FT.com / Arts - Has political satire gone too far?: I agree with Jonathan Coe's answer:
[Political Satire] creates a welcoming space in which like-minded people can gather together and share in comfortable hilarity. The anger, the feelings of injustice they might have been suffering beforehand are gathered together, compressed and transformed into bursts of laughter, and after discharging them they feel content and satisfied. An impulse that might have translated into action is, therefore, rendered neutral and harmless. I remember a recent edition of Radio 4’s News Quiz where the comedian Jeremy Hardy brought this up: after cracking a series of (brilliant) jokes about failed bankers collecting enormous bonuses, he suddenly said, “Why are we laughing about this? We should be taking to the streets.” He was right. So it’s no wonder that the rich and the powerful have no objection to being mocked. They understand that satire can be a useful safety valve, and a powerful weapon for preserving the status quo.