When Bill O'Reilly invited me to appear as a guest on his show to weigh in about their premise that the late night comedians were going easy on Obama my first reaction was to decline and I told the producer that I was not a fan. He replied saying: "We get that all the time". I decided to follow the advice of ancient Chinese General Sun-Tzu to "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" and possibly catapult my career as a high paid monologue writer out of obscurity. They didn't contact me through my agent, they found me on Facebook.
I now had five days to figure out how not to avoid making a complete fool of myself on national television defending the Late Night Monologue Masters for the way they choose to go light on lampooning our current president. I opened up a blank page in Word on my Macbook Pro, which is having trouble with the "Y" key after I spilled a bottle of Kambucha on the keyboard, and began to formulate my ideas.
At this point I have never met O'Reilly but since I see FOX as a main conspirator in creating the propaganda that lead to the Iraq War I wanted to be sure that the viewers knew right away that I was not brainwashed into their ideology like the brilliant Dennis Miller, who without Fox would have trouble finding a mainstream forum for his obscure referenced rightwing diatribes and would be lucky to even host Monday Night FOOS ball.
I kept in mind that I was going to be a guest on Bill's show and I promised myself I would try to be civil as well as appreciative that he was generous enough to share his popular pulpit with me after he read the recent article in the LA Times about the same topic in which I was quoted as saying: "You have to remember that most comedy writers on these shows are more liberal than conservative, it was much easier to write comedy when the enemy was the target."
What Bill did not know was that the reason I believed there were more liberal writers on the show was because conservatives are interested in inflicting the wounds and creating a custom made target for their jokes whereas most liberal late night writers just hop on the wave of political public opinion and milk the mania. Late night shows are primarily about entertainment and are more apt to hire scribes that are interested in getting laughs than attracting lackeys. Conservative writers are also big on religious references and after the Bush Regime I now think there should be a Separation of Church and stage.
The limo driver arrived at my home in Santa Barbara hours before the show was due to tape because they anticipated gridlock due to the current fires which have directly affected so many of my friends that I felt a sense of guilt that this day was going to be fun and exciting for me. Between the smoke, the helicopters, and my O'Reilly anticipation I got very little sleep the night before. There was no traffic and we arrived at the studio with hours to spare.
True to the image I had of Fox, the studio was still in construction looking like a set on 24 where they would drag someone for interrogation. When I peeked into the room where I would tape the show it became suddenly apparent that I would be sitting in a standard director's chair speaking my lines right into a camera with no image of Bill O'Reilly to react to. Although Bill is expecting a liberal I actually label myself as an "eccentric", one of those crazy people that believe in humanity and I relate much better when there is eye contact. That concern was instantly dispelled when I saw that the chroma-key green screen made the hair on the top of my head seem to vanish on the monitor and there is no way I was going to agree to go on this show pre-scalped. It would have been easy to start creating conspiracy theories about how this was Fox's way of making me off-kilter so Bill could appear fair and balanced but there was no way I was going to take the bait and started to finally worry instead about holding my own against a seasoned curmudgeon.
With minutes to go a producer from the O'Reilly show in New York chimed into my plastic earpiece asking me to straighten my tie. When I explained that I was not wearing one and it was my artsy Robert Graham collar he confirmed and a sexy sounding woman came on telling me that Bill would be on in a second to welcome me. True to their word; "Hi Buddy Winston, this is Bill O'Reilly. How are you?" I told him I was fine and ready to have fun. He laughed, agreed, and the show began.
I was suddenly shot out of a canon. When the segment was over I felt like I survived a tsunami. I never got to the part about everyone giving too much credence to talk show hosts citing that Arlen Specter didn't leave the Republican Party because he couldn't stand the Late Night Monologue Militia. And that Bill was acting like the Republicans are trying to stop Al Franken from taking his seat in the senate not because it will give the Democrats a potentially filibuster proof majority but because he's a comedian.
I didn't get to point out the irony that Obama is black but the Republicans are acting like they're the oppressed minority. There is a growing philosophy in conservative circles that late night comedians are afraid to make fun of Obama because he's black. I wanted to point out that black humor is fine when it's not stereotypical giving as an example: The other night Bill, Ann Coulter appeared on your show and in reference to Colin Powell claimed that the hardest thing in the world was being a black Republican. Like there's some guy in a small hut in Darfur thinking thank God I didn't have that fate.
I also wanted to point out to those that think that Obama may be getting special treatment because he is a President during a national crisis: George Bush was given another term for that reason and then turned his administration into a national crisis.
And to the myriad of conservatives who sent me hate mail after the show claiming that I and Obama are imbeciles and included a list of every stupid thing our President has ever done I assure you that his day in monologue sun will come and all the whining in the world won't make the public ridicule him any sooner. It will probably have the adverse effect. Maybe you'll get lucky and this technology president will look for a female Supreme Court replacement on Match.com.
Thank you Bill O'reilly for actually treating me like a guest and not to be ungrateful but did you ever consider that the O in O'Reilly may stand for Olbermann?