Sunday, February 18, 2007


No News Would Be Good News

Although my dentist will tell you that I have a very high tolerance for pain, watching FOX News' entry in the "Humorous Take on Today's Issues," The Half Hour News Hour, was only slightly less pleasing than Laurence Olivier performing a root canal. And no, it wasn't safe. Since its inspiration, The Daily Show, is essentially a parody of "regular" TV news, and FOX's program is their take on Daily, you're stuck watching a parody of a parody of a TV show. Talk about a dog chasing its own tail.

I knew things were going to go downhill when Limbaugh opened the show as The President of the United States. Limbaugh was a death knell for his own TV show, why would you have him open yours? It just got worse from there. Imagine an SNL Weekend Update sketch from the worst season of NBC's flagship comedy, that goes on, and on, and on ... with a horrible laugh track that was probably composed of canned recordings of 1950s TV audiences, some of whom are now deceased. We have laws against desecrating the dead, you know.

Perhaps they're using a dollar store thesaurus, but "PREACHY" is not synonymous with "HUMOROUS." While there were a couple of good laughs (The Air America joke comes to mind), the show just got worse and worse, and the show's "news anchors" have no sense of comic rhythm or timing. The Ed Begley-in-an-electric-car idea might have gone over well as a sketch, but not a lame description of an idea as opposed to its actual execution.And you know you're grasping at straws when you use the 28-year-old "Shiite Happens" joke. Hoo boy, I've only heard that one about 34,875,269 times since the Iranians invaded the Embassy in 1979.

And yes, there are very funny ACLU jabs. For example, this one.

The irony is that while FOX News can't seem to find a funny bone its entire body politic, FOX Network still has some of the best prime-time comedy on the air: The Simpsons, MAD TV, Family Guy, King of the Hill. Tonight's episode of American Dad had a very intelligent and amusing take on a famous misperception about black scientist George Washington Carver AND idiots (of any race) that believe in historical conspiracies.

Note to Mr. Ailes: Ditch the losers that scripted your first episode's stinkeroo and start raiding your sister network for writing talent. Better yet, hire Robert A. George
, or read a book or two by P.J. O'Rourke or Christopher Buckley. Perhaps HBO can lend you some old tapes of Not Necessarily The News to study . Until then, the writers of The Half Hour News Hour might not only want to keep their day jobs. They might want to also see if Burger King needs extra fry cooks at night.

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