Episode

7/28 The Radicalizing Wormhole Of Right Wing Comedy w/ Nick Marx & Odessa Kelly

July 28, 2022

Emma hosts Nick Marx, associate professor of film and media studies at Colorado State University, to discuss his recent book That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them that he co-authored with Matt Sienkiewicz. Then, Emma is joined by Odessa Kelly, candidate for Congress in Tennessee’s 7th District, to give us an update from the campaign trail. First, Emma dives into the impotent Inflation Reduction Act, the GOP’s block of healthcare for vets exposed to agent orange, and the Right in Congress complaining about the Democrats trying to do two things at once! Nick Marx then joins as he dives right into what inspired his studies of the world of conservative comedy, from the belief that it was an oxymoron with the success of the Daily Show without a right-wing counterpart, to the emergency of Trump and the “is he funny (yes)” arguments. Then, he and Emma walk through the various levels of comedy discussed in the book, from the more basic reactionary comedy of Dave Chapelle that isn’t inherently right-wing to the more obvious institutional conservatism of Fox’s Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld, the latter of which has his own (surprisingly successful) late night show, and discuss how the hatred of ambivalence that can be found in their reactionary backlash plays in pushing this humor further and further to the extreme. Taking a step back, Professor Marx then paints a picture of the institutional similarities between the late-night comedy of the right and left, from the actual formats of the show to the tactics of creating an “in-group” unified around laughing at the “out-group,” before wrapping up with a conversation on the endpoint of this wormhole to the right and the genuine fascists and neonazis that largely act as sources for this reactionary commentary. Then, Odessa Kelly and Emma get right into Kelly’s fight for TN-7, the failure of the right’s attempt to engage in racist gerrymandering, and the beauty of fighting for a base of Black folks and progressives. Next, she walks through her experiences working in unions and fighting gentrification, how they built her knowledge of the role of solidarity in achieving progress, and what we need from positions of power to get stuff done.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Matt and Brandon, with Binder previewing a massive Web3 story he’ll be breaking this evening on Scam Economy, Emma takes on the absurdity of Jim Harbaugh’s “give me your children” policy and the messiah complex of College Football coaches. Noah from Tampa dives into the psychology of conservatives, Andrew Yang finally brews the first truly third party, and Q takes on Right Wingers dominating the discourse around comedy. Matt Gaetz gets absolutely “mothered” by a Pence advisor, the Newsmax goes back to the 2010s backlash to twerking, and the crew explores the US’ response to the monkeypox epidemic, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Nick’s book here: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520382138/thats-not-funny

Check out Odessa’s campaign here: http://odessaforcongress.com/

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