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The Funniest Comic Bits That Skewer the Drug War by Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart et al

While the drug war is not a laughing matter, comedians are often able to capture the absurdity and insanity better than policy papers and traditional journalism.
 
 
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Comedy is powerful. And while the drug war is not a laughing matter, comedians are often able to capture the absurdity and insanity better than policy papers and traditional journalism.

Below are five humorous clips that allow us to laugh, so we don’t have to cry.

1. Chris Rock: The Government Wants us To “Just Say No”… Unless They Are Legal Drugs!

Chris Rock highlights the hypocrisy of the government’s “Just Say No” to drugs message. While the Government arrests 1.5 million people each year for illicit drugs, we are inundated with non-stop commercials pushing legal drugs. Rock ridicules these commercials that can “help” you for a range of “symptoms”: Do you ever feel lonely, sad, hot, cold...? Then we have the drug for you! (watch clip until 1:20)

2. Bill Hicks: I Have Taken Drugs, Had a Good Time and Had No Problems

While propaganda implies that most drug use is bad and will lead to terrible things, Bill Hicks reminds us that not all drug use is problematic. He used drugs, had a good time. He never robbed anyone, raped anyone and never lost a job. Different people have different relationships with different drugs. The majority of people who do use drugs, from alcohol to marijuana to caffeine are able to do so without causing themselves harm. 

3. The Daily Show: Hypocrisy of Lawmakers Drug Testing the Poor for Benefits

The Daily Show did the best reporting to date on the growing trend of opportunistic lawmakers introducing legislation to drug test people who receive unemployment benefits. Daily Showcorrespondent Aasif Mandvi did a humorous segment that features politicians, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, hypocritically forcing poor people to pee in a cup in exchange for money to feed their children, but refusing to take the urine test themselves.

The segment successfully counters stereotypes and misinformation (by showing that people who receive benefits do not use drugs more than the general public) and the myth that these tests are about saving taxpayer money (these programs actually cost much more money than they save).

4. The Chappelle Show: Tron Carter's Law & Order

Segment description on Chappelle Show website: “In an alternate universe, drug dealer Tron Carter switches places with a white man convicted of the same crime.” This skit reminds us how quick the war on drugs would end if white people were arrested, prosecuted  and incarcerated the way Blacks and Latinos are under the war on drugs. Whites and Blacks use and sell drugs at similar rates, but Blacks go to jail 13 times the rates of whites. In New York, 84 percent of those arrested on marijuana possession charges are Black and Latino, despite the fact that whites smoke at similar rates.

5. The Daily Show: NJ Gov. Christie’s Hypocrisy; Supports States Rights When it Comes to Gambling, Not When it Comes to Marijuana

The Daily Show beautifully highlights the hypocrisy of Gov. Christie who is all about state’s rights when it comes to challenging the Federal Government with regards to legal gambling in New Jersey, but his opposition to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana because it goes against federal law.  Watch what happens when  Jon Stewart shows clips of Christie speaking on both issues.

Bonus: Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann on the Colbert Report

Leave it to Stephen Colbert to make a conversation with the Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann, both humorous and informative! There is a reason that so many people get their news the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

You gotta love the comics. They can say things that others are afraid to say. I hoped you enjoyed these clips. I know this is just the tip of the humor iceberg. Please post your favorite clip or email them to me at tnewman@drugpolicy.org

Tony Newman is communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance.