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Comedian Hari Kondabolu on Political Jokes in the Age of Trump

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Hari Kondabolu
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Undoubtedly, President Donald Trump has had a “yuge” impact on the comedy world, and some are touting this as a golden age for satire and political comedy. But for comedians like Hari Kondabolu, the so-called Trump Bump has just made their brand of humor more immediately relatable for audiences. 

"He sadly creates a very easy segue into very difficult material. I mean, I wish it wasn’t the case, but unfortunately it does kind of make it a little easier," Kondabolu says. 

He explains, "It's one thing when you say the sky is falling and no one's looking up and paying attention. And then the sky falls and then they want to know why it fell. And that's where I'm at right now: the sky fell, and so I can now explain why it fell." 

Kondabolu was a political comedian long before Trump's candidacy, but he feels as though the divisive rhetoric dominating much of the political dialogue in the U.S. has made his work seem more relevant to some audiences. He doesn't think of President Trump as an "endless source" of material, but appreciates that his jokes have brought comfort to some of his audiences in a way they may not have before the election.

"It's a good feeling to know that I can contribute positively and that, especially now, maybe some of the things I'm saying have a little bit more impact and... more relevance to people - even though it should have had relevance before," he says. "But it also means that something must have happened and something is happening currently in the country, that has scared people into finding some catharsis with me." 

Kondabolu will be headed back to Milwaukee, Friday, September 15 for a couple of shows at The Underground Collaborative

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.