5 Comedy Figures Who Cannot Be Co-Opted By Any Political Ideology
In an age when so many comedians make their livelihood off of unfunny political pandering on Patreon podcasts, it’s deeply ironic that the only comic whose show I’d pay to follow is the characteristically uncontroversial Brian Regan.
Comedians taking strong political stances is a practice as old as the open mic. However, within the last couple election cycles, humor has been a battleground where conflicting schools of thought fight for territory in the impressionable minds of young, terminally online comedy fans whose path to political extremism starts when they stumble upon a provocative stand-up clip or a politically bent meme. As social media continues its insidious expansion across our collective brain space, everything on the internet is increasingly separated into categories like “woke” and “redpilled” — especially comedy, where jokes now carry multiple meanings and hidden dog whistles only for the ears of true believers.
As such, professional comedians are similarly placed on differing ends of the political spectrum, either by their own hand or by the categorization of those who co-opt their work into a larger movement. The stylings of Dave Chappelle have, stunningly, been adopted by social conservatives. Patton Oswalt is a proudly prolific poster on Leftist Twitter. No comedian is safe from the culture wars — save a select few whose work vehemently avoids categorization based on ideology. Here are our favorites of those unaffiliated funny people, starting with…
The Saturday Night Live alumnus and I Think You Should Leave star is at the cutting edge of absurdist comedy in the modern era, and his hilarious weirdness necessitates an inscrutability that can’t be put in any political box. That is, until CornCob TV puts the screws on him to start shilling for their favorite candidate.
The king of clean comedy doesn’t use four letter words in his act — thankfully, that includes phrases like “woke” and “MAGA.” His distinct mixture of silliness and sarcasm has made him one of the most dependably hilarious comedians of the last three decades, and he’s not about to sacrifice that wide appeal for a political punchline.
At 90, Carol Burnett is still in the business of crowd pleasing, with her birthday special from last year earning appreciation from audiences and critics alike. And, in her many decades of comedy dominance, she’s stuck to an important principle that was as applicable during the turmoil in the 1960s as it is in today’s dumpster fire: Clowns have better punchlines than preachers.
Despite his brief time as a contributor on The Daily Show, nothing would feel more out of place in one of Demetri Martin’s deadpan, detail-oriented stand-up shows than a joke about Donald Trump’s Cheeto skin sketched out on one of his extra large easel pads.
The crown prince of parody made a rare foray into political comedy during the 2020 election to provide a more palatable debate experience between then-President Trump and now-President Biden, but he stopped short of taking a side other than “We’re all going to die!” Funny how this is inarguably the weirdest Weird Al song when the rest of them are just about broccoli or the Amish.