Comedians Take to Bigger Stage, or Maybe Soap Box


Maron said he considered conducting an interview with Mehlman for his weekly podcasts called WTF because decided against it partly because, "I'd have to sit there for six hours."

Instead, he admits, "I opted for the low road."

The Twitter ambush of Mehlman and the Washington rallies are new stages for comedians and their satire suggests they are serious while they are trying to be funny, says Jeffrey P. Jones, the author of "Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement."

"To see them as comedians who've gotten serious is a mistake. American television has typically not done satire. We've seen comedy as separate from politics and what's going on is that they're stepping into a new realm," Jones states.

It's not just liberal comedians who are taking to the political stage. Brad Stine is a politically conservative Evangelical Christian standup comic who spoke at the Republican Senators retreat in 2007. He's sees no problem with Stewart and Maher blurring the distinction between punchlines and politics.

"Everyone is trying to persuade you," Stine said, "but if comics do it in a way that is funny, and not mean, then we're doing something great for the culture. Comedy is the best vehicle for changing people's perspectives."

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