They've forced me to do it again. Fox News Channel has "leaked" something on the internets that's so awful it's forcing me to actually promote it. As with avoiding mentions of Ann Coulter's books, I try not to give promotion -- even negative promotion -- to certain things which are both ridiculous and meaningless. That is, unless such items really, really deserve to be mocked at length.
And that brings us to FNC's new Daily Show knockoff titled The Half Hour Comedy Hour. Oh wait. That was a show on Comedy Central, like, 20 years ago. The new FNC show is actually called The 1/2 Hour News Hour and there's a reason why the "comedy" part was left out of the hackish and oh-so-clever title (half-hour + an hour show = knee slapping awesomeness). Obviously because, well, you know. There's no comedy.
How do I know there's no comedy? For starters, there's this YouTube video leak.
Made obvious by the clean compression, it's clearly a leak from the producers or FNC or both designed to generate a buzz, which I'm now feeding. But here's the thing. 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.
No offense, Republicans, but it's true. Let's do the list. You've got a regular northern-sounding white guy who pretends to be a southern cable guy and, not surprisingly, his fans believe he's really a redneck. But okay. Mr. The Cable Guy is considered to be a funny Republican -- with an asterisk (again, he's just a regular guy doing a redneck impression and he's not widely respected as a comic). Who else? Larry Miller. Miller's one of the funniest actor/comedians of our time, so, okay, score one for the Republicans. Wow. I actually surprised myself with that one. Larry Miller is funny. And lastly, another Miller: Dennis. But he's not funny any more. Why? Because, apart from Larry Miller, it's impossible to be both a Republican and funny. Dennis Miller is proof. You can actually bar graph his Gregor Samsa-like metamorphosis from funny pragmatist into unfunny Bush apologist (see what I did there -- the obscure reference?).
So finding a funny a pair of Republican co-hosts was probably a challenge, but finding an audience who would actually laugh along with those hosts must've been impossible, and hence the apparent laughter sound effects.
Then there's the unintentionally hilarious Republican racism in the show. The attempted joke in which the white male host compares Senator Obama to former Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry was weird and awful, especially considering the wide variety of, say, white politicians and public figures who have used cocaine. Like the president.
To be fair, there are several funny liberals who occasionally employ racist humor. Most of the time, though, the successful ones, like Howard Stern, use it for satirical purposes. But anyone who listens to Howard knows he's not a racist and his intention is to expose its hatred and hypocrisy.
However, when it comes from a network which has employed, promoted and shrugged-off racism with a wholly serious tone (here, here, and here for example) it doesn't sound like satire, it simply sounds racist. That said, it's an easy way to attain cred and laughter from Fox News viewers who are either racists themselves or who simply accept it with a chuckle. The joke wasn't meant to satirize and mock racism, the joke was designed to make a point that, apparently, black politicians use cocaine. You know, because they're all black and can't be trusted in positions of authority -- what with all their tar baby drug habits. That's racism. And it got the biggest (fake?) laugh of the segment.
Not surprisingly, the second biggest (fake?) laughter of the show came in reaction to the title of a spoof magazine called BO: Barack Obama Magazine. I just snarfed, because B.O. is too funny. Here's a perfect example of how Republicans don't understand satire. If Senator Obama was known to have body odor, then the joke would've been funnier. But to my knowledge, he doesn't. Then again, he is a black and they're usually all stinky and black-smelling, aren't they? Seriously, it's a terrible joke.
So why use it? Because body odor is funny. If you're six or, evidently, a Republican. Actually, if the title were genuinely funny, it wouldn't necessarily have to reference Obama. Take Colbert's movie title "The Splendiferous Zeppelin Escapades Of Filliam H. Muffman" for instance. William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman aren't known to have a penchant for zeppelins, though maybe they love a good escapade. Who knows. Yet it's hysterical to picture Macy and Huffman cavorting about in tandem aboard a zeppelin, or several zeppelins. It doesn't really matter because it was brilliantly constructed and delivered, especially given the fact that the bit was entirely about Hollywood couples and their compound names. Plus it received a huge reaction from the Colbert audience composed, by the way, of actual living humans. So it worked on a mildly satirical level.
Of course Colbert, as a performer, is probably the greatest satirical character of our generation and could probably get away with a body odor joke. Likewise, Neil Peart occasionally plays a normal 4/4 rhythm, but he can do so much more.
Fox News should never expect the "greatest" anything praise for the The 1/2 Hour News Hour. Not even from Republicans.
It's no stretch to suggest that successful artists are generally liberal. Creating effective art requires an open mind and, generally speaking, conservatives tend to have trouble with, you know... the whole open-mindedness thing. Additionally, liberals are by-in-large blessed with a degree of self deprecation -- an important trait for comedy -- while conservatives tend to be more self-assured, sometimes bordering on delusional in the case of say, Limbaugh or Hannity. 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.
Strike that. Cavuto is hilarious, but I doubt he's trying to be.
Follow Bob Cesca on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go