Thursday, January 7, 2021

Serious Humor

When things get so serious that they become difficult to carry on our small shoulders, laughter helps let some of the air out of that heavy balloon and allows us to take the next step forward. I—and I suspect many—don’t know how I would have gotten through the last four years without Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah. I needed to know the news, but simply could not bear to hear it from Fox “News,” CNN or even the New York Times. So to have it delivered with humor without minimizing the outrage was just the ticket.


Americans are good at a certain kind of comedy. Everything is fair game to make fun of and comedians do it constantly. The ones that attract me carry certain values I care about and an intelligence I admire— Eddie Izzard, Paula Poundstone, some of Robin Williams, along with Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. My favorite moments with all of the above are when the roar of laughter is brought down to a thoughtful silence and the comedian speaks for a few moments with great sincerity and vulnerability about the things that need to be said and tenderly considered instead of defensively laughed at. 


So in the aftermath of yesterday’s enormous rip in the fabric of democratic process, I was hoping that Stephen Colbert would speak directly and honestly and step off of the comedy platform. He didn’t disappoint. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do and watch him talk directly to all those who enabled yesterday to happen, particularly the Republican Senators who missed the lecture on shame when they chose to go into public service. And the reminder for us voters to remember this day in 2022.


I am so weary of these shameless, spineless, self-serving, s.o.b.’s and hope that we all follow Stacey Abram’s model to get rid of them. They—including their he-who-shall-not-be-named leader—are only where they are by the agreement of the citizens who elect and sustain them and the many others in the middle who allow themselves to be bamboozled, brainwashed and gaslighted without exercising a single muscle of their capacity for critical thought and sincere ethical standards. 


The one scene I hoped to see (knowing it would never happen) was that guy spouting his crap at a rally and the audience being deadly silent, not picking up the balls of hate and lies he was throwing out, watching him get more and more desperate without the feedback he craves and then simply have the crowd silently walk away while he continues to rant and rave to an empty stadium. (Hollywood filmmakers, I give you this image for free. Run with it!)


At the end of that dark night of desperate insurrection, a new day dawns. Biden now has officially won (again), the Democrats control the Presidency, the Cabinet Posts, the House, the Senate and perhaps soon, the Supreme Court and our hopes on that distant horizon have now moved so much closer, within our reach. Stephen and Trevor will still make us laugh, but without the sense that we need them to keep from going insane.The serious and the humorous will walk hand-in-hand and someday, without gloves or masks. 


It’s a new day.


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