I don’t talk about politics much on stage. But it’s not because I’m shy about what I believe.
As the five people who follow me on Twitter can attest, I’m pretty open about my political views. I think, as a party, Republicans have become the enemy of progress. As a party, Democrats are disappointingly timid in their goals. As a a group, progressives (the group I lean most towards) have perfected the circular firing squad and have no idea how to make gains in a political machine. As a cult, Trump voters are depressingly predictable and nowhere near as fringe as we pretend their brand of lunacy is. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.
One of the glories of having zero social media reach is the joy of saying things like that and not hearing people’s idiotic arguments against any of it. We’re not changing minds on Twitter. You think I’m wrong, and have your list of experts you trust to back up your opinion. I think you’re wrong and have my list of experts to back up my opinion. Both of us will blame the other’s priors for discounting the expert opinions we’ve presented. That’s how this works.
I’m not typing up a diatribe about how social media has ruined political discourse (because it hasn’t – we’ve always been bad at it on a mass level). I’m just pointing out, that it’s VERY easy to find out what I believe in a few clicks. And that’s surprising to some audience members who look me up after a show. The number of times I’ve heard, “I liked you but I was disappointed to see how you felt about my president” (I’m paraphrasing, because it’s never that polite) is uncountable without assistance at this point.
I don’t do a lot of political jokes, because I don’t see the challenge in it, and at its base level, stand up is meant to be challenging to me. I want to get laughs, but I want to get laughs based on clever writing, solid timing, unique misdirection, or a well placed facial expression. Political jokes don’t do that, for me. There are great comics who do a lot of political material, and I enjoy that. But when I talk about politics, it gets either angry or preachy, and neither is funny.
The unchallenging part of it is the instant predictable reaction the audience will give me when I make one. For the people who agree with me, it’s just as hacky as standing on stage in rural Missouri and saying “Give it up for the troops!” in the middle of your set. For the people who disagree with me, it’s just as hacky as some edge lord doing edge lord shit in a church basement. So, I stay away from directly political jokes for the most part, though I think my political leanings are fairly obvious when someone sees me.
I do warn the audience not to look me up on Twitter if they don’t want to know for sure who I didn’t vote for.