Open thread: "The Half-Hour News Hour"; Update: Video added

We’re 30 minutes away here on the east coast. Video highlights and/or lowlights will be available in this spot after the show. If you’re watching, feel free to weigh in below in real time. In fact, I encourage it — it’s not easy paring down 22 minutes of footage to the best (or worst) three, so feedback will be help.

Here’s the Times’s review, which bemoans the fact that the show isn’t as even-handed as, um, “The Daily Show.” Quote: “It’s a strange new comic order when the actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and his hybrid cars loom larger than the Iraq war, the deficit or White House leaks.” And here’s this morning’s post on THHNH.

Update: A comic abortion. An historic debacle. A Lovecraftian newsbeast that crawled from the sea to feast upon the brains of Fox viewers and usher in a thousand-year age of humorless darkness.

No, I’m kidding. It wasn’t, er, unspeakably awful, although obviously it needs work. Here are five semi-random minutes, some good, some bad. The lowlight was the t-shirt bit with a doughy Dom Irrera, which broke the cardinal rule of never using a joke where you have to explain the punchline. Clearly the writers were afraid the audience wouldn’t recognize the guys on the shirts; hence the clumsy exposition by the anchors. Ironically, the bits that played best were the faux ACLU ads, which also relied heavily on exposition but got away with it by using a device that calls for that sort of thing.

The news segment one-liners here were the best of the bunch except for the first one about Hillary, which reeked but drew the biggest laughs of the night. Tells you where the audience is coming from. Meanwhile, expect some pretty vicious rants and important action alerts from the nutroots tomorrow about the prison rape joke at Ed Begley’s expense. Begley’s environmentalism was a running gag throughout the show, including a line about his car being fueled by his own waste. Who could have seen that one coming? Except everyone, I mean.

Exit question: What are the odds that (a) Stewart or Colbert will goof on it tomorrow night to the tune of “you guys stick to getting us into unwinnable Middle East quagmires, we’ll handle the comedy,” and (b) the nutroots will declare said goof more brilliantly funny than the Faux News show will evuh evuh be?

Update: The big question: is it better for conservative comedy if a weak show fails quickly, or if it struggles on for awhile and proves there’s an audience? See-Dub says the latter:

If the .5HNH does marginally well, somewhere some funny conservative guy is going to sit down over Bellinis with a rival network executive and point that fact out, and then say he knows how that demographic and then some–maybe a little younger and hipper–could be owned by this rival network. And then he’ll take out a proposal for a rival show, and explain that it’s like the .5HNH…except actually funny.

So if .5HNH takes off, it will show there’s an audience for this kind of humor. Hell, if .5HNH takes off, I think it proves there’s an audience desperate for this kind of humor. So let’s stop wishing for it to fail, because in the TV conservative comedy game, it’s the army we have. (It and Gutfeld’s Redeye, that is.) Until we can build a better one.

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Jazz Shaw 1:01 PM on May 27, 2023