R.F.Wilson reports from London: Have you heard about President Obama’s uncle, who has been living in the US as an illegal immigrant for about 25 years or so and then got busted for drink driving – and it all came out. Well, recently he’s been allowed to stay in the US permanently, with no pressure coming from the White House, we were told.
Is it not the stuff for a great comedy sketch or a barrage of really funny jokes? You know, the commander-in-chief’s relatives – his aunt has also been living as an illegal immigrant in America before getting the green card all of a sudden – settling in the US illegally and so on. But did American comedians picked this up? Nope, they didn’t. Were it a Republican president then the jokes would not have stopped.
Just like it’s considered bad taste for comedians to remind everyone that President Obama was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize after three weeks in office, in advance, having done nothing for peace. Smacked of good old Soviet Union or North Korea, but somehow the funny side was lost for mainstream comedians. And I’m even not mentioning lots of other occasions, including, of course, the latest one when Mr Obama was having fun at the Nelson Mandel memorial service, making a selfie with some friends of his, laughing a lot and chewing gum, for which he richly deserved to be ridiculed by the comedy lot. But no, he got away with it. As in: what’ the big deal, Obama is only human, ain’t he?
And how about that buffoon Joe Biden, the US Vice President, a man who keeps on giving outstanding comedy material for anyone who cares to use it. Joe should have been hounded out of office by now by comedians. But he’s still there. Just like Bill and Hillary are there as well, even though they look like two cardsharps from New Orleans.
Yet the comedy crowd in the US is too busy laughing at George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and even Ronald Reagan, even though he’s been dead for a long time.
And if you cast your eyes on Britain you would encounter the same situation when it comes to political satire missing the point in a big way. Take Tony Blair, who’s been in power for 10 long years and has done a lot of nasty things but got away with it. He’s still around, popping up here and there and even lecturing everyone on what to do, and yet you won’t hear comedians here having a go at him. Just like you won’t hear much about former PM Gordon Brown who had successfully bankrupted the nation, along with his sidekick, Chancellor Alistair Darling. Not a pip and not a squeak. Funny they ain’t and have never been, you see.
The whole Labour party is one big joke, with Ed Miliband in charge, but somehow no one seems to see the funny side of these opportunists and chancers. And even in the supposedly hilarious portrayal of the Blair government, The Thick Of It, pretty much none of the disgraceful things done by Labour in power are revealed.
It’s not yet official but people who know will tell you that political satire has ceased to be. It has expired, kicked the bucket, is pushing up the daises or, if you prefer, feeding the fishes. I’m talking about mainstream satire here, not the stuff people tell each other in conversation, at work or in a bar, once they make sure that there’s no one from the PC police is listening or that none of the easily offended ones are lurking anywhere in the vicinity. Mainstream satire, the one people actually get paid for to perform, now resembles a set of dentures: they look like teeth but there’s no real bite to them.
You just have to look at so-called flagships satirical shows in the US and UK to get the taste of what satire is all about: Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show in the US and Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week in Britain. Funny and controversial these shows are not. They are stuffed by amateurs pretending to be witty and even risqué, who are so left-wing that if they tried to move even slightly more to the left, they would fall off the cliff. The stuff they come up with is mostly childish taking the piss humour that is biased towards the Left and is not even remotely entertaining. If anyone needed any concrete proof that mainstream political satire was dead, Saturday Night Live and HIGNFY would be the best indicators of that.
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