This is, unfortunately, a question I ask myself quite often. Not on a daily basis, you really think this is one of the things I need to deal with in my life? Sod that, I just like to think about political satire and how it’s pretty much done for at this point. Lets face it, right now is the optimal time for satire, but also at the same time it’s the most divided and dangerous. Still, we can have a look at maybe what’s making it die, and why that is. But the question remains. Is political satire dying?
But there must be some cohesive reason as to why political satire is dying. Well, I say dying, it’s booming. But it just isn’t the same as it was in times past. At the same time as explaining my thoughts on the death of political satire, I’ll be recommending a few shows. You know, the ones that manage to keep things fresh.
The Jim Jefferies Show
Definitely the newest and most recent show on the list, The Jim Jefferies Show (2017) started earlier this year. It’s the only show on this list that I have actually watched every episode of, and I’m very glad I did. Jim Jefferies is possibly one of my favourite comedians of all and he slipped surprisingly well into the role of television host.
Surprise guest star Brad Pitt is a frequent visitor in many of the episodes and he’s really just the icing on the cake for the show as a whole. As of late, I’ve really been trying to avoid political related shows. Not because I don’t like them, I bloody love them, I just needed a break after being so wrapped up in it. Still, Jefferies does tackle other parts of the world instead of just Trump and the UK.
He’s tackling a number of major issues that aren’t really heavily political. We’ve seen him visit the Great Barrier Reef to look at pollution and go to Comic Con. It just seems like one of those shows that’s ideal to watch. It’s short and sweet, and very, very funny.
Last Week Tonight
Have you noticed the trend yet? A person not from America sits at a desk and complains about America. It’s a format that has worked for generations and generations. Why stop and change it now? There’s definitely no reason to change this formula considering it works so well.
John Oliver, much like Jim Jefferies is a genuine charm to the camera and it’s of course because of him that the show works. Arguably, without him, the show wouldn’t be as popular as it is today. He again tackles similar issues to Jim Jefferies, but it isn’t all about politics once more. He’s tackled FIFA and Evangelical TV Preachers. I suppose this sort of relate to politics, but not how you would initially think they did.
Regardless of that, Last Week Tonight has been on the air for a long while now and there’s a simple reason why. It’s fresh every week. There is never an episode that bores, it’s a constant treat with content that will have you reeling every episode.
When do I ever shut up about Spitting Image? Surprisingly I haven’t watched it in a while, I flip through television shows quite a lot. I’m currently on a binge watch through of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but that’s not the point. I’d regard Spitting Image as the best political satire show of all because there is recorded proof of its impact. I think it’s fantastic how much impact that show had on the political scale of this country.
See, the beauty of political satire is that everyone and anyone is fair game. At the time of Spitting Image, the Conservatives and Republicans were in power. What you may notice so far is that all of the shows currently on air are very left wing in the jokes they make. They’re not hesitant to knock Trump, Theresa or the Russians. But lets be fair, they’d be taking the mick either way now wouldn’t they? That’s what Spitting Image did anyways, mocked both sides.
The Last Leg
Here’s a surprising entry. A cheery late night, Channel 4 chat show that has an ensemble of comedians and politicians every night. At first I wasn’t even going to put this on the list because I’d forgotten it even existed. However, I may as well do a quick bit on it.
Adam Hills presents the show as Josh, Alex and a whole slew of random guests come on to talk about the events of the week. I can’t recommend the show enough, it’s very heavy handed in both its humour and its general message. Especially when a tragedy occurs, Hills is the perfect calm medium the country needs at a time of crisis.
Still, at least it’s hilarious too. Literal uproarious laughter, all four of these shows. All of them considered to be left wing. Why? Because the right wing just aren’t funny. But that’s for a different article and a different day.
So this list here has a couple of new shows on and even a favourite classic of mine. But why do these satire shows even exist? Well, it’s quite simple. Politics is a scary shitfest that, well, it’s not fun to be apart of or talk about at the best of times. Comedians do what they do best and make jokes to make us feel better about the depressing times we live in.
Take Spitting Image for example, it introduced fifteen million people every week to what was happening in politics. We don’t have a show like that anymore available in the UK, and now look at us all. Tea sipping monkeys with no real place in the current society. Why? Because nobody is making enough fun of us right now. What we need is the revival of British satire, not just American satire. The sooner we bring it back, the faster we can put political leaders in their place.