First review of Fox comedy show: It’s an atomic bomb; Update: Promo video added

posted at 4:20 pm on February 14, 2007 by Allahpundit

Sounds like that clip I posted yesterday was some of the stronger material, god help us:

This show was meant to be a conservative version of “The Daily Show.” It is a botch.

“The 1/2 Hour News Hour” does not comment on what is happening; it simply takes swipes at people. These people include Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Ed Begley Jr. Other joke topics are the ACLU, Time magazine, children’s books and global warming.

Laughter, of an awfully canned variety, greets all the gags. Nothing happening on screen justifies these outbursts.

Hey, I’m all for a good dig at the high and the mighty. But these satirists fall short of hitting their targets with wit, timeliness or punch…

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.

Even discounting for the presumed anti-FNC liberal bias of the reviewer, it’s a pan. Which brings us to our exit question, per an e-mail exchange I was privy to this morning involving bloggers who shall remain nameless: with this show poised to do for conservative humor what “Pink Lady and Jeff” did for variety, is it better if Fox just pulls the trapdoor and walks away whistling?

Update: False flag!

The new FoxNews’ show is, because it is playing on an ostensibly all-news network, is thus compelled to follow Tina Fey’s mistake, albeit with even weaker material. Material so weak, in fact, that one suspects the writers are all liberals deliberately sabotaging the show, or so horribly out of touch with conservative opinion as to have no real idea what a conservative might find funny, or — likeliest of all — convinced conservatives are abject morons who will not get a joke unless it’s seltzer-down-the-pants woca-woca-woca sledgehammer obvious.

Update: Dear god.


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Don’t even whistle. It would bring too much attention to the trap door.

Pat Meebles on February 14, 2007 at 4:22 PM

Don’t even whistle. It would bring too much attention to the trap door.

Agreed. I was really hoping for some good comedy from that video clip you showed yesterday, AllahP, but I was so disappointed. The point of satire is to make people laugh. They messed up.

TheThink on February 14, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Whose head will roll for this blunder?

Tru2my2 on February 14, 2007 at 4:31 PM

Rush Limbaugh said this morning that he and Ann Coulter have an opening segment on the show as them acting as the President and Vice President. I can’t wait to see that. He also said that the clip of the segment would be on YouTube this afternoon, but I can’t seem to find.

BJ on February 14, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Yes, God yes. Quietly step off to the side, fix it, and bring it back in a few months. Only Brit Hume would laugh at that show.

Savage on February 14, 2007 at 4:33 PM

This show has cameos by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, it’s produced by the creator of 24, and it airs on Fox News. And you’re surprised to see a bad review?
This show will be criticized endlessly, and if it succeeds, we’ll be told it causes cancer.

billy on February 14, 2007 at 4:33 PM

I saw a segment of the show this morning and they need to can the canned laughter, and if they really insist on trying to do a “Daily News” type show get Penn and Teller or Dennis Miller or Carlos Mencia to do the humor.

LakeRuins on February 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM

I am dumber for having watched it.

Kahuna on February 14, 2007 at 4:35 PM

Wicked Wicked Games is better.

Limerick on February 14, 2007 at 4:36 PM

Allahpundit has obviously been paid off by Roger Ailes to lower our expectations for this show so we’ll be pleasantly surprised when it premieres. I don’t see how a reasonable person could come to any other conclusion.

frankj on February 14, 2007 at 4:40 PM

I’ve always suspected that Allah Pundit was working for the Chinese!

Savage on February 14, 2007 at 4:48 PM

Pink Lady and Jeff, ladies and gentlemen, for those of you who need context.

Thanks to the Internet, do trap doors even exist anymore?

ccwbass on February 14, 2007 at 4:49 PM

They should have the people of thepeoplescube.com write for the show…

NTWR on February 14, 2007 at 4:51 PM

Maybe this show should hire Michelle and Bryan as writers considering some of great Vents they’ve given us – especially recently with those that parodied Amanda Marcotte.

thirteen28 on February 14, 2007 at 4:51 PM

Hell, Fox already had a lame comedy. It’s on every morning at 7:00.

RedWinged Blackbird on February 14, 2007 at 4:52 PM

Seems pretty bad. Maybe they’re really lowering expectations. One would think Surnow could bring in some writing talent; then again, maybe he should stick to drama.

JammieWearingFool on February 14, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Bringing Dennis Miller in to do a show would have been a smart move. Something halfway between what he did on MSNBC and HBO would be perfect.

5foot2 on February 14, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Lakeruins, you don;t really mean Ned Menstealer do you?

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1943040863

bbz123 on February 14, 2007 at 4:53 PM

NWTR and thirteen28 are on to something. Mix AP in there too (not a shameless suckup–I mean it).

JammieWearingFool on February 14, 2007 at 4:54 PM

Way back when, Time magazine described The Mary Tyler Moore Show as “a bomb” before the public saw it if that’s anything to go by (they did a cover story years later). But who cares; if you’re always begging to be entertained and validated, there are plenty of people who will take advantage of you.

mymanpotsandpans on February 14, 2007 at 4:58 PM

Why is a news channel even producing and airing satire??? Who are they trying to appease? Their already “conservative” viewers??

Lord, I wish Barney Miller was back on Nick at Nite. At least I get Sanford and Son.

robblefarian on February 14, 2007 at 5:03 PM

I got an idea! Why don’t we wait and watch it for ourselves!

Bill C on February 14, 2007 at 5:07 PM

Stop it with your logic of lies, Google user!

Savage on February 14, 2007 at 5:18 PM

The clip I saw at Liberty Film Festival (featuring Limbaugh and Coulter) was very funny and far better than the one posted here yesterday.

I think everyone should just relax and wait to pass any judgements until the finished product has aired.

FYI…the canned laughter could’ve been a result of not having a studio audience available at the time of that particular taping. Especially if this was just a network screening copy.

Even the most popular live-taped shows have a tough time getting studio audiences. I’ve been to Tonight Show tapings where they’ve had barely enough people to fill the front rows. And when that happens, the producers no doubt turn to canned audience sounds to fill in the gaps.

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 5:21 PM

Now this IS funny:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9731d_4407&c=1

Vincenzo on February 14, 2007 at 5:24 PM

I have to concur. That was weak. Lame. Far weaker than it ought to be.

I saw a segment of the show this morning and they need to can the canned laughter, and if they really insist on trying to do a “Daily News” type show get Penn and Teller or Dennis Miller or Carlos Mencia to do the humor.

LakeRuins on February 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM

Yes! Yes! Yes! There are so many good, funny, talented conservatives out there – or right-leaning libertarians.

And frankly, they ought to have a huge advantage – because as targets, conservatives aren’t all that funny; liberals provide a vast pool of potential material. Vast. Mad Marcotte has single-handedly provided enough this week for a whole season of shows.

Come on, people. Get some talent. Especially talented writers! The on-air people weren’t that bad in that clip – but that writing was …. ugh! Just plain not funny.

Hey, LakeRuins: for the record, Carlos Mencia already has a pretty hilarious and pretty damn conservative show. He’s just so good at it, the liberals don’t even really notice what he’s saying.

Professor Blather on February 14, 2007 at 5:30 PM

BTW….I’ve obviously been working in the confines of reality TV for too long because I personally could not tell that was canned laughter.

Sounds to me like the same guffaws you’d hear on The Daily Show.

But I work shows about food, weddings and military weaponry…so what do I know?

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 5:31 PM

Vincenzo on February 14, 2007 at 5:24 PM

Lol. Thanks.

Bill C on February 14, 2007 at 5:31 PM

Carlos Mencia is a tool.

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 5:32 PM

Where’s Dennis Miller when you need him?

DR Good on February 14, 2007 at 5:40 PM

Mencia is as conservative as Mel Gibson is Jewish.

Bottom line is the 1/2 Hour News Hour is a gamble but a low risk one for NewsCorp. Personally I believe 1/2 Hour News Hour should’ve been on FX but the costs were probably too high and the audience lead in from Nip/Tuck or Dirt wasn’t going to stay for what they would term “KKKarl Rove’s Re-thug-lican antihumor show!!1!!”

NewsCorp went for FNC because the costs were about the same as FX and they have to fill the 48 hours during the weekend with something. The VP of Programming probably said: “Why not the 1/2 Hour News Hour after the fifth daily rerun of The Big Story Weekend on Sunday nights?”

I would much rather have seen NewsCorp leverage their massive MySpace audience and make this a web video exclusive to begin with. When they consistently get millions of views of the online show, they could’ve brought it to either FX late nights or as a weekly lead in for MadTV on Fox.

Of course, I don’t have a marketing degree from NYU or business degree from Stanford, so that makes me an idiot…

ScottMcC on February 14, 2007 at 5:46 PM

Some of the funniest political commentary is Ann Coulter, which is one reason her books are such bestsellers. They are funny, right-on-target, truthful exposes of the Left.

But some people think she is too mean and not funny at all. People like this we should not use as a barometer for political comedy. Watered down, noncontroversial, light comedy that is too nice is going to bomb.

True test: Do liberals get hysterical and want to ban it? That kind of show I want to watch.

januarius on February 14, 2007 at 5:50 PM

More frightening than Ace’s false flag theory is this: The writers are conservatives and are writing jokes that conservative Fox viewers will like.

And they might be right. Aren’t most Fox News viewers in their 50′s? Most 50-year-old conservative people are traditional, probably religious, and would likely blanche at anything other than totally safe, obvious jokes.

This is grandma/grandpa humor. And I’m betting that Fox News viewer demographics skew heavily towards grandmas and grandpas.

Enrique on February 14, 2007 at 5:56 PM

Carlos Mencia is a tool.

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 5:32 PM

so what do I know?

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 5:31 PM

That second quote pretty much summarizes the worth of the first. Hey – wait a minute – are you a writer for that new FoxNews show? (snort)

As for the rest of you – you obviously haven’t caught Mencia’s show. Conservative/right-wing libertarian ideas are in just about every joke – and it’s pretty funny when a Hispanic conservative makes a good illegal immigrant joke.

Here’s a sample from an interview with Tucker Carlson. You decide if he sounds like a liberal (well, ignore the part he admits being a conservative):

Carlson: So you’re clearly a conservative.

Mencia: You know what? I think I am. But I can’t say that I’m a
conservative because of course I grew up Hispanic and you know, there’s
Jesus Christ and Kennedy in my mom’s house. And – you know what I mean?
I could never actually say it.

(…)

Mencia: We live in this society where everybody, do it for me,
can do you something for me? You know, we live in a society that says
blacks and Hispanics want to be treated like equals and then white
people say you know what? You’re right, you should be. We say oh, but
can I get into the University of Texas with a lower G.P.A.? That’s not
equal. That’s not what you asked for.

So when was Mel Gibson’s bar mitzvah?

Professor Blather on February 14, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Some of the funniest political commentary is Ann Coulter, which is one reason her books are such bestsellers.

It would be a mistake to equate prose written by a clever author to sketch comedy performed by actors. I’m not saying there aren’t some people who can pull off both, but would you pay to watch P.J. O’Rourke or Dave Barry act out their books?

(HINT: Dick Hill narrates O’Rourke’s audiobooks and Dave Barry hired Harry Anderson from Night Court to be him for his autobiographical Dave’s World TV series)

True test: Do liberals get hysterical and want to ban it? That kind of show I want to watch.

That is the most perfect spot-on analysis yet. You are 100% correct sir!

Are you listening NewsCorp? That’s what you want to make!

ScottMcC on February 14, 2007 at 6:05 PM

Scott: We need more “idiots” like you ; )

I’m always amazed at the level of programming that’s greenlit in this town. I honestly don’t know how a good tv scriptwriter can survive in this business.

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 6:06 PM

Mencia: You know what? I think I am. But I can’t say that I’m a conservative because of course I grew up Hispanic and you know, there’s Jesus Christ and Kennedy in my mom’s house. And – you know what I mean?
I could never actually say it.

You know what? I think I’m a fish.

But I can’t say that I’m a fish because of course I grew up on land and you know, my mom’s an air-breather. And – you know what I mean?

I could never actually say I was a fish.

Look, Mencia is often very funny but he’s neither a Republican nor a political conservative.

ScottMcC on February 14, 2007 at 6:14 PM

*snicker*

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 6:21 PM

In this day shows dont get much of a chance to grow and learn from mistkes. I remember when the daily show had craig kilborn as its host and it suck arse. This new show is a good idea but obviously needs tweaking and overtime will be as good as the dailyshow just give it an opportunity.

None of us rode in a bicycle race the first time either LOL

Kevin43 on February 14, 2007 at 6:31 PM

I don’t even understand the concept. I can see a conservative answer to the liberal mock-news shows, but on an actual news network?

That said, it’s not like there aren’t funny conservative satirists out there. Scott Ott and Iowahawk are absolute gut-busters. Apparently they aren’t tapping the right talent pool.

Blacklake on February 14, 2007 at 6:34 PM

Mencia is completely horrible, I have no idea what his political leanings are but he is not funny and his show is borderline unwatchable. Every joke is the same, some variation on the difference between white people, black people, and Mexicans. I used to have a Mexican roommate in college and every time his show came on he would apologize to me on behalf of the Mexican people for Mencia. He was a funny Mexican.

JaHerer22 on February 14, 2007 at 6:37 PM

Who are these nobodies on the show? Where’s Colin Quinn? And how about some Dennis Miller on the writing staff? Get Levy in there. Do something! All I know is that clip was pathetic… yet for some reason Rich Lowry (filling in for Hannity last night) was laughing his ass off after they aired it, and it seemed genuine.

RightWinged on February 14, 2007 at 7:49 PM

let me write for them

MWAHAHAHHAHAHAH!!!

One Angry Christian on February 14, 2007 at 8:12 PM

John Stewart can be funny when (rarely) makes a conservative joke. Funny is funny, these idiots aren’t.

aengus on February 14, 2007 at 8:15 PM

I used to have a Mexican roommate in college and every time his show came on he would apologize to me on behalf of the Mexican people for Mencia. He was a funny Mexican.

Sounds like it. Could you please ask your friend to write for the 1/2 Hour News Hour?

ScottMcC on February 14, 2007 at 8:26 PM

Using a bludgeon is not satire. Using a rapier is. I’ve seen very few so-called satires nowadays that are anything other than ham-handed face-stomping.

As an example of elegant satire, I suggest looking at the works of Will Shakespeare.

Natrium on February 14, 2007 at 8:31 PM

are gay penguins that funny to the writers?

lorien1973 on February 14, 2007 at 8:43 PM

Are gay penguins, lesbian nuns?

Hening on February 14, 2007 at 8:55 PM

Thankfully I sit on the right side of my couch to watch TV.

SouthernGent on February 14, 2007 at 9:08 PM

I find it interesting how some have gotten their panties in such a wad over a show that hasn’t even premiered, while Fox continues giving nightly air time to that horribly-annoying ambulance-chasing Greta Van Susteren.

Fox News has spent the last 72 hours of programming discussing nearly anything and everything related to Anna Nicole Smith yet this is the program we conservatives are supposed to be “embarrassed” about?

Hoo-kay…

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 9:42 PM

However……if……IF this program turns out to be a horrible stink-fest, then I’ll certainly be the first to admit it.

The Ugly American on February 14, 2007 at 9:45 PM

OMG…. 0.0
The Pink Lady And Jeff? Jeez Allah you are showing yer age there feller…. hee hee gads memories… The dark dark memories.

-Wasteland Man

WastelandMan on February 14, 2007 at 10:07 PM

Red Eye, 2 a.m. EST on FNC!

Jim Treacher on February 14, 2007 at 11:18 PM

I liked it.

forged rite on February 14, 2007 at 11:32 PM

Like it or not, the Daily Show is funny. Even though the show is manned and written by liberals (as is Colbert’s show), the essentials of comedy are performed by comedians.

The Half Hour News Hour, while a funny title, doesn’t feel like a success. But we’ll see.

Nethicus on February 14, 2007 at 11:37 PM

The problem with finding writers for conservative comedy is that once you eliminate all the folks who aren’t PC enough to air, you’ve pretty eliminated anyone who understands conservative humor.

JM Hanes on February 15, 2007 at 12:25 AM

The Rush/ Coulter bit was pretty well done. But everything else looks like a disaster. They should abandon ship.

JeffB. on February 15, 2007 at 4:16 AM

I consider conservatives as thinkers. we tend to give something a chance. as far as i know none of you have seen the entire show yet. good way to beat the hell out of a show before it even airs. at least they are trying. by the way i don’t think they are trying to win the MEGA WAR going on for the 10pm hour on sunday nights. why don’t alot of you practice what you preach and shut up watch the show and then give it a thoughtful review.

kara26 on February 15, 2007 at 8:52 AM

Conservative humor.

Jumbo shrimp, military intelligence….

There are some funny conservatives, but not a lot: Dennis Miller, P J O’Rourke, George Will, Pat Buchanan.

There a lot more if you count the ones who are unintentionally funny, so there’s that….

honora on February 15, 2007 at 10:16 AM

Is this the conservative answer to Air America??????

THEPEOPLESCUBE on February 15, 2007 at 2:45 PM

The more I think about it, I realize that FNC is a good place for this show to begin:

The 1/2 Hour News Hour is “safe” (though not “safe” to the media industry since it will attack the political left and therefore piss off the snobbish urbanites from Seattle to Boston that do much of the writing about TV for trade publications and blogs) because no bad words will be used and the jokes will be corny, so it would never have worked on FX and wouldn’t last on the much more expensive Big Fox stations.

It appeals to a huge demographic: The literally millions of hard working and educated Americans living, working, and (GASP!) praying in those “flyover states”; people that are starved for any kind of entertainment that doesn’t snark at every action in their daily lives and deride them as an insignificant rabble of toothless, moronic hick zombies.

Look, Hee Haw had a 24 year run on TV. As much as elitist snobs will hate The 1/2 Hour News Hour for being safe and corny, there is a huge market for it–especially at a time when every other entertainment choice you see is a personal attack on your traditional lifestyle.

Having said that, I really do want The People’s Cube guys to video some skits and send it to FNC.

ScottMcC on February 15, 2007 at 9:26 PM

And the thread winner goes to:

Fox News has spent the last 72 hours of programming discussing nearly anything and everything related to Anna Nicole Smith yet this is the program we conservatives are supposed to be “embarrassed” about?

Insightful and smart.

ScottMcC on February 16, 2007 at 10:54 AM

The best part of the show was the promo, and then only Rush. Ann Coulter is great when she is doing sarcastic commentary or writing, but she is not an actress. “Wooden” is a kind adjective for her performance.

Still, I hope they get it together and do something decent. Like, funny would be good.

rogersnowden on February 19, 2007 at 5:27 PM