American Political Humor

Masters of Satire and Their Impact on U.S. Policy and Culture

by Jody C Baumgartner, Editor


In 2017 Saturday Night Live garnered its best ratings in 23 years, a performance attributed by many to its relentless lampooning of President Donald Trump and his administration.

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Cover image for American Political Humor

October 2019


Pages 680
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/History
  Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
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This two-volume set surveys the profound impact that political humor and satire have had on American culture and politics over the years, paying special attention to the explosion of political humor in today's wide-ranging and turbulent media environment.

Historically, there has been a tendency to regard political satire and humor as a sideshow to the wider world of American politics—entertaining and sometimes insightful, but ultimately only of modest interest to students and others surveying the trajectory of American politics and culture.

This set documents just how mistaken that assumption is. By examining political humor and satire throughout US history, these volumes not only illustrate how expressions of political satire and humor reflect changes in American attitudes about presidents, parties, and issues but also how satirists, comedians, cartoonists, and filmmakers have helped to shape popular attitudes about landmark historical events, major American institutions and movements, and the nation's political leaders and cultural giants. Finally, this work examines how today's brand of political humor may be more influential than ever before in shaping American attitudes about the nation in which we live.


  • Documents the history of political humor in the United States in all of its many forms, with the bulk of coverage weighted toward contemporary political satire and satirists
  • Covers writers, cartoonists, radio personalities, television and movie performers, and internet celebrities
  • Profiles influential television programs, movies, and other forms of entertainment that have made their mark on American politics and culture
  • Includes a chronology of events
Author Info

Jody C Baumgartner is the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of political science at East Carolina University. He received his PhD in political science from Miami University in 1998, specializing in the study of campaigns and elections. He has authored or edited eight books and more than four dozen journal articles and book chapters, individually or in collaboration with others, on political humor, the vice presidency, and other subjects.

Other Titles of Interest

Covering American Politics in the 21st Century cover imageMake 'em Laugh! cover imageAmerican Political Culture cover image
The American Political Party System cover imageEncyclopedia of Media and Propaganda in Wartime America cover imageEncyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture cover image

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