How does humor help democracy? (feat. Trevor Noah)

And laughter for me has always been a powerful tool because I always believe it is the core essence of who we are It reminds us of who we are as human beings You’re not afraid when you’re laughing you-you-you know you’re you’re no longer in shock when you’re laughing. It it truly is just you at your core. It’s why your laugh sounds as ugly as it does. Now I am told by my new comedian friends that explaining jokes is like dissecting a frog, you may learn something from it but the frog dies in the process. So I’m not going to explain anything except to say that for Mark Twain to Will Rogers and Dick Gregory to Whoopi Goldberg humor has been used to tell inconvenient truths in ways that unmask the arrogant and corrupt and enable us to see our own opportunities and responsibilities in a fresh light. Fundamentally in my opinion when you can laugh at somebody in power it reminds them that they like you are still a human being who is accountable to other human beings And once that gets removed there is no more joke, there is no more laughter there is no more funny, and so often times I’m very careful you know to stay away from the idea that comedy enables the freedom. No no, the freedom the freedom enables the comedy, the comedy is is is is a byproduct of that freedom. When you have the comedy then you know that you are you have a certain element you have a certain amount of freedom and that’s something that I appreciate every single day. The core of humor and laughter is a freedom of spirit, certainly of speech in irreverence and assertion of individualism that are essential to a democratic culture. While a joke may sometimes just be a joke to be truly funny there has to be some truth behind it and truth can be dangerous to some, to autocrats in particular In order to be taken seriously in Washington you have to be funny. [Music] [Applause] [Music]

Maurice Vega

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