From sitcoms to satire: how comedy is becoming news
Q: How many feminists do you need to change a bulb? A: That's not funny!
If that famous joke about political correctness may seem moldy now, it is because humor depends on the social context; What works for one generation may seem unfortunately dated to the next.
That is why television comedy is a completely different genre today. As the audience's taste changes, the genre has moved from jokes or jokes of poor quality to situational and cerebral humor. Once, the simple jokes of Charlie Chaplin and I Love Lucy were enough to laugh. But today's millennials have a more sophisticated sensitivity.
The new sitcoms speak to a more self-aware and socially aware audience. Due to the possibilities of being called online by stereotypes or careless insensibilities, and also because a new generation of writers is more aware of diversity, television programs are now more inclusive and stratified than ever.
One of the genres that thrives today is the nightly comedy. Although news television has become more trivial and spiteful, young people turn to television and satire online to keep up with the news.
This change occurred a couple of decades ago in the United States, especially in the Bush era: comedy became political as politics became a spectacle more than before on ideological television platforms.
Comedy news shows touch the sensitive fiber
The Daily Show, the original Jon Stewart concept, which began in 1996, parodied the cable news format. The breach of duty by conventional television news was the reason why comedy shows became so popular. They also played a chord with young cynics, confirmed their feeling that the people in charge were ridiculous.
A 2014 Pew Research Center survey showed that 12% of Americans online cited The Daily Show as a place where they received their news. This audience participation was on par with that of USA Today (12%) and The Huffington Post (13%) among 36 different media that were part of the survey. That participation is probably greater today, as The Daily Show now presented by Trevor Noah, John Oliver's Last Week Tonight, Stephen Colbert's The Late Show and others offer ingenious criticism of political events.
Colbert aptly describes his program as an explanatory deconstruction of the news of the day, while The Patriot Act, presented by, is a mixture of journalism and standing comedy. Backed by solid writing, research and verification of facts, with the help of graphics and video clips, these programs combine information and comedy.
Also in India, this sensitivity has been extended with home-grown satire on web platforms, with material that addresses current events with a jokey touch.
Memes and mashups, standup routines are available on social networks along with dedicated programs that skewer the news and the creators of news.