I’m going to say on front : it’s scratching when a humorist says that he has no power over the people. Especially those who make the political humor and/or social. It gives me hives.
Fortunately, some assume openly, as Fred Dubé Guillaume Wagner.
Still, I takes off my skin when I hear some artists say that they have no power of persuasion in the people ; that in the best case, they are preaching to the converted.
I can understand that, by humility, these communicators don’t want to get wet more than it does. Or by strategic concerns, some prefer not to display as such.
Some, such as Jean-René Dufort or Serge Chapleau, will say that it is not them who make the jokes, but that it is the politicians that are funny – especially when they are serious ; they only transmit the gags made consciously or unintentionally by others.
Whether Infoman or The Daily Show, through a cartoon, an episode of Truths and consequences with Louis T. or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the mere fact that such media exist demonstrates that the creators of humor have a political and social power.
And their existence is also proof that as a society, we agree to give them this power. We endorse their approach.
At least, publicly denounce what may seem socially or politically reprehensible.
The essence of being in the media or on stage to convey similar messages through humor (seriously, twisted, absurd, activist, or obscene) requires a form of manipulation of the public. That said policy, said power… and manipulation of ideas.
And there’s nothing unusual there !
This is not manipulation fundamentally evil, as if the comedians hypnotisaient the masses to make them do what they want. But of the manipulation, certainly.
Handle for entertaining.
Manipulate it to make people laugh or cry.
Manipulate to make people think, to mark the memory.
As the singers, dancers, actors and other artists, the comedians want to make vibrate the strings sensitive… and make others laugh in addition.
To ” manipulate “, they use a microphone, which carries their voices over the noises and whispers of the spectators. They stand on a stage, even if it is less than a foot high, to be the property with a view and the centre of attraction of all.
They are the stars of the concepts of television, with the camera who follows their every move and mannerism. We illustrate their words with photos, video clips, graphics, etc
Sometimes they use the play of light and staging licked.
But this game is played by several people. Without the power of consent of the public, without his complicity, without listening, without feedback, the comedians speak in a vacuum. In other words, we are all politically and socially engaged when we laugh with them, when we grant them our attention.
Even though we don’t always agree with their points of view, in their dancing, participate in their discussions, we continue the conversation.
The duty of the social and political humor
Yes, the clubs have an impact on their audience. They have always been. It is even a duty – which does not have to be shared by all, it said, but a duty all the same. And of so great importance that the power of stand-up comedians can sometimes be perceived as a threat.
This explains why, in countries where freedom of press is suppressed by the dictators, the artists of the laughs are scarce, hiding, exiled, languishing in prison or ” disappear “.
This explains why some comedians are prosecute by public figures when they disapprove of their pranks.
It is this which explains how John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been able to gather 215 000 people to Washington in 2010 for an event satirical political scope, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
This explains why, in 2016, Mike Ward was awarded the prix d’Comedian of the year at the Gala des Olivier, an award given by the public, while it was in a spiral of turmoil in the media.
That is why, every December 31, millions of Quebecers are turning to the Bye Bye ! and other magazines of the year.
The word political humor and his power are part of our tool box reviews. Through the clubs, one applauds or condemns, it forgives or tip of the finger. And this, as much in our time than at any other time in human History. As such, I leave the last word to Molière :
Sire, The duty of comedy being to correct men by entertaining them, I thought, in the job where I find myself, I had nothing better to do than attack by paintings ridicules the vices of my century.