Public Engagement, Propaganda, or Both? Attitudes Toward Politicians on Political Satire and Comedy Programs

Rebecca Higgie


This article reports findings of a project that examined people’s attitudes toward politicians who participate in political satire and comedy programs. It surveyed 489 participants on their attitudes about satire’s political function and the politicians who play along or satirize themselves on those programs. The politicians’ own communication skills were found to be important, but the key to their success was also related to factors such as the format of the performance, the type of humor used, the status of the satire program in broader political discourse, and the role of the satirist as either facilitator or combatant. It was found that satire is a complex practice that can endorse as it criticizes and create sympathy as it ridicules.


satire, comedy, political communication, Barack Obama, Nick Clegg, Maxine McKew

Full Text: