Bennett Morgan writes
Is comedy, in the UK and the US at least an avoided genre by conservatives?
The best thing happened yesterday. I was stumbling through a hardrive, probably around 2.30 in the morning, unable to sleep due to my new timeclock, when I came across a folder. In it was season 21 of The Simpsons, a season I was soon to discover I hadn’t seen before.
In less than a day i had devoured most of it’s episodes. No matter how old I am, I think i will always enjoy the show. I would have perhaps been around five years old when i first started watching the classic Fox series, enjoying the simple storylines following a hilariously dysfunctional yet sometimes relatable family. As I get older and more aware, I begin to understand a few jokes I simply wouldn’t have picked up on at the tender age of six, or even anywhere up to my early teens. It takes a certain switched-on kind of mind to get every joke in the show, even now I probably don’t pick up on all of it’s references. I think that is part of what makes the show so enjoyable, is you can go back and watch it again and again, at any age, and always feel like you’re rediscovering something.
The Simpsons is itself a basic commentary of the ‘American dream’, or the lack of one. The original Simpsons family is based around the Norwegian-German immigrant family of Matt Groening, one of the forefathers of the Simpsons series.
Groening’s political views are not secret, he is a member of the Democratic Party, and his shows are noted for taking constant swipes at the right-wing Republican Party and even it’s associated network, Fox, which his shows air on.
In The Simpsons Groening portrays the ‘Springfiled Republican Party’ headquarters as a spooky castle ontop of a hill with lightning bolts striking in the background. Among it’s members include the sinister and greedy Mr. Burns and Count Dracula, a murderous psychopath named Sideshow Bob and a man plainly named ‘Rich Texan’.
The times in which the show has taken a swipe against the Republicans and Fox is well-documented, here are a few extremely enjoyable cases;
Firstly the swipes at FOX:
And the party itself:
Of course Groening has also produced the series Futurama. Set from the year 3000 onwards, Republican president Richard Nixon returns as half robot and takes back office. Throughout the series Groening drops numerous stabs at the Republicans, which include Nixon stating “That’s my style, I like to kick ’em when they’re down!”. In another episode, Nixon addresses a crowd of fans in which he expresses his heartfelt right-wing beliefs to ‘crush the poor’. Fry, a delivery man, and the main character cheers in glee. Leila, his colleague reminds Fry that he is poor. Fry replies that whilst he is poor now, he hopes he won’t be soon and then ‘poor people like me better watch out!’.
Doesn’t that just perfectly sum up the attitude of working/middle class National voters?
Then there’s Seth McFarlane and his well-known creations of Family Guy and American Dad. McFarlane, also employed by Fox, is, like Groening, a Democratic Party donor with strong left-wing views. The satirical view of the right-wing comes through evidently in McFarlane’s projects too;
After watching years of comedy shows, and stand-up comedians like Louis C.K, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Bailey and so on, I have finally noticed this pattern. There is no right-wing comedy, at least no mainstream right-wing comedy.
Why the hell is this? When do right-wing people find a time to laugh at comedic performances when they all clearly have a liberal bias? I am very intrigued.