We’re Living in the Upside Down and Comedy Is All That Makes Sense

Even if it is nervous laughter.

Apr 21 2017, 6:17pm

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This current administration is no laughing matter. From (not my) President Donald Trump constantly attempting to drag modern healthcare back to prehistoric times, to his staffers not having any clue what they are doing and unqualified acquaintances holding down top government positions, there's a decent amount of ammunition for your already-burgeoning depression or anxiety.

What choice do we have but to laugh through the pain? Comedy and political parodies are effective therapeutic tools to cope with the ever-present source of stress that is Donald Trump. We asked people which comedians and shows are helping them stay sane despite all the troubling issues America is facing.

Manuel Nazario, 32, New Jersey

I feel like with Trevor Noah and Alec Baldwin—whenever they do their skits or segments, often times, that's where I end up seeing stuff that happened during the week. That's where I get the news, things that I didn't know happened. Obviously, the comedy is an exaggeration but it then makes me look up what really happened.

But I'm always like, Damn—that was an exaggeration but at the same time the bottom line is not a lie. That's how ridiculous the news [about this administration] is. I remember the jewelry thing—when Kellyanne Conway said that people should go out buy Ivanka's jewelry line. I didn't know about it and it really happened just like that. She was trying to tell people to buy her stuff. That is crazy.

I don't know if I would say the comedy makes the reality more bearable. It is really depressing but it's more like, what can you do at this point? You have to make light of it. For someone who is not that involved in politics like me—I just keep an eye on the news—the skits get the messages across. It helps you deal especially if you live in or close to New York, which is a known target. I honestly feel people in this area hold their breath a lot more often than if you live in say, North Dakota. I mean, he's sending missiles and dropping bombs.

Lena*, 36, Florida

Comedians, more than most media figures, are trying to figure out a balance between calling out the Trump administration and not being completely subsumed by it. They have to keep finding new clever, fresh angles to cover an incredibly dumb and confused moment in history.

I deeply admire Samantha Bee and her staff for their intelligent and fearless coverage of Trump—but I am way more addicted to The Detour, which Samantha Bee created with her husband, because it's just ridiculous, over-the-top escapism that manages to get in little zingers about every social justice hot button while still being gross-out cable comedy. 

I feel the same about The Mick, though I'm not sure of the writing team behind it.

I don't love Louis C.K., but his SNL sketch "Thank you Scott," I want to share on about 200 of my friends' Facebook walls because it is THEM. I would be self-hating and say the Scotts are more on the Liberal side, but I've spent a lot of time on pro-Trump sides so I know they are equally prone to slacktivism. 

Blackish [also] deserves a lot of awards for their current season. That is the kind of comedy that could and should be shown in high school social studies classes.

Ramzy Ismail, 27, New York

If we accepted this administration and see it for what it really is, then it would be super depressing. We are dealing with a real life House of Cards; these politicians are playing chess and calling it "policy." You do not know what these officials have in store from month to month. [It's] affecting people's mental health and it's absolutely ridiculous.

I am a huge fan of satirical news anchor comedians like Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah. I believe they are doing the best job highlighting the absurdity of everyday American politics because they juxtapose hypocrisy and what certain news outlets are saying about the same exact topic. With that level of humor you are really able to connect with others and get people to value what is real.

Podcasts like Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It are great tools as well because they are former White House staffers who just happen to be funny ass dudes, who are creating content and covering the news. I think the combo of people who know their shit and being naturally funny typically leads to listeners and viewers staying engaged and feeling better about what is going on.

Hanane Abdalla, 25, Virginia 

Humor is definitely my outlet with facing any adversity and tending to my mental health with everything that is going on in this unpredictable political landscape. I really believe that comedic relief is necessary to not only cope with the current issues, but as a proud Afro-Arab woman, it helps me move on from what has hurt me in the past.

The comedian and actress Tracee Ellis Ross and the show Blackish best suits my humor because they are family-oriented and deal with a lot of political, social and mental health issues together. Tracee's character is a perfect example of an imperfect individual who can indeed be "wrong" sometimes, so it shows that we are prone to making mistakes and humor can be a catalyst to help us get through them. Not to mention that Tracee as an individual is socially conscious, freaking hilarious and just stinkin' bad to the bone.

We need to continue to build a circle and community that laughs together, creates together, and just find ways to connect further in a time that so many are attempting to partition us as a racial demographic.

*source prefers to use first name only.

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