The Implicit Cultural Policies of US Late-night Comedy Shows
Towhidul Islam Khan
Abstract: This paper argues how comedy is used as an implicit tool by US late-night shows to create an informed citizenry. It explores how late-night shows have transcended its original format to emerge as an alternative form of journalism and realized its potential to disseminate political knowledge and debunk political lies through the framework of a cultural entity. These shows successfully package humor as information shortcuts, making it easier to remember facts and leaving a greater lasting impact on both media-savvy and informationally-ignorant audiences. The effectiveness of these shows is strengthened as the use of comedy provides instant gratification, compared to a delayed gratification provided by other hard news sources. This paper further discusses weaknesses of such shows by exploring whether the political allegiance and self-selective set of knowledge of its audience influences the outcome of the viewing. It also argues that US late-night shows create a political/cultural laicity through the use of laughter.
Keywords: implicit, cultural policy, politics, entertainment, audience, information shortcut
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Published in 2018