If your job is to write comedy, there’s only one way to know you’re doing it right: the audience laughs. Lately, though, the problem from some comic writers — on both sides of the fence — has been to deliver a joke that’s actually funny, rather than a joke that just pleases the political outlook of its audience. What happens then isn’t laughter, it’s applause. Or “clapter.”
RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, “Woo-hoo.” It means they sort of approve but didn’t really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.
She’s right. Look, we all know that’s basically what the Daily Show is, mostly — a soothing round of clapter for the left. And we’ve complained about it and complained about it, but mostly all we’ve done on our side is deliver up some clapter of our own.
Which is too bad, because done right, comedy can be politically powerful. Once you make a fool out of someone, once you can evoke genuine laughter (as opposed to clapter), it’s awfully hard to take that person seriously again. We haven’t done such a great job at that, on our side. We’ve made each other laugh, of course, but we haven’t yet managed to draw real blood.
This, though, is different. if I could embed it, I would. The immensely clever folks at RightChange.com have done something truly funny, truly witty, and devastating to that useless bag of bones Harry Reid. They’ve turned him into Michael Scott, the hapless and futile character from The Office.
Don’t miss it.