Talk shows must rebalance comedy with news

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

Last year spawned more political activity on social media than perhaps ever before.

Largely fueled by the presidential election (and to be honest, our many glorious memes), people of all ages took to social media and proved that this generation is one of the most connected in history.

But along with social media, the entertainment industry also had a revolution. Shows like “The Blaze” and “The Daily Show” have grown their followings thanks to the eccentric personalities of their hosts Tomi Lahren and Trevor Noah.

But few talk shows really dig into politics and make it the biggest part of the content — even fewer seem to do it right.

Lahren is most known for her #FinalThoughts segment where she drives her point forward without regard for the uprising she creates with her words. Many don’t find Lahren enjoyable to watch because of her one-track mind and aggressive opinions.

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Noah, on the other hand, steps away from the ranting to structuring his show around making a mockery of whatever politics are happening during the time. In most of his interviews, Noah gives his best effort to tear apart his guests with what seems like an endless arsenal of jokes. The problem with Noah’s approach is that he only tells jokes instead of really trying to report a holistic view of the current events.

When your show is followed by millions of people around the world, you shouldn’t fuel hatred. In a time of such divide, talk show hosts should look to find common ground instead.

Merely breaking down one side and claiming a victory doesn’t give proper insight for the audience.

In a recent article for Vox, culture writer Caroline Framke praised talk show host Seth Meyers for his show. She explained how Meyers is one of the few talk show hosts who has handled a political guest by asking all of the right questions as well as integrating comedy to release any major tension.

Meyers had Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, as one of his guests on Jan. 10. Conway has been on multiple talk shows and is infamous for her ability to “dodge” questions about Trump.

However, Conway met her match when she was interviewed by Meyers, who made sure Conway knew she was dodging the question after a response.

“That’s a pivot right there, Kellyanne,” Meyers said. “Nobody does it better.”

Meyers displayed the perfect balance between comedy and journalism by asking all of the right questions, and he blocked every jump Conway made to a different subject. Meyers was the epitome of good late night entertainment, and talk show hosts should look to approach the Trump presidency the same way Meyers has.

Now that the inauguration is over, there is much more turmoil yet to come, especially with all of the allegations of Russia potentially compromising information, both private and political, about Trump.

It’s essentially a feast of content for the entertainment industry. But in order to be effective, hosts must not forget the importance of presenting proper information to their viewers.

They hold great power being in front of the camera and in this time, we need the quality of the content to be as great as it has ever been.

Saketh is a freshman in DGS.
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