Comedy can be a very powerful social tool. Through humor people can critique politics, point out hypocrisies in our cultures and people, or give us a means to observe the sociology of our beings. Satire is the most commonly known term for this form of comedy and many of the most famous “stand up” comedians tend to use this type of satirical humor. For example George Carlin, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, and Margaret Cho.
In the two videos, below, we can see the work of a couple brilliant comedians working with this satirical technique to confront important political and social issues in their comedic routines, and I will attempt to give a brief thought on what occurs within each of these satirical monologues.
Dave Chappelle is one of the most recognized African-American comedians in the US. He’s mostly known for the comedy sketch program “Chappelle’s Show”, which featured risqué humour as well as social commentary dressed in a mocking tone. He was also quite phenomenal while doing stand up. In this routine, he discusses how society views men who are victims of sexual violence.
Mr. Chappelle, definitively, hits the nail on the head in this routine. Men are expected to “man-up” after experiencing traumatic events, and are bizarrely anticipated to always be able to defend themselves. Men are constantly propelled to feeling shame if they don’t live up to these expectations. However, I don’t exactly agree with Mr. Chappelle that society is just super nice to female victims of sexual violence; there’s a lot of victim blaming there as well.
On an not-so-off note: regarding the topic of preventing sexual violence, check out these superb ads on the subject.
Maz Jobrani is a Iranian-born American comedian who is a part of the excellent comedy group “Axis of Evil”. In his unique satirical style, he critiques and explores subjects such as racism, Islamophobia, and on his own identity of being Iranian/American. Many of his routines excavate and evaluate Iranian, as well as American, politics. In the clip featured below, he talks about his of upbringing in the crux of “manhood”.
The monologue directly confronts the suppression of “weak” emotions that the male is “suppose” to suppress and ignore. Social norms operate often to curtail men in regard to entirely express emotions. Needless to say this suppression is not the greatest of ideas. It’s good that Mr. Jobrani satireizes such upbringing, but he does make an unfortunate implication in the very end. Pity, but still funny insight on the subject if one ignores the very last bit.
Hope these two clips gave you some good laughs, and raised some thoughts!