The Impact of Social Justice Comedy

In his article, “Will satire save us in the age of Trump?”, Jonathan Coe notes that while there is a large audience watching Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impersonations, it may not be very wide. Coe states, “It’s one of the perennial paradoxes of satire that it only gives pleasure to those who already share its point of view.” After watching Negin Farsad’s TED talk on social justice comedy, I wondered if the paradox was also true for social justice comedy. While there are some positive comments on the trailer for her movie, “The Muslims Are Coming!”, the vast majority are negative. These negative comments range from tame dismissals, such as the group of comics aren’t very funny, to charged damnations and even death threats.

The trailer for “The Muslims Are Coming!” shows several large groups of people laughing along with the comedians. Is this because the comedians have changed the minds of the audience, or did they already agree with them? While Farsad claims in her talk that she targets the “Swing Hater” with her brand of comedy, is she really only reaching people who already agree with her, or are at least fairly open to her views?



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