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The Tragedy of FOX News Comedy

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I heard a rumor a while back that FOX was trying to roll out a right-wing doppelganger for The Daily Show. Well, all the nail-biting and eager anticipation be quelled The ½ Hour News Hour has finally reared its ugly mug (FNC leaked a clip to drudge). And a virtual torrent of accolades have been flooding the internets all morning:
Hal Boedeker, The Orlando Sentinal: Fox News Channel does not know how to do slashing comical commentary ... It is a botch. "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" does not comment on what is happening; it simply takes swipes at people ... Laughter, of an awfully canned variety, greets all the gags. Nothing happening on screen justifies these outbursts ... Fox News Channel will offer a second episode at 10 p.m. March 4. If we're lucky, we'll never hear of this dreadful show again. Bob Cesca, The Huffington Post: If they're going to leak a segment of the show, they should have avoided what is rumored to be a laugh track. I'm not sure why they didn't run through the show with an actual laughing audience, but I could probably fire off a list of reasons. The first being that, as we all know, there aren't many funny Republicans ... Republicans are good at certain things -- making trains run on time for one. And they can certainly appreciate good comedy. They just can't create it. Will Bunch, Attywood: Good grief ... Was there a joke in there? The humor here sort of reminds me of Mad magazine, which I used to devour when I was 11 -- except that Mad was often funny. Right-wing humor must be like a dog whistle -- you have to be a conservative to get it. If you're going to be on the line of mildly (to maybe more than mildly) offensive about the only black man running for president, you'd better make damned sure that it's funny ... This just hangs there, like -- well, like so much B.O. The real kind.
Personally, I think the idea of a conservative comedy show is long past due. Comedy is undoubtedly one of the few arenas in which we can more easily connect with one another and I would be thrilled if conservatives would finally jump on the bandwagon and learn how to laugh at the human condition.
GOP Clowns
The problem is not so much that the show lacks any comedic ... well, let's face it, it's like listening to a 6-year old regaling you with fart jokes. No, the problem with this is that conservativism is not funny. Not these days. Not by a long shot. The brand name of conservatism a la William F. Buckley, etc. has long since been hijacked. Like it or not, true social/fiscal conservatives have allowed themselves through sheer acquiescence to become defined by some of the darkest elements in society. Decades ago, a conservative believed in small government and fiscal responsibility, eschewed social engineering and interventionist nation building, and while their methods may have differed, in most ways they shared the same long-term goals as the rest of us. Today, a conservative is a bitter, overweight drug addict who publicly ridicules the sick and disabled. A conservative is a woman bloated with ambition who lies to congress in order to drag our country deeper into conflict. A conservative is a dangerous fascist seeking to create a list of women who have had abortions. A conservative is an armed xenophobic vigilante who has taken it upon himself to guard against illegal immigrants. And a conservative is a dark, soulless coward who publicly condones waterboarding from the most respected office in the country. Is it fair that these people now define conservativism? Not by a long shot. Is it a double-standard? Maybe. But it's true. Conservatives sold out their ideals to the most sensationalist elements and these new conservatives (and so-called neoconservatives) have ushered us into an uglier world. No matter how much they try, how badly they may want it, these things will never be funny. They aren't even in the same ballpark as funny. In fact, they are so far outside that they are starting to wonder if the ballpark ever really existed. Bottom line: The ½ Hour News Hour stole my funny and I want it back. After watching this clip, I am now operating at a funny deficit. But then again, I suppose creating deficits is something they're really good at. See, now that's funny!

 

Dr. Daverth is an International Relations scholar who writes extensively on global security and postmodern political theory. His daily rants can be found at The Hindsight Factor

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First, it's not very sophisticated (to say the lea... by James Frye on Thursday, Feb 15, 2007 at 10:17:00 PM