Saturday, May 16, 2009

Olberman Not as Funny As He Once Was.

Oh let's face it, he's losing his funny in a big way. I don't watch Keith any more, and it's not just because I don't have cable and barely ever watch any TV. Though come to think of it, those are fine reasons.

Here's what happened to KO. He had a light news show, mostly wry and often hilarious commentary about the dominant overlords of the times, Republicans. And it was great because no one else was doing that and Olberman maintained a perfect sarcastic tone all the way through. Then one night, he got sincere.

I don't remember what it was about, but he read his first "special commentary" and it was also great, because no one in the media was that angry about George Bush, even though an awful lot of people outside the media were. It was six solid minutes of righteous anger, and it was invigorating. Had Keith stopped there, I'd still be downloading the shows on Hulu.

But instead, the attention and ratings boost that came from that commentary practically forced another one, and then another. And gradually Keith Olberman has become Glenn Beck, a crazy foam-flecked emotional basked case. And self-important to boot, which is the kiss of death as far as comedy is concerned. Nobody goes to the Marx Brothers movies to see Margaret Dumont.

So I don't watch Olberman any more. I would enjoy Rachel Maddow if I had cable I guess, or the Daily Show. Come to think of it I might enjoy Glenn Beck, because that kind of thing IS great to watch if you can get a little schaudenfreude out of it. But Keith Olberman is dead to me.

Except once in a while when he's still kinda funny.

6 comments:

Publius said...

Now THIS post is funny. You say:

"Keith Olberman has become Glenn Beck, a crazy foam-flecked emotional basked case..."

(Of course, we know you just misspelled basket as "basked" a simple mistake I won't push on.)

See, here is the amusing thing. If ANYTHING is "like" anything, it's Glenn Beck (a show I've never seen) is "like" Olbermann. That would be because Olbermann has been doing the "crazy foam-flecked emotional" deal for years now. Beck is the reflection of THAT deal, not the other way around.

Olbermann has been a silly, over-the-top absurdity for a long, long time. It ain't anything recent! The fact that anyone takes him seriously is an example of the generally low educational standard of people in our country today.

Andrea said...

No, I think DanielK is right about how the show has changed. He described the progression perfectly in this paragraph:

"Here's what happened to KO. He had a light news show, mostly wry and often hilarious commentary about the dominant overlords of the times, Republicans. And it was great because no one else was doing that and Olbermann maintained a perfect sarcastic tone all the way through. Then one night, he got sincere."

Of course, there WAS sincerity behind the lightness and wryness; but that tone, transplanted from sports, was what made the news tolerable.

It was a unique experience: watching Countdown was a way to escape the other networks' drumbeat of fear and stay informed at the same time.

But lately the show's heavy concentration on politics weighs it down. Countdown is no longer a refreshing dip, but instead often an exhausting wallow.

It's happened before, when network executives starting monkeying with the balance and Olbermann tried his best to produce what they wanted. If MSNBC ever gets a new boss, I hope it will be someone who recalls the original Countdown and frees its host to present the show as he himself envisioned it.

Publius said...

All you have to say is that Olbermann is a sports guy and that should disqualify him for serious thought right there!!

Andrea said...

For both news and sports, Olbermann has a string of awards going back years. He's adept at either one. I'm surprised you didn't know that, Publius, it's common knowledge.

Danielk said...

And O'Reilly, you may recall, was the host of tabloid pioneer A CURRENT AFFAIR for his early years. You still want to take shots are Olberman's other jobs?

Warner Todd said...

You assume that a sports "award" means anything to me. That would be a bad assumption. Sports is meaningless twaddle that I find tiresome and childish.