Political satirist Miloslav Å imek died today of leukemia. I can’t say his monologues always had me rolling, as many of them fell flat. But he was one of the few individuals in Czech media to actually criticize those in power, and he did this with humor. Because of this, his influence extended far beyond the audience for shows like “Politické haraÅ¡ení aneb S politiky stále netančíme (Political Harassment, or We Still Don’t Dance With Politicians).”

American society seems to be heading in a similar direction, with an awful lot of Americans getting their news via The Daily Show, or the monologues of Jay Leno, David Letterman or Conan O’Brien. Like the late night shows, Å imek’s show, cohosted with popular radio talkshow host Zuzana Bubílková, was a mix of monologues, interviews and skits. I think my good friend Wade Daniels was even a guest on one of his shows Back in the Day, but I could be wrong about that.

Post ’89 comedy has tended to be either wildly absurd (like the excellent Česká soda) or lowbrow wee-wee jokes (Tele Tele). I don’t see anyone on the horizon who could even come close to the kind of satire Å imek was famous for, which I guess in itself is high tribute.

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