On Monday night, about eighty students came to Wilf campus’ Belfer Hall to hear Michael Knowles, a conservative political commentator, speak about “Why The Right Is Funnier Than The Left.” The event was organized by the YU College Republicans as well as the YU chapter of YAF, Young America’s Foundation. Knowles is an actor and hosts a podcast on the Daily Wire, and notably published a blank book in 2017 called “Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide.”
Knowles spoke about the lack of a sense of humor that exists on the left side of the political spectrum, calling out late night show host Jimmy Kimmel for “spending the majority of his program crying instead of telling jokes…On the [political] right, there is a comedic exuberance, all the way up to our president.”
Knowles also spoke about social media platforms and websites like Google and Youtube, and their tendency to attempt to suppress right-wing political conversation.
In regards to the claim in title of his talk–why the right is supposedly funnier than the left– Knowles said, “Comedy violates the sacred, and the Left doesn’t have any sacred. It violates standards; if the Left didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all…The left, now more than ever, has a highly distorted and warped view of the world. Comedy requires, first and foremost, that one accept the tragic fact of life.”
After the speech, the attendees had the opportunity to ask Knowles questions. About ten students asked questions, ranging from topics like gun control to left-wing late night television show hosts.
One of the questions was asked by Rachel Zakharov (SCW ‘19). She asked, “In addition to the fake news, many media outlets that you mentioned, [such as] Google and YouTube, are “burying” conservative/Republican ideas. How can we combat this and promote these ideas and get the real truth out there?” Later, Zakharov said, “I felt my question was relevant to a specific part in his speech, due to the recent ‘burial’ of conservative/Republican ideas. I was looking to see his perspective on ways of combating some of the inaccurate information about Republican/conservative ideas that is often portrayed in media outlets and how we can get the real truth out there.”
Though perhaps not as monumental or controversial as YAF’s Ben Shapiro lecture of December 2016, overall, the event was successful. Alyssa Wruble (SCW ‘19), president of the YU College Republicans, said, “The event was successful and an interesting take on the interaction between culture and politics.”
Nolan Edmonson (YC ‘20), YU College Republicans Co-President, expressed a similar sentiment. “I don’t think he was planning on giving a scholarly lecture on the values of conservatism. Just a lighthearted and witty evening poking fun at those things which divide conservatives and liberals. And to that end I think it was successful.”