No truth is required in any comedy, whether punching down or up, only generalizations. I’m not knocking comedy just saying it like it is.
Attaching particular people or groups to common tropes puts them in a category that’s understood by the audience. Whether that’s true or fair is inconsequential to the purpose of comedy, which is to make people laugh and it does.
When a comedian says “there’s truth in comedy” is the equivalent of a politician or used car salesman saying “believe me, I know what I’m saying. I’m being real with you now”.
Maybe they believe it. Maybe it’s a marketing tool. But I’m automatically suspicious of anybody in the public eye when they make money or influence off the public. It’s a one-way communication situation and they have a large audience.
I used to hold up some comedians as sacred beings. Flawed but holders of great truths that also had the power to make me laugh, breaking through my stoicism.
George Carlin was one of my favorites for decades but I had a few others.
But a few years ago, I decided to be an iconoclast to each and every one of them and damn it’s hard to do. They’re religious leaders as powerful as any cult leader and they have a unique grip because they made us laugh and grabbed a permanent pipeline to our ears and minds.
We adopt their opinions as our own and will defend them against any enemy, creating justifications for every attack, all to protect our comedic idols.
I do it too and I laugh at comedians. I’m not trying to be unkind to them or you. But I find the social aspects of stand up comedians to be fascinating in their ability as thought leaders — and the willingness of their fans to listen to what they have to say with their guards down from laughing — as I do when the comedy is of a dehumanizing kind — which is why yes I agree with you that punching up is more valid than punching down – precisely for this reason.
That’s the phrase I keep forgetting.
They have a bully pulpit that I hope they use wisely
Thank you for putting up with my confusion – and I seem to have given a poor example with the comedy as it didn’t come across properly. I was primarily referring to comedy that mocks activism and how that is used to silence activist ideas as equivalent to having your debate ideas silenced by a ‘be kind”.
But it is probably not equivalent because of the one way nature of stand up comedy vs the two way nature of in person debate.
So, it was a bad example on my part that didn’t match.