How Humor Can Help Americans Overcome Their Political Polarization

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Are you planning to talk politics at Thanksgiving dinner this year?

Depending on your family’s dynamics, it can be fraught with danger. But filmmaker Rob Feld, director of a new documentary called “Jesters and Fools,” says there’s a way to navigate such conversations without resorting to creating acrimony.

“I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones,” Feld tells The Daily Signal. “Don’t be afraid to talk about things, but there are good ways to talk about things. And it’s by asking questions of each other and not trying to repress that desire we all have to just attack.”

Feld’s film, “Jesters and Fools,” challenges the popular media narrative that we are hopelessly divided as Americans. He recruited popular comedians like Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, and Rosebud Baker to tell the story.

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“I’m a journalist by trade and background,” Feld says. “I need facts and data, something I can demonstrate. And humor is a great way to wrap it all in sugar.”

To make the film, Feld found himself spending his nights at Comedy Cellar, a club in New York City. He began to recruit comedians to appear in the film, using humor to tell the story.

Using the research of Duke University professor Chris Bail, director of the Polarization Lab, Feld discovered that social media and technology are leading us to think we’re hopelessly divided. He created the documentary to challenge those assumptions, with the goal of bringing Americans together rather than further dividing them through online feuds.

Feld hopes “Jesters and Fools,” with its use of humor, can lower the temperature and reduce polarization.

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