Rumble of Cynical Chuckling

‘The problem with most satire, I’ve started to feel, is that it doesn’t just preach, it preaches to the converted. Satire – besides being what Milan Kundera disparagingly called a “thesis art” – actually suppresses political anger rather than stoking it up. Political energies which might otherwise be translated into action are instead channelled into comedy and released – dissipated – in the form of laughter. An interviewer recently asked me if I thought there was a dearth of political satire in this country at the moment. I would argue that there is too much. Our comedians have a default position – comfortably left-liberal, slightly sneery, relying on sharing rather than challenging the assumptions of their audience – and this keeps up a low-level rumble of cynical chuckling which allows our political masters to keep on doing whatever they want to do, completely untouched and unthreatened…’ (Jonathan Coe)


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