Why Conservatives Aren’t Funny

                                                                        Contemporary politics aren’t limited to just Washington, D.C. anymore.

            Kicking off last April in Madison, Wis., the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has slowly been working its way around the country, seeking out places in need of a good, liberal night of comedy.

            Led by Stephanie Miller and her radio show cohorts, John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks, the unscripted political comedy has been selling out even in the red states (Texas, anyone?).

            “The tour has been hugely successful, especially considering it is an off election year,” Fugelsang said. “We had Aretha Franklin come to see us in Detroit, Lily Tomlin came and joined us onstage in Los Angeles, and we’ve had sold out shows coast to coast.”

            Miller, a Lockport native, brings an interesting twist. Born into your tried and true Republican family, she runs against the grain of her father, William E. Miller, Barry Goldwater’s 1964 running mate, producing a comedian who leads the show with deep knowledge of both the left and the right.

            “I don’t think there has ever been a progressive liberal comedy tour like this before,” Fugelsang said. “I don’t think there has been a liberal comedy tour based on a radio show before either, and certainty not one that’s used mostly social networking for the advertising It’s been wonderful, it’s reached young people and old people as well.”

            Grossing over $1 million without spending a dime on advertising, the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has harnessed the power of social media, letting the need of progressive liberalism direct where they perform. 

             Their extreme profits also allow them to help grass roots movements in the cities where they perform. Covering a range of progressive liberal charities and movements, including social initiatives, such as the Trevor Project, a LBGT teen suicide prevention program in Los Angeles, environmental projects like anti-fracking in Syracuse, and a political issues organization working to counter balance religious rights influence in Texas politics, the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour is covering all the bases.

            “I’m not sure who its going to be benefiting in Buffalo yet, but in every city we go to we always try to play union houses, we always donate a portion of the profits to a local organization that’s trying to make someone’s life better,” Fugelsang said. “It’s been a really amazing way to meet a lot of great people, because it doesn’t really matter who you vote for for president if you’re not fighting on the local level.”

            The trio isn’t just all talk either. All are well-informed, politically minded, active supporters of several movements. Sparks works with the NOH8 campaign and One Laptop per Child while Fugelsang performs for soldiers stationed overseas and has currently spent a lot of time at Occupy Wall Street.

            “I think it’s the beginning of something really big,” Fugelsang said of the Occupy movement. “I don’t think this movement is going to look the same a year from now and I think the greatest fear of the one percent that runs this country is that conservative Americans are going to realize that Occupy Wall Street speaks to them much more than FOX news does.”

            Most college kids are familiar with the liberal brand of comedy. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are pervasive culture icons for the college demographic and have indoctrinated millions into their political satire cult. Yet the conservative side, for some reason, seems to have a shortage of comedians working to support their message.

            “You go to a comedy club and someone can do material about the homeless or retarded people and maybe they can get away with being outrageously funny for two or three minutes and then it is feeling kind of wrong,” Fugelsang said. “If you’re doing conservative comedy, you are de facto defending the status quo that runs things…liberals are the ones trying to change things for the less fortunate and…the conservative power base is more about protecting the status quo. So the reason why FOX couldn’t do a comedy show, and they shouldn’t try, is that you can’t be funny while attacking down, it doesn’t work.”

So, if you’re up for a dose of conservative bashing, liberal wise-cracking comedy given by three diverse but well informed political satirists, you’re not going want to miss the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour‘s Buffalo stop at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Nov. 19.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com

Dershowitz Defends Israeli Prisoner Exchange

Published: Friday, October 28, 2011

Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz defended on Thursday Israel’s decision to secure the return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part and parcel of Israeli democracy, something that he said Western observers do not take sufficient care to understand.
Dershowitz made the remarks at a talk alongside Rabbi Jonathan H. Sacks, the chief religious leader of British Jews, and said that Israel’s decision to agree to a swap represents a vital democracy insofar as the movement to secure Shalit’s freedom was a popular one that was led by his family and carried out in the court of public opinion.
“No matter what we may think in the halls of academia … ultimately, the decision has to be made by Israelis,” Dershowitz said.
Many observers have criticized Israel’s choice to release a large number of prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s return, a decision that many say will lead to further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips. Dershowitz pushed back against American criticism of Israeli policy by saying that American critics of Israel do not adequately take into consideration Israel’s status as a democracy, which he said entitles it to a greater degree of independence than some of its critics grant.
In the wake of the exchange, Dershowitz and Sacks both said it was important for Israel to retain its Jewish identity even in the hailstorm of conflict, adding that the long-standing tension between Israelis and Palestinians should, in principle, be able to lead to a sense of understanding between the two peoples.
“If there is anyone on earth who should be able to understand Jewish struggles, it’s Palestinians,” Sacks said. “And if there is anyone on earth who should be able to understand Palestinian struggles, it’s Jews.”
Dershowitz said that while the conflict is headed in the wrong direction politically, it is moving in the right direction intellectually.
“It can’t be based on ‘it’s our home’ or ‘it’s your home,’” Dershowitz said. “It’s the home of both people and both people have to live in peace with each other.”
Both Sacks and Dershowitz, two highly vocal advocates for a Jewish state, recognized the difficulty of the conflict. For all their expertise on the matter, neither Sacks nor Dershowitz had a clear view of whether the effort to achieve peace is progressing in the right direction.
Both men said that there was an inevitability to the tie between the Jewish people’s history and today’s Israel. Because Jews are unique in their perpetual homelessness, Israel remains a product of Jews’ history of trauma and expulsion, Sacks said.
“Jews discovered that there was not one inch on the face of the planet that they could call home,” Sacks said.
“It’s hard to see how, in a world in which there are 56 Islamic states and at least 82 Christian states, there isn’t room for one Jewish state,” Sacks added. “Whatever criterion you use, Jews have a right to this very small space.”

Raising Cain

I think I can state with some certainty that my friends on the right are thrilled with the prospect of Herman Cain’s denouement. Last night the lovely, but possibly insane Ann Coulter said, “Our blacks are better than their blacks.” Democrat party spokesmen announced, “We don’t own any blacks. Ann Coulter is speaking for the Republicans.” The women that Cain allegedly harassed are asking to be relived from the confidentiality claim, so they can counter Cain’s claims that the charges were false. At any rate, after Cain’s early denials, “I know nothing about these allegations,” Then “I remember there were allegations, but I know nothing about the particulars” Then later “I don’t know if there was a settlement” then “There was a settlement, but it was called an agreement, that’s different.” And so on, ad nauseam, it appears that his campaign is effectively over, although he is still raking in the gifts, which is probably the reason for his campaign to begin with. For Democrats this is not good news, we like blacks, we liked Cain, he was entertaining, and he would have been easy to beat. For Republicans, who probably put out the story in the first place, this is wonderful. Republicans don’t care for blacks or other minorities, and the thought of having a black President NO MATTER WHO WON, kept neocons up at night, drenched with cold sweat. Now the race is Romney’s to lose. Can he do it?