The editor-in-chief of the popular satirical website The Babylon Bee sounded off at TBS’ far-left “Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee over the weekend after she admitted to going easy on President Biden despite years of hard-hitting jokes at the expense of his predecessor.
In a National Review column headlined “Samantha Bee Is Wrong about Comedy,” Kyle Mann blamed the left’s embrace of cancel culture for destroying political comedy, accusing late-night hosts of retiring their “relatable, everyman’s brand of comedy” only to lecture “the crowd on their moral values” instead.
“They went from chasing laughter — no matter who the butt of the joke may have been — to chasing applause. The result has been anything but funny,” Mann wrote.
Bee told journalist Dan Rather on his SiriusXM program earlier this month that she has trouble mocking Biden the same way she did former President Donald Trump, admitting at the time to pulling punches when it comes to the current administration.
“Good comedians set their point of view aside and write the best joke, the ‘point’ be damned.”
“I can’t deny that that has happened, I think that’s probably true across the board,” Bee said. “You’re like, ‘OK, well, we could be making jokes about the infrastructure plan,’ but in general, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is great.’ Why would I purposefully undermine something that seems to be a great idea, pretty much across the board?” she asked. ” Like, I don’t need to make jokes just to make jokes. I like to make really targeted jokes. There are more worthy targets right now, I think.”
It’s no secret that the late-night comedy lineup overwhelmingly leans to the left, with hosts like Bee, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers — all of whom are notorious for their support of the Democratic Party.
What they collectively fail to recognize, Mann wrote, is that “Satire can surely make a point and even effect change, but comedy at its purest simply asks a question.
“It does not have an agenda and does not care if it offends anyone — not even its audience or the person writing the joke,” he explained.
“If you find yourself unable to laugh at something, unable to find anything worthy of satire — especially in a politician like Joe Biden — you may be blinded by your own worldview,” Mann continued.
“Good comedians set their point of view aside and write the best joke, the “point” be damned.”
It’s a matter of time before Bee and others like her “find that they have simply become defenders of the establishment after all,” Mann said.
“Bee’s comment that Biden isn’t really a worthy target just reeks of desperately needing your audience to agree with you. It’s also just obviously false; hypocrisy is ripe ground for satire, so politicians are always worthy targets — on the left and the right.”
Mann quoted philosopher G. K. Chesterton, who famously declared that the test “of a good religion [is] whether you can joke about it.”
“The left is increasingly the party of self-righteous zealots, disciples of a leftist religion that they cannot laugh about.”
“The left is increasingly the party of self-righteous zealots, disciples of a leftist religion that they cannot laugh about,” he wrote. “The great pronoun debate is a goldmine of contradictions and absurdities, but they will not touch it. They spent all their goodwill making self-serious lectures about Trump to an audience that already agreed that he was bad.”
“And,” Mann added, “it’s only getting worse as they internalize leftist ideas and find themselves unable to make fun of liberals without risking alienation or cancellation.”
“They made their bed, though,” he wrote, “so I feel little sympathy now that they have to lie in it.”