I recently read that The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who some say is funny(?) had used his show to make a preachy, lengthy speech about the nature of national identity, arguing that he’s right to celebrate the French World Cup players as both French and African. Why anyone would really care is beyond me. Then I came across an article in The Atlantic that argued the present crop of comedians see themselves (and also seen by their mostly ill-informed millennial audience) as the new public intellectuals, fashioning themselves not just as joke-tellers, but as truth-tellers, as intellectual and moral guides through the cultural debates of the moment. Yeah, let that sink in.
In the past, philosophers and political theorists held a public role of guiding national debates and parsing the nuances of current affairs. Nowadays, narcissistic comedians have appointed themselves to increasingly taking on that responsibility, but not doing a very good job.
Comedy is no less powerful a weapon today than in earlier decades, but what has changed is the environment and audiences that comedians address. Just as politics has become more partisan, so too has culture more broadly jaded and resistant to any ideas of which they don't completely agree. Comedians today are predominantly on the left of the political spectrum and cater to an audience that shares the same views. More and more comedians are losing the joke part altogether. Having become political comedians, they’re dropping the comedy, offering up instead propaganda, goofy skits and caustic sarcasm strained through a twisted filter of the news. They care not if what they say is based in truth, they're "comedians", it need not be true if they oppose their object of scorn.
Comedians are becoming, as their like minded comrades of the media, straightforward leftist commentators, live action versions of the more vile left wing websites, while nightly their ill-informed audiences lap up their half-truths and clap like trained seals when the Applause Sign lights up.