Conservative comedian Owen Benjamin recently collaborated with PregerU to discuss the state of comedy in America, or as Benjamin puts it, “the strange death of comedy.”
Although comedy’s obvious goal is to make the audience laugh, it also serves a greater purpose. Owen explains, “Comedy is important. Why? Because it’s a pressure valve that allows us to discuss uncomfortable truths in a friendly way.” However, unlike today’s late-night hosts that perform only for applause, comedians must still work towards the goal of making us laugh.
Benjamin says that one of the greatest dangers to comedy is the rise of identity politics. Identity politics, just to clarify, put a greater value on a person’s race or gender, rather than the substance of their argument. As a comedian, he tries to satirize the prominence of identity politics, but notes that multiple famous actors have completely missed his satire, and attacked him for his lack of compassion.
He also points out that people are so engrained in their political beliefs, that they refuse to acknowledge “shared assumptions” that we should all agree are facts, like that Hitler was a “bad, bad man.” If we can’t agree on basic facts, or acknowledge obvious absurdities, how can we agree on what’s funny?