choir as entertainment. Sure it "informs" us what the top topics are in the news, it sometimes brings awareness to issues for the liberal community, but does it change minds? Does it correct bunk?
 

vitorino

Member
I've generally dissuaded the use of comedy, as it comes across as mocking. I've had to delete a few cartoons from the "debunking humor" thread and elsewhere.

I would argue we shouldn't be too strict on this. Comedy does help to make a point, as we agree from the examples above. Is someone "mocking" another because he satirized his post/words/actions? I think it depends where one is coming from: trying to make a point or just trying to humiliate. In the end it doesn't really hurt, so leniency is requested.

The Daily Show is largely preaching to the choir as entertainment. Sure it "informs" us what the top topics are in the news, it sometimes brings awareness to issues for the liberal community, but does it change minds? Does it correct bunk?
Does debunking change minds? I'd say some. It ends up reaching other people than its regular viewers. Kind of like a TV Show; I give comedy at least that power. In fact, ancient scholars already were aware of its power in making truths obvious, and therefore dangerous for a state/class system.
 
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Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
Is someone "mocking" another because he satirized his post/words/actions? I think it depends where one is coming from: trying to make a point or just trying to humiliate.
The fellow doing the mocking often feels he/she is making a point, just 'having a laugh', or even doing it in a spirit of friendliness, but it often comes across very differently to the target. I learned this the hard way, as I suspect most people here have.
Does debunking change minds? I'd say some. It ends up reaching other people than its regular viewers. Kind of like a TV Show; I give comedy at least that power. In fact, ancient scholars already were aware of its power in making truths obvious, and therefore dangerous for a state/class system.
That's true, and comedy can also make your point more memorable. It's kind of like a scalpel - use it carefully and you've done a great job, but be a little too enthusiastic and you've killed your patient.
 
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Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
Another problem with the use of satire is that it can only be used to impart blunt, nuance-less messages, and is therefore inimical to intelligent discussion when overused.
 

vitorino

Member
The fellow doing the mocking often feels he/she is making a point, just 'having a laugh', or even doing it in a spirit of friendliness; but it often comes across very differently to the target. I learned this the hard way, as I suspect most people here have.

That's true, and comedy can also make your point more memorable. It's kind of like a scalpel - use it carefully and you've done a great job, but be a little too enthusiastic and you've killed your patient.

Yes, it depends where you're coming from; use common sense
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Do Fox News viewers become more critical of their station's misrepresentations after watching the Daily Show? I think the answer is obvious - Fox News viewers don't watch the Daily show, and if they happen to see it they would simply think it's biased "liberal media".

I've played clips of the Colbert Show at work, during lunch break. My republican friends watched too, and we all laughed.
Oh yes, they certainly classify it as "liberal media" (it is).....and I doubt it changed their political beliefs, that was not my intent. They were able to laugh at the irony the show presented.
Comedy often examines an idea we hold, and presents it at a different and somewhat extreme perspective...that's the twist.
Comedy is attractive to a wide audience, and the subject matter can cross barriers not normally treaded in otherwise typical exchanges between people.
This doesn't always work though....a white comedian will have a difficult time using the word "nigger" to a black audience, where as black comedians can get away with it. That is a bit off subject, but the point is....people with a "closed-door" attitude will open it a bit, if it makes them laugh. Though, as you stated elsewhere..."mocking" is ineffective, and can actually tighten a closed door.

Would (do) my republican friends choose to watch Colbert on their own...other than seeing it because I played it at work? I doubt it, but I'll ask them.
 
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