As many reading this may know, Alex Jones is apparently in the process of self-immolating in a child custody battle with his ex-wife, in which his attorney is using the defense that Jones is playing a “character” on his shows and that his public persona does not reflect his true nature.
The argument that Alex Jones’ persona is a fake put-on is incredibly destructive for Jones’ brand, which is based on Jones’ chaotic “realness”.
This comedy sketch by Stephen Colbert, which lampoons Alex Jones’ misfortune takes me back to when I used to hang out several times a week with my then-husband’s friends from the Harvard Lampoon, including Larry O’Donnell and Conan O’Brien. Like my ex-husband, they all landed major TV comedy-writing jobs, straight out of college.
At the time, there was a very powerful comedy writing mafia, in which one HAD to have written for the Harvard Lampoon as an undergraduate to even be considered for a big TV job, like SNL, the David Letterman Show or The Simpsons. The writing staffs of these shows were populated almost exclusively with Lampoon alumni.
These conditions have since been relaxed somewhat. Seth McFarlane, creator of ‘Family Guy’ was a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and he was one of the first to break through this secretive glass ceiling. Likewise, Stephen Colbert who grew up in South Carolina and attended Chicago’s Northwestern University did not fit the profile of this elite group of Harvard comedians who totally dominated late night TV comedy writing.
However, Colbert sure does a bang-up job at nailing the ideology and the style of his Harvard comedy peers. Colbert may as well gone to Harvard (his staff writers probably did). His comedy is EXACTLY that same brand of comedy. It’s all about making fun of the Flyover State “slack-jawed yokel”. It is the oppressive “propaganda comedy”
that I have railed against of late.
These sketches are most effective when executed by members of the shamed demographic, like Stephen Colbert, who successfully strove to rid himself of a Southern accent since early childhood.
I’ve long been an admirer of Colbert’s talent and this sketch is completely brilliant and hilarious – but at the same time, it lambasts people who have questions about vaccine safety and it ridicules other dissenting, non-mainstream views. Rather than being used a tool to speak truth to power, which is the most hallowed application of comedy, Stephen Colbert’s comedy is crafted to scare people into submission.