The WSJ gives some background on their rise. The coarsening of our culture is seen in SNL's 1982 firing of the writer who composed a Hitler in the Bunker sketch parodying the head of NBC. Of course the current videos (e.g., this one on Scott Brown) are intentionally over-the-top. Three-Penny Opera (Pirate Jenny) shocked German audiences as well, even as the 1928 Bertold Brecht play (and 1931 film) delighted them. Here are Acts 1 and 2 from a Northwestern University production, with George Grosz sketches as a prelude.
The principle underlying Machiavellianism is playing itself out, in more vulger form. The author of the Prince wrote comedies.