Have you noticed that female comedians are doing a much better job of covering the news than...the news? There's Michelle Wolf, Kate McKinnon, Sam Bee, Amber Ruffin, Dulce Sloan and Aparna Nancherla to name a few. These comedians are helping me make sense of what’s happening in the world much better than the news because the news sounds like a 24/7 panic attack. Reporters need to take President Donald Trump seriously in order to be taken seriously themselves. But comedians don't have to entertain Trump's bullshit. Because comedy has a much lower tolerance for it.
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show and founder of Lady Parts Justice League talked to me about why. "Comedy brings the essence of why you should care about something to the foreground," Winstead said, adding, "It picks the targets that you have control over and amplifies their bullshit." But why are female comedians so spot-on with their political commentary right now? “They’re the ones that have things at stake, so they are writing better jokes with more depth,” she said.
Winstead added: "Women comedians and comedians who are not traditional what you think of as a late night talk show hosts, they are the ones that have personal things at stake...so they are writing better jokes that have layers and depth because it’s real life! So I think that part is really cool."
But according to Winstead, that isn't even the right question to ask, "The question should be 'Why are we not holding our media accountable to give us the news in a way that satire doesn't have to be where we get our news?' What it says is comedians are doing the best job reporting the news, and we should all be aghast at that." Winstead is obviously speaking from experience. As the co-creator of the Daily Show she knows that people do get their news from comedy and satire shows.
"I have a track record of using humor to talk about issues. I look at the hypocrisy in what they’re doing and I decide to poke holes in it with humor." Winstead does this through her work with Lady Parts Justice League, a group of feminist comedians, writers and performers she founded who use humor and pop culture to expose the "haters" fighting against reproductive rights. Needless to say, they've been busy recently.
LPJ is the only non profit that travels the country doing comedy, providing aid and comfort (and wine!) to independent abortion clinics in hostile states. This summer, LPJ is on a nation-wide tour (called the Vagical Mystery Tour) to eight cities over the course of eight weeks.
"The humorist as the neutral player can be super powerful if you are willing to make sure whenever hypocrisy happens, you are calling it out, " Winstead said.
Winstead and her tribe will have a busy summer.