Comedy Journalism: Why It’s Here To Stay
Keli Dailey is at SXSW to tell us comedy journalism is real journalism. At her SXSW Interactive panel “Comedy is the New Journalism,” Dailey took the audience through several comedy news clips, why they’re relevant as well as providing some comedy herself.
She started with a few quips about Jon Stewart and his legacy (“Stewart’s presence lingers like a floral perfume from Victoria’s Secret,” she said.) before comparing a clip of the new late night news satire Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to the New York Times.
While Bee’s monologue about John Kasich made quite a few jokes, made some sweeping sarcastic statements, Dailey asked, “Did she say anything different than the New York Times about Kasich?”
Dailey briefly talked about early satire, all the way back to Greek mythology and the Roman empire. Even Benjamin Franklin was a satirist, she said, referencing a collection of his writings entitled “Fart Proudly.”
Comedy is also relatable and this news style breaks down complicated topics, at times being a more effective way of informing the public than typical news.
Dailey put on a segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, where Oliver explains net neutrality. She told the audience to pay attention to places where Oliver compares something commonly known to something else.
Like when show brought up a clip of the CEO of Comcast, who said Comcast was not in competition with Time Warner Cable, because they have separate turf.
“You could not be describing a monopoly more clearly if you were wearing a metal top hat,” said Oliver.
The segment was widely shared and acknowledged as an insightful explanation.
“The guy who coined the term ‘net neutrality’ said that that explanation blew away all others,” Dailey said.
Also, since news audiences have largely turned to their Facebook and Twitter feeds for news, she says, the news isn’t just competing with other news organizations – they’re competing with cat videos, pictures of your friends, Buzzfeed listicles, and everything in between.
Comedy makes it easier for readers/viewers to want to consume news.
“I know how the word journalism goes with the word layoffs, like the word Kanye goes with rants,” she said. “If people are more interested in comedy, wouldn’t it be nice to harness that horse and use it in journalism?”
So is comedy the new journalism, like the panel title suggests?
“I’m not saying comedy should replace journalism. I say that they overlap. And where they overlap we need to explore more,” she said. “Like journalism, comedy has proven to be a powerful highlighter of what ought to be and what is.”
See our interview with Keli Dailey: