Comedy, Millennials, Democracy: How are they interacting ?
Charlie Chapline, Mr. Beans, and the audience laughing background track used to be the face of the comedy. The comedy has changed its shape now where anything is funny only when the butt of the joke is Donald Trump or the latest economic policy. From the comedy of ignorance to comedy of awareness, the new normal is here. The change in the comedy came out due to the perspective shift of the audience in terms of the socially accepted norm. The millennials and Gen Z are skeptical of the comedy at the expense of targeting a certain section. Stereotyping or inconsiderate mockery is not perceived funny anymore. The audience is updated with the environment and attempts to be more in line with the politically correct behavior. In addition to that, their social image depends upon the ideas that they follow and how forward that makes them look on social media.
At the same time, the current generation does not resort to the traditional form of news channels. In the Indian scenario, the TV news channels are far away from even being optimal. With shouting anchors, sub-par panelists, and biased political agendas, the youth does not prefer to accommodate them in their list of preferences. On the other hand, reading newspapers and online articles are ‘too time-consuming’ and ‘boring’ for their taste. The perfect blend of visually appealing, organized way of delivery and fun is provided by the comedians of the 21st century. Political and Social satire shows and stand-ups are the new stars of the evening and all the limelights are on them.
Taking the example of the United States, there are more than a dozen of famous late-night shows whose themes are based on political and social commentary such as The Daily Show with Trever Noah, The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, etc; the political comedy genre is attracting huge masses witch made the over the top media services to like Netflix to invest in it, giving us insightful yet fun shows like The Patriot Act by Hassan Minhaj. As stated in Times of India, according to a survey of 2014, 12% of the US citizens claimed that their primary source of news is The Daily Show that is at par with the Huffington Post and USA Today. Even in the Indian scenario people were attracted towards such a genre that is reflected by the popularity of All India Bakchod and stand up comedians like Kunal Kamra, Varun Grover, Shridhar Venkataramana etc.
The most important transformation would be that comedy is not anymore invisible or just a part of the entertainment, they have become an integral part of democracy. The mediums influence the opinions of the masses and work as a critic to the political leaders. It won’t be a long leap if we conclude comedy shows are the fourth pillar of democracy. The political leaders and mainstream media acknowledge the fact as they attempt to politicize these channels in their favor or try to make a statement by dismissing them. Appreciate or disregard, comedy shows cannot be ignored. Democrats optimize the late-night shows by being the part of it and republicans optimize them by bad-mouthing them. On a broader scale, the independence of the comedians to mock the supreme power showcases the tolerance level of a country. Here, tolerance of taking a joke is the proxy for freedom of speech in a democratic nation.
The journey of the comedy shows from just for laugh gags to being the pillar of democracy is an insightful one. The pace at which they are being used as a substitute for mainstream news channels is exponential. It is only reasonable to question are we experiencing the revolution in the ways news is delivered based on the change of preference of millennials. The answer can only be gained over time to see. Comedy can be the new aspect of news or just a short term trend.
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