Meet the Bill Maher from the right who is changing entertainment
By Rachel Alexander
Conservatives frequently complain there are not enough of us in show business, but that may be because they are overlooking some of their top talent. Evan Sayet, a former mainstream stand-up comic and writer for comedians like Bill Maher, has hosted The Right to Laugh for years, the longest running conservative commentary show in America. He is taking his show on tour around the country this year, with stops in Phoenix, Chicago, Boston and New York. Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Miller, Larry Elder and Dennis Prager all call him "brilliant." Hugh Hewitt describes him this way, "There's funny, there's VERY funny and then there's Evan Sayet." Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report says, "Evan has crossed that line from 'funny to important.'"
Evan's jokes pierce through the rhetoric, forcing people to think, as they hit the left both intellectually and emotionally,
I had the chance to interview Evan this weekend and was surprised at some of the things he told me about conservatives in entertainment. Since the younger generations are increasingly interested in entertainment, conservatives need to start making more inroads there. I asked Evan how we can get more conservatives interested in becoming entertainers, and he said that wasn't the problem. There are plenty of conservative entertainers, the problem is we're not supporting them. Unlike the left, conservatives are more likely to have families, so they tend to be busier with family events, church, etc., blowing off our entertainers.
Compounding the problem is that it is harder to get the word out about conservative entertainers. Late night TV is dominated by the left, so they aren't going to get invited on key programs like The David Letterman Show. Secondly, since the mainstream media is primarily controlled by the left, it's hard to get news publicity.
As a result, conservative entertainers must rely on word of mouth and the grassroots. Evan told me, "I consider myself an activist. I'm different than the Tea Parties, but still an activist. I need the other activists to take action." Fortunately, conservatives in entertainment today have it better than in the past. Evan explained,
Another problem Evan spoke to me about was the "milquetoast" nature of conservative entertainment. "Where are the edgy movies?" he asked. "Name any modern art featuring Christ that is as well-known as the left's Vagina Monologues," he challenged me. "You can't. There's only the left's version, the disgraceful photograph of a cross in urine."
When some edgier conservative entertainment has come along, like the South Park conservatives, it has been mostly ignored until it withers away. Evan did note that his act is fairly clean, with no gratuitous vulgarities.
He grew up as a left-leaning Jew in New York, becoming a conservative because of 9/11. He relayed what changed his mind,
Evan majored in Political Science during college, but was not engaged in politics for many years the way many activists are because he focused on the campaigns and elections side. He was more interested in the game of how to get elected than policy. He learned from the experience, "Running an effective political campaign doesn't necessarily translate into a great leader."
I asked Evan how he decided to become a stand-up comedian. He said it was easy; after college he was trying to figure out what to do with his life, and about the same time stand-up comedy started booming. It was an industry that had never existed before in the world. It came about due to the advent of cable television. Suddenly, there were 100 channels instead of three that needed programming. There's not much cheaper entertainment to broadcast than a stand-up comedian. There's no need for a set, since it can be filmed at a club, and there is no script or staff. It was great for cable as each station was trying to establish its brand; black channels could feature black comedians, etc. It was a great job,"You only worked from 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and every once in a while you got the girl." Even reality TV today is more expensive than stand-up comedy, since it requires editing. Not so for stand-up comedy, the comedians know their act and perform it straight through at a club.
After performing stand-up comedy for a few years, he had children and needed a job where he wasn't on the road all the time, so he started writing for TV shows. He became a gun for hire, writing scripts for comedians like David Letterman and Arsenio Hall. But after he had his change of politics, he realized he didn't want to write for those kind of people anymore. He told me, "I don't believe them now, and I know they do damage to our culture." After 9/11, he decided he wanted to enter the culture war, and figured out that stand-up comedy was the skill he could bring to it.
One frustrating aspect of being a conservative in comedy Evan finds is the inability to get through to other comedians. He laments, "You'd think if anyone could discuss politics, it would be political humorists." When he attempts to talk with them and explain how they're factually wrong, they always have the same vitriolic response, they shut down and close him out.
Evan lives in the greater L.A. area, and I asked him how he's survived in Hollywood all these years, especially as it's become increasingly progressive. He told me that Hollywood is three different things: industry, location and mindset. Since becoming a conservative, he's been able to eliminate himself from the industry aspect; he doesn't go to the networks, he doesn't need to write for the shows anymore.
At that moment during our interview, Evan saw a squad of police cars pull up nearby, prompting him to observe, "The reason law enforcement officers are conservative is because they have to be right or they get hurt. Whereas liberalism is based on being very clever. They don't have to be right. They just have to sound smart. ‘The clever but wrong fireman soon gets burned' is the title of a chapter in his book, KinderGarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks.
Evan ties this into what happened to the musical artist Bruce Springsteen, who became very vocal about his Democrat views. Evan used to admire him more than any other musical artist. The late Andrew Breitbart asked Evan to write a feature story on Springsteen when he launched Breitbart in 2009. Evan explains, "If Springsteen is wrong, it doesn't matter, so he can espouse whatever liberal viewpoints he wishes. But he's actually a Republican if you look at him closely, even though he says otherwise. What is going on is this: I know conservatives who are afraid to espouse their views since they've been told they're bigoted."
I asked Evan what his book is about, and he explained that he is also a serious political speaker. He gave a speech to The Heritage Foundation in 2007, which Andrew Breitbart declared one of the five most important speeches ever. It presented a unified view theory of liberalism, explaining why decent people ignore facts, reject reason, and end up siding with evil over good at every single turn. It ended up being the most viewed speech ever from The Heritage Foundation. His book was an expansion of that speech. Bill Whittle of PJTV has said about it, "Perhaps the most important book I've read in the last ten years. It has forever changed and clarified the way I view the world."
To illustrate his message, Evan points to how the left views the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. "It was a well-orchestrated murder of our ambassador," he said. "How could you believe it was due to some video that happened to come out six months earlier? Israel is surrounded by evil and yet they decide the problem is the Jew? My speech and book answer that."
I asked him the million dollar question next, why are so many Jews liberal? He responded, "In order to call yourself a Jew, it is different than any other religion. To call yourself a Christian or Muslim, you have to believe in something, and adhere to certain scripture, rights, rituals, and practices. You don't have to believe anything to call yourself a Jew."
I pressed him further on why Jews lean to the left considering there are so many left-wing totalitarian regimes that hate them. He agreed that leftism is inherently Jew hating, whether communism, socialism or similar. The problem is "the modern Jew see two parties in the U.S.; the party of Christian values, and the party of no values." This is unfair, since American Christianity is different than European Christianity; American Christians embrace Jews. No one else calls it Judeo-Christianity. Those with no values are going to reject Jews since they have values. He agreed that it is unfair American Jews give the Christian leanings of the Republican Party much more weight than any other issue distinguishing the parties.
I asked Evan his thoughts on the GOP presidential primary. He told me, "I'm incredibly excited about the depth of talent, decency and goodness in this race. When you look at the left, you see two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both who are despicable. In contrast, you see good smart articulate people on our side. I can be nothing other than proud of this lineup, which we get to choose the best of the best from."
Comedy and serious political work make up Evan's full-time job, and there's a very thin line between the two. He loves to read for fun, and it tends to be political. Words mean everything to him, he enjoys analyzing lyrics to songs and singing karaoke. He loves sports, particularly hockey. He grew up as an athlete and was a ranked tennis player in his youth.
His videos, book, and upcoming appearances can all be found at his website, evansayet.com. If conservatives are serious about making inroads into entertainment and reaching a younger demographic, they need to get the word out about his comedy shows. Evan describes it as, "Politics in the guise of comedy and satire. Another way of delivering the message we have to deliver." He used to mainly perform for high-end events like presidential fundraisers, but by going on tour, anyone can attend his shows for only $20. It's time to stop whining about the left dominating entertainment and put our money where our mouths are. See you at the show!