Can Comedy Bring The Left And The Right Together? | Opinion

Ask almost anyone in America today about the political climate, and they will likely tell you our country has never been more divided. But if you ask many of the country's greatest comedians, they may tell you something different.

There is change in the air. In a recent interview, liberal comedian Bill Maher said, "For the first time in my life, I'm playing to a mixed audience...about 60-40 liberal to conservative. That never used to happen, never."

Comedian Dave Chappelle—whose jokes about radical gender theory were met with predictable outrage from keyboard warriors and predictable praise from the right-wing Fox News crowd—is still beloved by comedy fans on the Left and the Right. "If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," he said.

These comedians are tapping into a cultural realignment—traditional leftists and traditional conservatives united against the tyranny of a very small ruling class that doesn't want us to be free to think, say and do what we believe to be right. The backlash against "wokeism" has begun.

For years now, people have been told to "shut up" and accept extreme theories about gender identity that very few people actually believe, even if they pay lip service to it. They've been told they are irredeemably racist, and that the only cure is a complete dismantling of our society by a few radical revolutionaries. Most people aren't buying it anymore, but are too afraid to say anything out loud.

Dave Chappelle
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: Dave Chappelle looks on during UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Enter the comedians.

There is something that unites most people of good will in America, and it's the same thing that makes great comedy work: truth. We may not always agree on what the truth is, but we can't deny it when we hear it, especially when it's delivered with the kind of humor that can break down our partisan walls. Someone willing, with self-deprecating good faith, to go up on a stage and try to search out that truth with an audience can disarm, and can unite.

And the truth is, we as human beings are flawed (or is that just me?). Comedy serves to remind us of that fact. To me, the essence of a good joke is a proud, well-dressed man slipping on a banana peel. Comedy is at its best when it reminds us we are all that proud, well-dressed man. Even we at The Babylon Bee, with our admittedly conservative and Christian slant, are at our best when we're making fun of our own silliness and hypocrisy. Whether on the Left or the Right, we are all sinful, fallible and silly in our own ways. And that's what's such a threat to our—or any other—ruling class. They can't be thought of that way. They must be praised, adored and above all, obeyed.

What's uniting the Left and the Right today is a shared realization that our elites are silly, and should be laughed at often, lest they get the idea they really do deserve to run our lives for us.

As satirists and comedians, we are here to call out lies, hypocrisy and pride—whether they come from those in power or ourselves. Today's comedy is helping everyday people see who the real enemies are: those who want power over our lives, and who can't laugh at themselves.

It's possible that comedy isn't uniting the country so much as it's showing the world how united we already are, outside the fake worlds of Facebook and Twitter. And that's something ruling elites, tyrants and the bureaucratic moral busybodies can't allow. They want you to think you're alone. And our shared laughter directed at them is the most terrifying sound in the world.

Joel Berry is Managing Editor of The Babylon Bee and co-author of The Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.