A Taxing King Arthur Parabel

We think of the tales of King Arthur as ancient tales of a long-ago fantasy world, but it’s important to remember that, in their time, these stories were used as both political commentary and social satire. The tales of Camelot could be epic and romantic, but they could also be absurd and hilarious.

(Anyone who thinks the stories of the Knights of the Round Table are stuffy and serious should read the French tale Aucassin et Nicollette, in which the king gets pregnant and gives birth while the queen leads the knights in an epic food fight. Today’s mindless, gross-out summer comedies are tame by comparison!)

In a recent episode of The Daily Show, however, viewers were treated to a taste of the lore of King Arthur as biting, contemporary political humor. It’s not often that the fine points of the stories of Lancelot, St. George and Guenevere (as well as Aesop’s Fables) are used to elicit laughter out of footage from C-SPAN – but maybe that’s why fans of chivalry find this segment from a recent episode of Comedy Central’s “news” show particularly funny.

Warning: The attached clip from The Daily Show contains “bleeped” adult language. Please use your discretion when viewing.