Cracking Up

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"The Christmas tree was delivered to the White House yesterday," joked David Letterman this week. And then came the late night punch line: "Just what we need at the White House — more dead wood." Badda-boom.

American humor has turned more political and edgy than it's been in years. And the Letterman/Leno crowd is the least of it. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert lay the satire and send-ups on non-stop. Bill Maher comes with a sledgehammer. So does Dennis Miller, from the other side.

And there's Borat, from his own side. Everything, even the grimmest things, is grist for the mill. Is this insight? Is this evasion?

This hour On Point: the new heyday of politically-charged humor.


Paul Lewis, author of "Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict," and Boston College professor of English

Gideon Evans, head writer of "Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie" and former Daily Show producer

David Rees, creator of the comic strip "Get Your War On"

This program aired on December 1, 2006.


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