This is a never ending problem, isn’t it?
Around 200 people walked out of Amy Schumer‘s show in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday when she called Donald Trump a “orange, sexual-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The paper claimed Schumer was met with loud booing about halfway through the show when her jokes switched from raunchy topics to more topical matters, including gun control and the upcoming presidential election.
Artists, actors, writers, comedians – and I use those terms charitably – of a left-wing bent cannot resist the temptation to use their popularity as a platform to sound off on politics. The result is usually tedious in the extreme. Take this by way of example:
During her show, she asked a Trump supporter to join her up on stage so he could explain why he was voting for the GOP candidate. The audience member responded that he was voting for Trump mainly because he didn’t trust his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
People paid money to go to a comedy show and found themselves in a political Q&A session. No wonder there was booing.
This comes from living in a bubble. I am sure Schumer’s hilarious jokes about Trump go down a storm among some audiences, i.e. those who share her politics to the letter. They then take their show to the wider world and find nobody is laughing. I remember when Chris Rock first burst onto the scene with Bring the Pain, which was fresh, pithy, and hilariously funny mainly because he was providing an insight into black American culture that had never been described in such terms before. Fast forward a few years and he’s on stage saying “Barack Obama! Barack Obama!” and his audience is going wild. This isn’t comedy it’s politics, and it only works if your audience shares your political view.
Not that you can’t make money out of it. John Oliver seems to do extremely well out of telling sophisticated, educated Europeans and Democrat-voting Americans how thick Americans are. But he’s preaching to the converted: they’re not laughing because he’s funny, they’re laughing because he is telling them what they want to hear and allows them to feel smugly superior. A decent joke shouldn’t depend on who you want to win an election.
I don’t know if right-wing comedians do the same. I expect they do, but they don’t get allotted the same airtime on the likes of the BBC and regular columns in newspapers. I also expect right-wing comedians would be hounded out of the studio by a baying mob of the Permanently Outraged if they broached any subject which was even remotely controversial, i.e. immigration. I suspect a lot of this has to do with state funding, with any budding artist or comedian needing to pass a strict political test before being commissioned.
If this keeps up, the arts in the west is going to look like that of Enver Hoxha’s Albania after a decade or two.