Washington (Talk Media News)- U2 frontman Bono suggested during an appearance before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday that lawmakers should consider using comedians like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen to combat violent extremism.
“Comedy should be deployed,” Bono said. “You laugh at them when they’re goose-stepping down the street, and it takes away their power.”
At least one of the three people suggested by Bono have replied, although whether or not they support his proposal is a little unclear. Schumer tweeted a two–word “Holy” response that would not pass the Federal Communication Commission’s gatekeepers.
Bono’s suggestion is not implausible. There’s a long history of using comedy to win the war of ideas.
The 1940s were fertile ground for a wide variety of anti-Nazi comedy.
One of the most prominent examples is Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator, a satirical film that casts Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel, a clear caricature of Adolph Hitler.
While the movie has its fair share of physical comedy, it primarily serves as a vessel for Chaplin’s critiques of Fascism, highlighted by a closing speech calling for both Democracy and human dignity.
Three years later, Donald Duck donned a Nazi uniform for a send-up of Hitler and the day-to-day annoyances of authoritarian regimes.
In the 1960s, director Stanley Kubrick tried his hand at black comedy and ended up releasing one of the most important pieces of satire of the cold war era.
Doctor Strangelove in 1964 took on the paranoia of the nuclear age and presented a believable world in which secrecy, mistrust and one insane general with a desire to protect his precious bodily fluids from Soviet influence could lead to global Armageddon.
The extremist targets in this case? Hardliners in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Fast forwarding to more modern times, the duo behind the Comedy Central program South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have probably offered the most prominent, albeit off-color, satirical take on Middle Eastern extremism.
Two months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the show depicted the foul-mouthed, overweight Eric Cartman stumbling across Osama bin Laden’s hide out.
What followed was a modern day back-and-forth that paid tribute to the anti-Nazi cartoons of years prior.
As for fulfilling Bono’s plan though, it doesn’t seem like the suggestion is bound to just end in laughter.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told Bono that this wasn’t the first time she had heard such a request.
“It’s one of the things that we’re looking at,” Shaheen said.