When Comedy, Reality and Politics Intersect

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello American Postcard by Universal Studios. Photo By Truus, Bob & Jan Too.

An excerpt taken from Abbot and Costello’s comedy skit “Who’s on First. ”

Costello: You gonna be the coach too?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: And you don’t know the fellows’ names?

Abbott: Well I should.

Costello: Well then who’s on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy playing…

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first.

Abbott: That’s the man’s name.

Costello: That’s who’s name?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: That’s it.

Costello: That’s who?

Abbott: Yes.


Libertarian Realist: We need to make sure that we qualify for matching funds if we want to win the election

Libertarian Purist: Libertarians don’t take big government handouts, even when it benefits us

Libertarian Realist:  If we don’t utilize our matching funds we won’t win

Libertarian Purist: I won’t vote for a Party who takes handouts.  I can’t wait until Libertarians win the presidency so that we can abolish this corrupt program.


Trump Supporter:  I am going to vote for Trump because he supports my values.

Political Realist: Really?  How do you feel about tariffs, higher taxes, big government encroachment, bailouts, handouts, skyrocketing debt, uncontrollable deficits and massive public works programs?

Trump Supporter:  I don’t like any of those things but at least I won’t vote for a Democrat.  They’re Socialists!


Conservative Realist:  I don’t agree with the Democrats but Trump is more dangerous.

Conservative Purist:  Trump is definitely more dangerous but I will never vote for a Democrat.  I sure hope Trump doesn’t win.

Conservative Realist:  If this is the prevailing approach then Democrats won’t get enough votes and Trump will win.

Conservative Purist:  If all 9% of us who feel the way I do don’t vote for either major party we will definitely make a statement! I want our statement to be heard loud and clear!

Conservative Realist: I think it will be.


Watching reasonable people deal with unreasonable situations makes for great comedy. If Lucy never got that job in the chocolate factory we would have never had the chance to laugh at her response to the precipitous pace of the conveyor belt.

This is why we are stuck.  On a political level we don’t even know what we want and sound like a comedy skit.  We have been thrust into an inconsistent state and are forced to make choices that are contradictory and self-defeating.  With the exception of Abbott and Costello, any of the people portrayed above could be any one of us. We not only have these arguments out in the open, this is what we struggle with internally as we try to make sense of a political system that has gone berserk.

It’s a very close call but for the 2020 election I find myself falling on the side of Realist.  I know what we will get if Trump is re-elected, I can only surmise any other outcome.  Since any non-Trump scenario is better than what I have recently experienced I will take the most direct approach to remove myself from this dismal reality – even if my compromise appears intellectually amusing.

I understand if you disagree with my conclusion because, depending on the day, I often disagree with my conclusion.  I am still holding out for a better option but, for now, the Realist side is winning and incrementally growing stronger by the day.  Slowly, gradually, steadily, pragmatism is overcoming idealism. More serious, less funny.

In closing, look at it like this, when you are lost in the woods and arrive at a fork in the path you have three options.  You can take one path, you can take the other path or you can make no choice and say “I refuse to be lost in the woods.” It’s a risk but either of the first two options could deliver you to safety.  The third option will not. And that’s not a punchline.

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