Much as their many fans—and many in the media—would like to believe it, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert aren't truth-speaking "secular saints" who represent the "golden age of political comedy," writes Steve Almond in the Baffler. In fact, their comedy is appealing because we're "lazy": It pokes fun at our political system without inspiring us to do anything about it, he writes. It's good for a few "disposable laughs." The two men are largely corporate products acting as a "cheap and powerful opiate for progressive angst and rage."
For Stewart and Colbert, "the goal is to mollify people, not incite them"; a change in mood before bed is the ultimate goal. Even when Stewart breaks away from his comedy routine to do interviews, they tend to be "cozy affairs," and his Rally to Restore Sanity had little to say. Want to see real political comedy? Check out the late Bill Hicks. Or even tune into South Park, which attacks "both the defensive bigotry of conservatives and the self-righteous entitlement of the left." Almond recognizes fans will be up in arms over his argument. Read it in full here.