Monday, September 29, 2008

Conversationlism + Pragmatic Theater + 2008: Sarah Palin And Tina Fey

I don't think I have to make a very long post here. Tina Fey's satire of Sarah Palin is a revitalizing moment for Saturday Night Live. I hope they can keep the satire up this sharp and fresh. It might strike you that Tina Fey's satire of Sarah Palin is fairly straightforward and basic. I just want to highlight the reason it's working so well.

Required Viewing

What can you notice about this side-by-side comparison? Tina Fey has discovered something about satire. Sometimes, all you have to do is present the truth in a frame of satire, and the laughs will come in themselves. It takes me back to an old South Park episode which mocked Scientology. All they had to do was tell the tale at the basis of Scientology, with a disclaimer at the bottom: This is what scientologists actually believe.

I sometimes see or hear the same thing out of Jon Stewart: "I'm not making this up!" All the satirist has to do sometimes is present the absurdity of the moment, shrug, and say, "That's reality."

To see members of the press--serious members of the press--still arguing on behalf of Sarah Palin as a serious candidate is ludicrous. And all you have to do is introduce perspective. Sometimes that's all that comedy has to be: perspective.

One Example 1

Example 2

Those two examples, I think, exemplify Jon Stewart's role as the satirist providing perspective.