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Why THE DAILY SHOW Matters More Than Ever in the Trump Era

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” Author Laurence J. Peter wrote those words in his 1969 book The Peter Principle. Richard Nixon was in office at the time, and these words still ring true today, regardless of one’s political leanings. It’s fitting that in this era of “fake news,” that quote is often erroneously credited to Mark Twain in spite of its obviously anachronistic language.

Yet Peter’s words highlight a feeling that many of us have as we read headlines of leaks coming out of Washington and apocalyptic prognosticating from cable news pundits, creating a sort of echo chamber of half-baked hot takes, political grandstanding, and yammering editorializing that obfuscates the truth of the matter. Thankfully, we also live in a golden age of satirical news programs which manage to trick viewers into learning about the world around them by luring them in through the guise of comedy.

From Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to The Daily Show, satire is proving to be one of the most poignant and effective tools with which to educate the American public about what’s actually happening in the world around them. At a recent Comedy Central press event in Los Angeles, we spoke with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and correspondents Jordan Klepper and Hasan Minhaj about why political satire is resonating now more than ever, and how comedy can and should be a tool used not only to entertain but to inform, as well. Considering that the real mainstream news media can approach hyperbolic heights that sometimes feel like they’re approaching satire, you may as well get the pure, unadulterated stuff from those that do it best.

What is your favorite satirical news program? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Comedy Central

Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious).

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