Again, I’m probably breaking a lot of laws now, but as part of an academic seminar two weeks ago, Uoft Professor Rob King did it freestyle and talked about “A Brief Moment for Sincerity, or, What Do Jon Stewart and Charlie Chaplin Have in Common?” Obviously the most enticing title of the bunch.
One of these things is not like the others:
Prof. King says that with some exception, comedians making their way into political speech lose their comedy. I’m one of those people obtuse enough to think that everything is political, I even see the Three Stooges short with a sociopolitical interpretation. The food fight represents the deconstruction of the bourgeoisie. Chaplin and Stewart must be sincere, talking in a hallowed language because of a sense of urgency to bring their country men back into sanity. I still think, however, that they’re just as political when they’re being funny – we can see this when Fox News attacks Stewart’s lack of integrity which is funny because Stewart never needed integrity in his show. I know that that’s a passive aggressive way of saying that they should keep their day jobs, but it’s not like they want Obama to show up on Open Mic Wednesdays. Both men are just more effectively political in their usual methods. I don’t know if that answers Prof. King’s question or not, though.