The subhead on Time magazine's feature headlined "The New Politics of Late Night" is this:
In a wild election year, with a ripe orange target, comics are ditching balance and taking sides.
Yeah, they were so balanced about George Bush and John McCain.
And remember how balanced they were about Sarah Palin?
That late night is solid Democrat turf has been apparent to everybody for a long time.
Only Time editors could believe that anybody will be duped when comedian Samantha Bee says that Jon Steward strove to be "nonpartisan." Still, something new has happened.
In the same way that the media no longer feels it is bound by the canons of journalism, the late night comedy establishment has indeed become even more overtly political. The politics of late night haven't changed, but something has:
Stewart and Colbert were groundbreakers, but even they tempered their political edge with ironic distance and a concern for balance. Colbert couched his views in the put-on character of a right-wing Bill O’Reilly type. Stewart aimed his barbs less at conservative pols than at the Fox News pundits who enabled them.
But the game has changed, thanks largely to the man at the top of the GOP ticket. With his orange skin tone, animal-pelt hairdo and overweening ego, Trump may be the greatest gift to comedians since the invention of the mother-in-law joke. Hillary Clinton gets her share of jabs (most recently for her “basket of deplorables” remark and her campaign’s slowness to reveal her health problems), but Trump has galvanized the late-night crowd, prompting a new sense of urgency, outrage, even panic.
Since late night is after my bed time, I have no idea if this rabid anti-Trumpism is funny. But I have to say that some of the examples quoted fall short of rapier like wit:
After playing a clip of Trump’s debate-night boast about the size of his private parts, [Samantha] Bee is shown wielding a squeegee on a blurry camera lens: “Sorry, let me just wipe the vomit off …”
Comedy is not supposed to be balanced. It has also always had political uses. But it comedy is also supposed to be iconoclastic.
As far as I can tell from the Time story, late night now is filled with conformists (who think they are daring).
The Comedy Establishment is just another branch of the Elite Establishment whose disdain for non-elites is increasingly unfunny.
So I guess I am not missing much by going to bed with the chickens.