Thursday, February 15, 2007

That Fox "Daily Show" Knockoff Is In For A Bumpy Ride

This weekend Fox News will premiere THE 1/2 HOUR NEWS HOUR, a pretend news cast. It's different from both THE DAILY SHOW and the other 23 1/2 hours of Fox News because the punchlines will be forced and belabored.

For an illustration of why an exclusively Republican comedy show is doomed, click on the title of this post. It's a release from the Minnesota Republican Party which cites quotes from Al Franken that you, a talk-show host or Republican candidate, can use against him.

Franken Jokes About Executing Karl Rove & Scooter Libby.
"The President’s father...has said that outing a CIA agent is treason....What it looks like is going to happen is that [Lewis] Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed....I don’t know how I feel about it because I’m basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed." (CBS’s "Late Show with David Letterman," October 21, 2005)
Franken To Karl Rove: "I Hate You."
"At a black-tie dinner in Washington last spring, Franken says, Karl Rove ribbed him for standing when the president entered the room. But Rove remembers it differently. Franken, he says, came over to him and said, ‘I'm Al Franken. I hate you and you hate me.’ Rove says he was taken aback." (Weston Kosova, "Live, From the Left, It's..." Newsweek, March 29, 2004)
Franken Hates Rush Limbaugh.
Q: "Do you really hate Limbaugh or is he just an easy target?" A: "Both." (Jennifer Senior, "Al Franken, Democrats' Favorite Comic Is Politically Incorrect," The Hill, August 25, 1996)

And my favorite:

Franken Plan To Reduce Debt: Blast The Elderly In Rockets Over Snake River And Put It On Pay-Per-View.
"Every Sunday, we put an elderly (or terminally ill-person) in a rocket, fire it over the Snake River, and put it on pay-per-view. The revenues go straight into reducing the debt." (Al Franken, Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot, Island Books, p. 139, 1996)

Before I saw this I'd have said that Franken's campaign is doomed. Comedy is only effective when it's true, therefore it is the opposite of politics. If the Minnesota RNC runs with this, it could change that equation. This could be the most hilarious negative campaign in history. And how could it happen? Because the people behind this memo are COMEDY BLIND.

I'm not saying you don't see this kind of thing coming from the left. Most of the outrage over Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh hinges on our not understanding when they're kidding and when they're not. Increasingly in Coulter's case I'd say she is; in Limbaugh's case he probably isn't. But only the farthest of far-right pundits are going to look at these quotes and say "he hates Karl Rove? That Franken is a monster!" The people who don't recognize the old switcheroo in RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT are going to run with this stuff, the rest are going to doubt their sanity.

It's easy to conclude that the right as a whole has no sense of humor, that they are the Margaret Dumonts and the Biff Tanners of the political process. It can't be true. They are half the country after all, and comedy sells. But extremism is almost always devoid of a sense of humor. And it isn't the centrists who put out this memo, nor are they writing a comedy show for Fox.

We have met the enemies of liberty, and ye shall know them by their inability to deliver a punchline.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a Super cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

The Snake River