I am a fan of many radio shows, podcasts as the youth call them. Most of the shows I like are news-related trivia shows like National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, or Because News on CBC Radio. In both cases, comedians spoof headlines and news stories, injecting humour into what lately has become a dreary, oppressive news loop. It’s amazing how far we’ve declined in such a short time period.
Less than four years ago the main worry in the news loop was what the then-Cheeto-dusted “leader of the free world” would do or say, and what funny images were on our leader’s socks.
Now the news is about war and plague, inflation and civil rights. It’s difficult to stop and laugh about something if you’ve turned on the news anywhere. It feels like no matter what progress has been made, we’re now slipping backwards. Houses are unaffordable, groceries nearly the same, and don’t look at the price when passing by a gas station.
It worries me seeing kids graduating college and not knowing if they will be able to ever purchase a home of their own.
Backwards thinking is getting in the way of forward progress. That’s been in the news lots in the last five years. It’s ironic that many people around the world look up to certain countries to be the beacons of liberty and freedom. People living in said country will march for individual freedoms, but then deny those freedoms to 50 per cent of the population. Life and liberty indeed. The right to carry a gun is far more important than the right to do what you wish to your own body – right?
That said, maybe people should not expect great moral fortitude from a country that sells alcohol cheaper than basic grocery staples like milk and bread – or argues that having teachers armed would prevent gun violence in school. There is not much humour south of the border lately.
Casting a glance at domestic news – it’s not that much better I’m afraid. Sure, we can cast spitballs at the different candidates running for the Conservative Party leadership: it’s difficult not too. But turning away from identity politics and fiat-money technology schemes – we have many of the same problems as they do in other parts of the world. Ours are just less vocalized or we’re too polite to air the laundry. Well, I’m not that polite.
We still have hallway medicine, emergency departments clogged up, underfunded education and health care systems, increasing childhood poverty, fewer jobs, higher interest rates, fewer houses, homelessness, a lack of mental health funding and resources, no plans to deal with the environment, governments that plan only two inches in front of their leaders’ faces, institutional racism, no drinking water in many Indigenous communities, problems reconciling our colonial past, infrastructure deficits, urban migration issues, and so on. Whew! And those are just a few off the top of my head.
This is why I believe we need more funny. Much more funny. People need to laugh. I need to laugh more.
The problem is, I don’t know how to convert some of the serious issues we’re facing into something funny. It’s difficult, and probably not politically correct, to laugh at many of the issues we have as a society.
I’ve tried looking on the Internet for a solution, only to end up watching clips of the Comedy Central show Roast Battle where two comedians insult each other in a knockout, drag them out, no-holds-barred fashion. It’s funny, but definitely not the appropriate type of funny.
Sadly, like high inflation and gas prices, I think we’re going to be stuck in this feedback loop of almost-all news is bad-news for a while until we start moving forward again.
Until then, I’ll look to the news for some funny, maybe.