Ballin It Up: Why People (Should) Like Electing Comedians


Al Franken keeps it the realest. Of course I could be referring to his epic skewering of Rush Limbaugh, or to his similarly epic nailing of the far right. To be fair, each of those is baller. But what I think is the most baller is that he has actually turned it into a pretty solid career as an actual U.S. Senator.

No joke.

Check out this dismantling of a couple of Halliburton Arbitration Lawyers. These corporate jackass apologists were given the soul crushing job of denying a female employee her day in court after she was sexually assaulted by other Halliburton employees on assignment in Iraq. The corporate-government complex was definitely in need of a good balling up. And Franken was just the person to give it to them.

No doubt because of Jon Stewart’s popularity and Stephen Colbert’s actual campaign for President in 2008, there seems to be a growing obsession with comedians throwing their hat in the political ring.

Now Iceland’s got one Comedian Jon Gnarr was recently elected mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland, a city that has now apparently seen four mayors in as many years. This one seems more Colbert and less Franken. Except for the fact that it worked and his absurd campaign promises, promising Kindergartners to build a Disneyland at the airport, were enough for the good people of Reykjavik.

Absurd? Probably. Actually I think it makes pretty good sense. The things comedians say onstage, or “promise” during their campaigns are no less absurd than what politicians actually promise to constituents. Plus neither one of them gets any of these promises fulfilled anyway. As Jon Stewart told Jim Cramer “There is a certain sense that we are both snake oil salesman, only we admit we are selling snake oil.”

Here are a few more reasons why we should let comedians ball up politics:
1. Comedians understand society and how things work. That’s why they can make the observations they do.

2. Comedians are smart and ballsy. The same human qualities it takes to get someone to want to run for public office/service is remarkably similar to the type of person it takes to get up in front of a group of people and say what they think. People already accuse politicians of pandering in order to win votes. Comedians pander to audiences as well, but in most cases in a way that is brutally honest and insightful. At the very least they acknowledge their pandering.

4. Comedians have slightly less shame than politicians.

3. They’re baller.

I mean it could be worse. Remember, Minnesota also elected former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura in 1998. And my own home state of California has elected not one, but TWO Hollywood elites, as Republicans, as Governor. For now I’ll put my money on the funny people.

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About Joe Faina

Rhetoric & Media Professor, Writer, Humorist

Posted on 06/27/2010, in Ballin It Up, Comedy, Corporate Screw Ups, Funny and Not Funny, Political Pop-Culture. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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