Politics and comedy do not mix, at least not in my view. Like many, I often watch comedians perform on various TV shows in order to wind down from the daily stresses that life brings, however, in recent months, this has become increasingly difficult due to the material used by certain individuals.
For years, politicians have been the butt of jokes and targeted by comedians as a form of ‘banter’. Whilst there is nothing wrong with light-hearted humour, comedians such as Russell Howard have gone beyond this by using airtime as a platform to advocate left-wing political views, and promote an opposition to any form of political view leaning towards the right of the spectrum.
Throughout my four years at university, I spent much of my limited free time catching up on episodes of “Russell Howard’s Good News”, a fantastic programme which discussed strange, mind-boggling news stories from around the world. Despite only being 37 years old, I believe it was during this period that Russell was truly in his prime.
Rather than just homing in on the world of politics, Good News explored the most unorthodox stories across an array of areas such as education, science, health, sports, and so on. It was the perfect show to watch after a long day of lectures, or even writing essays, due to the endless joy it provided.
However, it has become clear that comedians like Russell Howard are no longer interested in making light-hearted jokes, but instead intend to use their airtime as another opportunity to force their own political views onto others, as can be seen below.
Not only are his statements regarding UKIP wholly inaccurate, but by making a stand against the party and using his own talk show to advocate his political views, Russell is acting irresponsibly and ultimately abusing the power and influence he has over his audience, and viewers at home.
Sadly, since switching to Sky One to film a new topical show called “The Russell Howard Hour”; many of these episodes have consisted of Russell mocking right-wing politicians and policies, whilst also promoting left-wing politics as the solution, without an ounce of substance in his arguments.
— Sky TV (@skytv) October 12, 2017
For me, the Russell Howard of today exemplifies exactly why politics and comedy do not mix. As he stands on stage and bemoans everything he is opposed to such as Brexit, and particularly President Trump, he fails to realise that a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU, and a majority of Americans elected Donald Trump to be President.
Russell cannot comprehend that unprecedented political outcomes have occurred in Western politics because ordinary working people are simply tired of the political class leaving them behind. As a result of this, they have chosen to defy the status quo, and vote for change – In Britain, this means voting to divorce ourselves from the EU, and in the US, this has meant voting for the change candidate in Donald Trump and rejecting the continuity candidate in Hilary Clinton.
Like many comedians, actors, actresses, and other people of influence, Russell consistently fails to grasp this fact, and by belittling those who have supported these political changes, it reinforces the view that individuals such as Russell are politically ignorant. Of course, this does not mean that people of influence are not entitled to hold political views, but on the same token, this influence should not be abused, and their political views must not be forced upon ordinary members of the public.
I’m sure many fans of comedy like me would love to see Russell go back to his comical roots, where he provided hours of side-splitting laughter and care-free humour. Unfortunately, these days are far beyond reach, and the old Russell Howard has disappeared, only to be replaced by one with a political agenda which should be expressed off the stage, not on it.
Sorry Russell, I am not laughing anymore.