08/14/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Bruno" And The Irony Of Satire

All of the to-do over Sacha Baron Cohen's new Bruno movie left me wondering what the big to-do was supposed to be about. Oh, that's right. Homophobia! Hands were wrung in the mainstream media over whether Bruno's uber-gay character would pose more harm to real gay people than to the homophobes Sacha Baron Cohen was exposing on camera. For a good recap of all of that, turn to one of my favorite newspaper writers who still has a newspaper job, the Washington Post's Hank Stuever, for his take on gays and Bruno.

The enterprise reminded me of a recent Ohio State University study on "The Irony of Satire," which found that conservative-minded people believed that Stephen Colbert has only been pretending to be joking about being a pompous conservative blowhard. To wit, the objects of the joke of The Colbert Report don't get the joke. Hence. Ergo. The irony of satire. What happens when you're lampooning someone, or some segment of society, but in exposing their ridiculous notions, they only think you're promoting their cause? Dave Chappelle cited this concern in quitting his successful Comedy Central series and leaving millions of dollars on the table. And now, here we are with Sacha Baron Cohen, and people questioning if gay-haters would simply hate gays more because of Bruno. Well? After debuting with $30.6 million in box-office receipts over the weekend...

For the rest of this commentary, read The Comic's Comic take on Bruno and the Irony of Satire.