Date of Completion

Winter 12-15-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

David Yalof; Matthew Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


The potential effects of political comedy as a critic and an educator have seen increasing research in the past decades. The vast majority of this comedy focused research focuses on general politics and presidential campaigns, overlooking the role comedy can play regarding the Supreme Court, despite research examining the role of traditional news media in informing and shaping opinions about the Court. I connected these areas of research to explore the possible effects of political comedy in regards to the Supreme Court. I studied five late-night political comedy shows and determined each one’s potential to be educational and potential to positively or negatively shape public opinion of the Court relative to the other shows. I found that Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has the highest relative educational potential while Saturday Night Live has the lowest. I found that the most likely show to have a positive impact on public support is The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, while The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has the most potential for a negative impact.