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Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Theory of Change #041: Matt Sienkiewicz & Nick Marx on the explosive growth of right-wing comedy
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Theory of Change #041: Matt Sienkiewicz & Nick Marx on the explosive growth of right-wing comedy

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Like beauty, humor is in the eye of the beholder. That’s especially true in regards to political humor, where many on the left and the right seem to think that the opposition is literally incapable of being funny.

Right wingers say liberals are too caught up in diversity and inclusion to take a joke. And left-wingers say that reactionaries are so enthralled with stupid ideas that they can’t really make fun of others. The truth, however, is that jokes which you don’t think are funny can still be comedy, and they can still use comedic techniques.

While it may seem absurd to study people cracking jokes, there’s a lot that can be learned from that study, because comedy, especially in politics, can be a binding agent, a critical ingredient that can hold together coalitions that might otherwise hate each other. And in an age of negative partisanship where people vote less on who they like than what they don’t, political comedy can make a big difference.

Joining the show to discuss all of this is Matt Sienkiewicz and Nick Marx. They’re the authors of a new book called That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them. Sienkiewicz is a media scholar, filmmaker, and professor of communication at Boston College, and Marx is an associate professor of film and media studies at Colorado State.

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Theory of Change is hosted by Matthew Sheffield about larger trends and intersections of politics, religion, media, and technology. It's part of the Flux network, a new content community of podcasters and writers. Please visit us at flux.community to learn more and to tell us about what you're doing. We're constantly growing and learning from the great people we meet.

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