by Kayla Coursey
Will Rogers was the first to say, “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke,” in the early 1900’s. The same sentiment was shared by John Oliver when he recently said, “We used to listen to politicians and laugh at comedians. Now we laugh at politicians and listen comedians.”
These observations have become true in a way Americans did not anticipate: comedian Aziz Ansari has announced that he is running for president.
Ansari has very strong opinions on issues like immigration, being the son of Indian immigrants.
“I was the first generation of my family to be born in America… Pretty amazing thing our parents did right? They came to the country… And they figured it out,” said Ansari. “A very brave and courageous thing, and I feel like we never sit down and thank them for it. And we should!”
He has also been quoted on several occasions talking about feminism and his identity as a feminist.
“If you believe that men and women have equal rights,” said Ansari, “if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work. You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ Oh, so you’re a dermatologist? ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No, no, not at all, not at all.'”
Ansari, while an unconventional presidential candidate, has harnessed a large following through his progressive views, his respectful and equal treatment of women, his narratives about the life of immigrants, and his naturally comedic and likable personality.
“Aziz Ansari is my spirit animal,” said one Ansari supporter.
Other comedians are following Ansari’s lead, including another popular comedian Donald Trump.
Trump said in his announcement speech, “That is some group of people. Thousands.” There was a pause for the paid crowd of fifty to laugh. He continued, “There has been no crowd like this. And I can tell you some of the candidates went in and they didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work. They sweated like dogs. They didn’t know the room as too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS? I don’t think that’s going to happen.” He earned uproarious applause and laughter from the crowd.
He also promised, “I will build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”
Like many other comedians, Donald J. Trump had humble beginnings.
“It has not been easy for me,” said Trump, “You know, I started out in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars, I came into Manhattan, and I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest.”
His arrival on the comedic scene was grudgingly welcomed, reportedly because he bought drinks for the entire comedy club. His money has become his comedic virtue, with the power to partially color his audience’s view.
“Let’s do a pledge!” he urged attendees at a presidential speech. “Everybody here – Who likes me in this room?” There were scattered noises, interpreted by some to be applause. “Okay. I’ve never done this before. Can I have a pledge, a swearing? Raise your right hand. I do solemnly swear,” the crowd mumbled an echo, “that I, no matter how I feel, no matter the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever,” the crowd mumbled some more. “Close enough. Will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president. Thank you. Now I know.”
Often the comedian speaks for himself. He said in a speech “You’re generally better off sticking with what you know.”