Comedy, Truth to Power?

Comedians are well respected around the world. They are considered incredibly intelligent and fearless. I will admit, that delivery and stage presence is a skill. With that being said, do comedians really speak truth to power? When “punching up” it all depends on where “up” is.

The court jester, although a comedian, was employed by the monarchy, to make fun of the empire’s enemies. Never to make fun of the crown they are employed by. That would be sure death.

I can appreciate comedy and from time to time, I find it humorous as well.

Like the court jesters of old, the comedians of today, must toe the line as well, if they want to be paid and further employed.

Always remember, speaking truth to power and punching up, all depends on where “up” is. The truth of the matter is, that which we are not supposed to find funny or that which we are not supposed to question, remains in power. If comedy is to remain, they must only poke fun at the powerful’s enemies, not the powerful themselves.

In closing, a question.

Who or what will you never make fun of in public?

What are you afraid to speak against or question?

If something is funny, it shouldn’t matter who’s feelings were hurt.

Comedy, speaking truth to power? Not the comedians, that’s for sure.


78 thoughts on “Comedy, Truth to Power?

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      Who wouldn’t Carlin talk about. That’s what you have to ask, not what he was saying, but what he wouldn’t say.

        1. bottomlesscoffee007

          So, is Carlin the patron saint of comedy? Is he beyond reproach? I wonder what Carlin would think of him being made untouchable? Kinda the opposite of what he talked about, right?

          1. What do you mean, he’s beyond reproach? I was just saying he fought the system, and fought for free speech, in his own way, and took some knocks for it. There’s no way in hell he was a perfect person! Or a perfect comedian even.

            1. bottomlesscoffee007

              I just don’t think that he was as dangerous as he was and is made out to be, he protected many people, not all people were free game in his acts.

              1. Marleen

                I went to see Carlin once with someone who thought he was great. He was terrible. He may have been arrested for saying some “bad words” but I think his approach was a bastardization of what came before him.

        2. bottomlesscoffee007

          Yeah, Snoops been arrested in the past as well, and now he is a foot soldier of the system. I think snoop is a snitch also, if memory serves me right.

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      Thanks Nova. It seems like a positive story. My only question is, what does the hiring process consist of? Are they verifying their citizenship status? Are they deducting social security and Medicare and other taxes and fees as well? How will these homeless people file their taxes, without a home address?

      I can appreciate that employing people that need it, but I just wanna make sure, that the law applies to them as well and their employers.

        1. bottomlesscoffee007

          It’s the same thing sanitary workers and janitors do. Do you think that type of work is demeaning?

          1. I do not. Litter fines should pay someone to clean our planet. People are indirectly paying the homeless by Littering.
            I wish I knew how to find out about the hiring process. Maybe it’s a time for cash exchange.

              1. I do believe litter fines should be taken more seriously. I understand law enforcement have huge lists of more important matters; but, it’s society’s responsibility to keep our “ property” clean. Maybe even a joint effort of some churches with law enforcement, maybe local high schools with some kind of charity.

                    1. No… people willing to create and conduct volunteer community clean up so our neighborhoods look better.
                      Google water pollution in the DR. We have to start doing something differently.. and paying homeless 9.25 an hour isn’t the only answer.

                    2. bottomlesscoffee007

                      A “thank you” is nice, but empty somewhere. A “mighty obliged” really means something when Ben says it. I can understand what your getting at, but people still need to eat. Please and thank you only go so far, after awhile, even a blowjob seems like work.

                    3. bottomlesscoffee007

                      Who’s getting the immediate benefit? A clean community only matters to those who want their community to appear a certain way. Even then, is a yard full of weeds uglier than a yard with grass? What is the difference between a weed and grass? Who says which one is more appropriate?

                      Like I said, I can understand your frustration with littler. But maybe litter creates more jobs. There’s always a give and a take for everything.

                      People still gotta eat and live.

                      20+ years into recycling and it doesn’t seem like recycling even works. I

                    4. bottomlesscoffee007

                      So, don’t pay people? Horde the money? Again, what is the immediate reward? The keyword being “immediate”.

                      Who decides what looks better? Who is the authority on looks and appearances?

                      Why can’t the Dominican Republic handle their own water?

                      What’s the problem with paying homeless people for services rendered?

              2. What just crossed my mind about the homeless being paid to clean up the litter is that the outdoors of this planet is their home, more so than those of us who have an apartment or a house. We wouldn’t want them coming to our house and destroying it. I’m sure they’re not appreciative of our littering. Maybe I’m thinking too much into this.

                1. bottomlesscoffee007

                  Nova, I think the idea that the outside is the equivalent of the homeless’s home, is flawed. Just my opinion.

      1. I love your reply on the paying homeless story. You raise such valuable points. Accountability. It’s what we should be demanding. Not settling for feel good ideas that are fluff to hide (possibly) irresponsible spending of our taxes. We’ve all grown too complacent, too accepting of a story with a happy ending. We have a responsibility to question everything and not to stop until we’re satisfied.

        1. bottomlesscoffee007

          Hell yeah Britchy. We’ve need to exercise the muscle that reminds us that “the man” is out to screw us over, regardless of party, regardless of popularity.

  1. Marleen

    I don’t remember the details, now, but I fairly recently saw some kind of documentary about comedians. The part about Lenny Bruce made me cry. I think I’m remembering the name correctly; he was before my time. He was determinedly ruined — or seriously hampered —financially.

      1. Marleen

        I don’t remember except that it wasn’t considered acceptable for him to say what he was saying. I think it was during the Civil Rights Movement.

          1. Marleen


            Posthumous Pardon for Lenny Bruce Is No Joke
            In the Fray
            By Nat Hentoff
            Updated May 29, 2003 12:01 am ET
            “You don’t understand,” Lenny Bruce once told his mother, Sally Marr, herself a comic. “I’m not a comedian. Do comedians get arrested all the time?”


            I think he is where the saying originated about wearing a cross being like wearing an electric chair (something not unheard-of for conservative-type Christian preachers to say now). I heard a better comparison, recently; people going through the desert to get to our border and dying in the sun of dehydration.

            1. bottomlesscoffee007

              I think we immortalize based on the current climate. What once was taboo, is now something to be prideful and boastful about.

              Isn’t it funny how long Christian and conservative jokes have been popular for now? Not a lot of gay jokes out there or jokes about migrants. Those jokes will get you fired. Sure, one here or there will be forgiven, but overall. If a comedian wants to get paid, then they will do as they are told, or figure a way around it.

              Isn’t it weird that comedians will talk about how everyone needs to pitch in, yet those comedians have a ton of money, and they never open their own wallet or their own homes to strangers.

              1. Marleen

                That’s a response about Lenny Bruce?

                I think it’s better to make a joke about abusive priests than about desperate people with water being taken away from them.

                    1. bottomlesscoffee007

                      Is it really? Am I not good with the direction I am headed? Is it confusing to read?

  2. Very thought-provoking post! Comedy always intrigues me. I do think that a really skilled comedian can broach controversial issues in a way which can make light of something serious, expose the flaws in social taboos, and spark dialog without sparking fights.
    I still think the purpose of humor is to diffuse tenseness, and it can be well used during times like now. There are plenty of comedians today who do this. They take lots of flak for it!
    Jerry Seinfeld approached it brilliantly. When he hosted SNL, he held a Q&A at the beginning.
    When asked a racially-charged question, he admitted fault, sassed back, exposed how dumb the question was, and didn’t apologize all at once, and nobody was upset. That’s how much a good comedian can do.

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      Thank you FH. I think we only see or hear what has been agreed upon, behind closed doors and everything is rehearsed. I guess there are chances of surprise questions.

      I do appreciate comedy and comedians. I just don’t think that they are as rebellious as they seem on the surface. They are skilled at their craft, and that is after years of practice.

      In the end, revenue is the determining factor, so because revenue is the bottom line, they must toe the line.

  3. Some good questions.

    Comedy in recent times has become… dangerous (please, spare me your: “It’s always been that way.”

    I don’t think anything should be forbidden, but I do believe in being tactful. I do cringe a little when someone says a joke after joke after a joke about religion.

    To me, it’s not really about the topic, but the ability to make people laugh. I used to laugh back in the day. Even if I didn’t agree with something, I was still able to admit that it was funny. I can laugh at myself, and I think that helps. Today, the jokes are more unified in theme. They get boring after a while. Tiring and not funny at all.

    If you were a comedian, would you want applause or laughter?

  4. Some comedians have noted that it is harder to poke fun nowadays.
    BTW, in the Winter Kill sequel (don’t worry, I AM working on Winter Kill) I am going to have a scene where Racquel, Britchy, you, J-M, and I are going to have a movie marathon one night and I thought it would be funny for us to get into a friendly argument about some movies (inspired by you and I disagreeing on Mamma Mia and Titanic, LOL) and I was wondering:
    What movies would you strongly recommend/love to watch?
    What movies would you hate to watch?
    What movies would you agree to watch?

                1. bottomlesscoffee007

                  Troy, with Brad Pitt and Eric Bana? There’s hardly any nudity at all. Too many muscular and sweaty men for me!

                    1. bottomlesscoffee007

                      Alcoholics Anonymous, there supposed to help people to stop drinking, but they know all the best brands! Untapped knowledge base.

      1. Would you agree to watch the Back To The Future movies; Star Wars; MCU; James Bond; Disney movies; Indiana Jones; the Jurassic Park movies; Harry Potter; Alien; The Finest Hours…???

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