Think about it this way. How often has humor engaged us to better understand tragedy? How long after certain tragedies, do we hear the first joke? Not out of disrespect, but out of a way to get our arms around something that our brains have trouble comprehending.
When David Letterman asked, after 9/11, if we would ever laugh again, he was going to the heart of the role humor and satire play in our society.
From Mark Twain to Will Rogers, from Mort Sahl to Stephen Colbert, satire has been a translator of the American experience.
Sophia McClennen dishes it up in Is Satire Saving Our Nation?: Mockery and American Politics.
My conversation with Sophia McClennen: