(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Far-Left journalism outlet Vox recently published a confused article addressing conservative comedy show Gutfeld!, expressing bewilderment at its popularity and openly admitting that they do not understand it at all.
The show has a similar format to Stewart’s The Daily Show, opening with a monologue and ending with a guest interview where they discuss and joke about various topics.
Constance Grady, author of the article, is astounded by the irreverent way Gutfeld! addresses topics that are, according to her, a matter of life and death.
“Racism: over, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to con you. Democracy: absolutely not under siege, and you only think it is because of scaremongering from the left,” Grady wrote. “Liberals: humorless and earnest and virtue-signaling and just so fucking prudish, absolutely determined to spoil your good time, about as edgy as a teddy bear.”
She also goes on to chastise Gutfeld for criticizing woke comedians for folding to social pressure, despite the extreme difference in ratings between their shows.
Gutfeld! consistently pulls in 2 million viewers a night, outpacing The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
The author then goes on to wonder what went wrong—in the 2000s and 2010s, liberal comedians were all the rage.
“Any joke related to George W. Bush was almost certain to be at his expense, not a joke he made himself,” she wrote.
Leftists are mystified by Gutfeld! all around, with The Atlantic calling it “where comedy goes to die.”
In order to get an informed answer on why this could be, Grady went to some expert “humor theorists” for answers. Their verdict is that Gutfeld! cannot be funny because humor must be “based in reality,” and conservative beliefs are—apparently—not realistic.
“For humor to be funny, it needs to be somehow based in reality,” said Teresa Prados-Torreira, historian and head of the American Humor Studies Association. “Humor exaggerates and you want to emphasize what is grotesque, but it has to be based on something accurate.”
“If your joke is about Hillary Clinton eating babies, that’s untrue, so it’s not going to be funny,” she added. “The connection to reality is getting more tenuous for conservative people.”
In an attempt to reinforce her argument, Grady cites a joke about Trump’s connections to Russia—a relationship proven in court to be a Democrat ruse.
“’Why are Trump’s ties so long? Because they go all the way to Russia,'” she wrote. “To get the joke, you have to know that Trump has lots of connections to Russia that are likely deeply corrupt, and then you have to apply that knowledge to the pun.”
She then cites communications scholar Dannagal Young, who claims puns are too “cognitively taxing” for conservatives, and are preferred by people with “a high tolerance for ambiguity.”
While she believes liberals are much funnier than conservatives generally, Grady admits the power of Gutfeld! seems to have swayed the political power of humor back towards the Right.
“It’s a political asset, an electoral asset,” says media scholar Matt Sienkiewicz. “Good for recruiting young people, renewing the coalition and keeping it moving forward. I think that’s important and definitely happening on the right.”