To cleanse the palate at the end of a long, grim week. The name of the show didn’t ring a bell when I watched the clip but then I saw this blog post on the official site and remembered. Frank Rich did indeed mention it back in May in his piece on whether conservatives can be funny. Here’s what Rich wrote — as excerpted by “The Flipside” team:
This fall, another stand-up, Michael Loftus, is planning to take a fresh shot at a conservative-comedy news show—a syndicated half-hour titled The Flipside. The pilot has been posted online, and in it, as well as in his regular act, Loftus comes off as genial and smart […]
And here’s the full passage from Rich’s piece:
This fall, another stand-up, Michael Loftus, is planning to take a fresh shot at a conservative-comedy news show—a syndicated half-hour titled The Flipside. The pilot has been posted online, and in it, as well as in his regular act, Loftus comes off as genial and smart, if not in possession of a rapier wit. (Sample one-liner: “Jay Z complaining about income inequality is like Honey Boo Boo saying television just ain’t what it used to be.”) His interview guest on the pilot is Larry Elder, a black conservative most recently famous for having defended both Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy. There’s a joke there somewhere, but not one likely to turn up on The Flipside.
I’m not going to form a firm opinion based on one clip or one episode (here’s the pilot) but this does look to be another conservative comedy show where the hook is the conservatism, not the comedy. Most of the targets are familiar too, a problem that also plagued “The Half-Hour News Hour.” One of the things that makes “Red Eye” a rare mainstream success in conservative humor is that the targets are always fresh — necessarily so, as the show runs nightly and is designed as a free-fire zone for riffing on the day’s news. I keep waiting for Fox News to give Gutfeld and Andy Levy a shot at a real late-night show (not a late late late-night show, as “Red Eye” is), but I suppose the demographics won’t support it. Fox’s audience is grandmas and grandpas; “Red Eye” is pitched at viewers at least 25 years younger. Imagine segueing from Hannity talking about America’s declining values to Gutfeld et al. debating the merits of weed.
But hope springs eternal. Right, Howard Stern?
Update: “Flipside” executive producer Matt Sheffield sends along this e-mail in response:
That clip is ancient history. To judge a comedy show by material that was written nearly a year ago is naive. Comedy has a short shelf-life. People who work in the business know not to judge a book by its cover. That is even more true of a current event show’s trailer.