Today’s comedians often set the jokes aside during their monologues.
We saw it over the weekend during Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner act. It’s more commonly seen on late night shows across the TV landscape. Sometimes you have to wonder, “where’s the joke?”
They’ve moved on from that position in the Age of Trump. Now, it’s all about speaking “truth to power” between the punchlines.
They avoided that policy while President Barack Obama’s IRS targeted innocent Americans. They also stood down when Obama’s health care overhaul delivered on few of its promises.
Still, liberal comics have fully embraced the “truth to power” mode of late. Comedian Lou Perez and We the Internet TV offered a wake-up call to said comics, particularly those worrying President Donald Trump will haul them away for mocking him.
Relax. It’s still America.
“It ain’t so brave to call Trump a fascist when the guy doesn’t have the power to BE a fascist,” Perez says in the video. “We never fear being hauled off to court or jailed.”
Why? Because that’s the system in place, and President Trump hasn’t dismantled it. Perez says that speaks to a larger truth, one often overlooked in our crazed 24/7 news cycle.
“The United States is the only country on the planet where a comedian can make comedy without fear of state reprisal,” he continues before recalling freedom-snuffing efforts in Germany, Canada and more.
Consider the case of a YouTuber named Count Dankula. He was convicted of a hate crime in Scotland. His crime? He shot a video with a pug doing a Heil Hitler salute.
That’s not fake news. And, for now, it wouldn’t happen in the U.S.
The video tweaks some of the celebrities who vowed to renounce their homeland if a certain election didn’t go their way.
“During the 2016 presidential campaigns a lot of people threatened to flee the country if Trump won,” he says, with images of Lena Dunham and Chelsea Handler decorating the screen. “Of course, they didn’t. Why would they? They can safely mock the president right here in the good ol’ USA.”
That happens every night on TV screens across the country. Thank heavens for that, he says.
“They should serve as a reminder of how good we have it here in the United States, and how vigilant we must be to make sure it stays that way. Because I’m not brave enough to speak truth to power if it means having to pay a fine or go to jail. No, I’d rather stick to telling jokes about Donald Trump .. who is literally worse than Pug Hitler.”
BONUS: HiT interview with We the Internet’s Lou Perez