WMJL? (What Makes Jesus Laugh?)
Humor or hate?
Is “conservative comedy” an oxymoron?
Or just moronic?
When I was in school, an English teacher said my attempts at humor were “sophomoric.”
“What did you expect?” I shot back. “I’m a sophomore.”
The class peed itself laughing. Literally. I didn’t just own my teacher — I mopped the floor with him. Literally. To help clean up the pee. He doubled as a janitor and made me his protégé on the spot.
As you can imagine, to this day, I keep my home pretty clean, although my humor could use maturation.
A lot of conservative humor seems to be stuck in second year of high school, appealing to an audience that quit educating then because they were too smart for school and now are suckers for Fox News.
Or maybe I’m too elite Socialist liberal sheeple stupid to understand real American humor. So I turned to what devout right-wing Trump-adoring Christians declare is the Human User’s Manual with all the answers to all of life’s most vexing questions: The Bible.
Therein I finally found The One True Truth as to why conservative MAGA humor isn’t LOL:
Real humor, like Jesus, loves everyone.
Especially the human foibles we share. Real humor never hates God’s Children who fail to be American, White, Christian, conservative and patriotic enough.
Note to Fox’s “Gutfeld!”: While you thrill your audience by hooting at “wokeness” and “cancelling the cancellers,” bear in mind that the people you target, while imperfect, are merely defending the oppressed. Like Jesus did.
The Bible seems silent on how hyping or cherry-picking cancel culture and wokeness isn’t funny because it’s shooting fish in a school. Even worse for humor purposes, isn’t it a bit played out? Like mother-in-law jokes?
Real humor is like love in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.
Except for being patient (see: Larry David), the best humor is kind. (Somewhat.) It doesn’t envy or boast. (Not at all, joke’s on you!) It’s not proud (see: comedy club open-mike night). Yet self-mockery — real not faux humble Gutfeld! to excuse his trespasses — is the true king of comedy.
Did you ever notice how Jerry Seinfeld, who makes even God laugh, is rarely if ever mean to marginalized people? And how he never panders to ignorance by snorting about wokeness or cancel culture? The most successful living comic in our solar system knows that funny doesn’t need to be mean against the marginalized.
Real humor bows to no false gods.
Not even the The Best Yahweh Ever, D-T. Nor D-T’s Official State Media, Fox News, unofficial brand slogan, “Fooling Dumb Believers All The Way To The Bank.”
Have you ever noticed how conservative comedians never make fun of Trump? What’s the deal with comics who fear doing killer material about the president? Especially the most buffoonish in history? Who are these guys — Putin’s SNL Субботняя ночная жизнь knockoff cast doing Ukraine jokes? Can you tell me people?
Real humor punches up at authority. It never punches down like authoritarians with their Official State Comedians such as Gutfeld!
Real humor is wise.
Even when it’s silly. See: Every Great Comedian or Comic Actor.
A great sense of humor is considered a higher intelligence.
At a recent performance in Washington, DC, Jerry Seinfeld told his audience that he and his comedian peers loved playing Washington. Why? He stage-whispered: “You’re smarter.”
Conservative humor, like Trump who said he loves the uneducated who love him, appeals to a lower intelligence, like when bullies laugh at their victims instead of finding a therapist to work through their damage.
Conservative humor thus tends to be emotionally constipated: Bitter, mean, nasty, snarky, sarcastic, cynical and nihilist even for people who don’t know what “nihilist” means. This has made Gutfeld! “the new king of late-night television,” according to Fox, which never lies for money.
Fox says Gutfeld! is bigger than real actual late-night comedians such as Colbert, Kimmel, Oliver, Myers and Maher. Not just because Fox rigged the Gutfeld! ratings (it comes on at 8 or 9 west of the elite East Coast where it’s broadcast, well before MAGAs are snoring in their Barcaloungers).
The secret to Gutfeld!’s success is that conservative “humor” appeals to MAGAs like Trump does — by feeding outrage addiction like a smack dealer, fomenting hate and resentment against fellow Americans, making them the enemy, to win audience and money. This distracts MAGAs from the unfortunate truth that their political heroes have zero political solutions. As internet trolls know, there’s big money in feeding the worst angels of our nature.
This brings us to The Babylon Bee.
It’s supposed to be a “conservative Christian news satire site.”
There’s nothing Christian, newsy or satirical about Babylon Bee. Satire, done well, can be funny. Like The Onion. Done badly, like trying but utterly failing to mimic the Onion because you don’t understand funny, it’s worse than flop sweat — it’s boorish, brutish, cheap and churlish.
The Bee is notorious for punching down, like its early 2022 headline, “Trans Woman Breaks Jeopardy Record, Proving Once and for All That Men Are Smarter Than Women.”
It was a clumsy reference to a former Jeopardy! champion, Amy Schneider. Facebook removed the post under fire to stop spreading hate speech. The Bee went full melty snowflake, whining about its First Amendment right to bully and beat down without reprisal.
Most recently, Babylon Bee preened its unmatched comic sensibilities by trashing a 64-year-old woman and former pop star named Madonna Louise Ciccone.
It mocked Madonna’s appearance at the Oscars. “A frightened young boy refused to go to sleep last night until his mother checked under the bed to see if Madonna was lurking there,” the Bee chortled to itself. “The boy, Trevor Birch, stayed up late Sunday night and accidentally caught a glimpse of the ‘Like a Virgin’ singer, giving him horrific night terrors ever since.”
Even many Bee readers were offended by the shaming.
One said it was “Not Christian to bully people for their looks.”
But many set aside their faith with ROTFL like:
· “I think HE would’ve taken care of rebuking her for disfiguring herself.”
· “If miss piggy and the puppet from SAW had a lovechild … they will call it Madonna.”
· “WWJD? I’m pretty sure he’d look under the bed.”
· “THAT’S MEAN! But very funny.”
· “Don’t worry little guy, she already ate her share of fetuses.”
As a devout agnostic, I’m no Bible scholar.
But many theologians believe Jesus had a healthy sense of humor.
“If Jesus is the embodiment of the divine, that might also lead us to expect him to be funny,” one said. Another quotes Matthew 7:4 in which Jesus quips, “How can you say to your neighbor, ‘Here — let me get that splinter out of your eye when you’ve got the plank in your own?’”
To quote Kenny Bania in “Seinfeld,” “That’s gold, Jerry — gold.”
Note to Gutfeld!, Babylon Bee, and the entire flop-sweating conservative comedy sector: Give it up. Hate only makes haters laugh. Someday you’ll see them in Hell — the real one, not just the comedy club circuit — heckling you for eternity.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.