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Political Comedy, Then and Now

President Obama goes on Comedy Central. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart march on Washington. We look at political humor.

President Obama with Jon Stewart on October 27, 2010 (AP).

American political humor has a big, long history. You can take it right back to the Civil War and beyond. And it’s sure big now.

The president last night – days before a big election – on Comedy Central. Comedians, this weekend, leading a march or two on Washington, to “restore sanity,” says Jon Stewart. To “keep fear alive,” says Stephen Colbert.

Comics have skewered presidents and puffed-up politicians forever, but many Americans now say they go to comedians for their news – for a more honest, probing take on what’s going on.

We look at political humor, in the heart of politics.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Danna Young, professor of communication at the University of Delaware. She focuses her research on political satire and the psychology of political humor.

Scott Scantis, editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. See some of his recent cartoons here.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

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Sep 19, 2014
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No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

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