We've read the rumors about "The 1/2 Hour News Hour," Fox's so-called response to the liberal-leaning "Daily Show," and the network has even leaked the above clip (which, despite a few clever lines, is a far cry from the bulls-eye skewering of its Comedy Central precursor or the immaculate delivery of SNL's classic Weekend Updates). Now, four days before the premiere, TV Guide's Stephen Battaglio provides show creators Joel Surnow and Manny Coto (also known as the executive producers of Fox megahit "24") with a chance to wax eloquent about their new forum for the chasm that is right-wing comedy. Choice exerpts include the following:
TVGuide.com: Why do you think there needs to be a conservative version of The Daily Show?
Joel Surnow: One of the things you always look to in the TV-content business is what's not out there. One of the things that's definitely not out there is a satirical voice that skews to the right as opposed to the left. You can turn on any comedy satire show on TV and you're going to hear 10 Bush jokes, 10 Cheney jokes, but you'll never hear a Hillary Clinton joke or a global-warming send-up...
TVGuide.com: But what struck me when I watched the show was that the bits that were funny weren't necessarily political. There's a fake commercial for a magazine about Barack Obama that wasn't making fun of him -- but the hype surrounding him.
Surnow: It's not a mean-spirited show -- I think the one thing we target more than anything else is hysteria. The hysteria over global warming. The hysteria over Barack Obama. College kids' hysteria over Che Guevera T-shirts. This is funny. This is irrational behavior that has lodged itself in our culture, and no one stops to go, "Wait a minute this is kind of absurd."
Ready willing and able, the Comedy Central Insider blog has already fired back to refute Surnow's statements, which conveniently ignore years of plentiful left-mockery by the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman. As for the "hysteria" surrounding Barack Obama, we'll give it to Surnow that, at least on the basis of the clips we've seen, the show's jokes steer away from the personal attack end of the spectrum (though this one hits a little close to the "mean-spirited" mark - note to Surnow: having "fake President" Rush Limbaugh make awkward cracks about Cindy Sheehan killing sprees is about as close to light-hearted fun as smearing your eyelids with acid-treated superglue). Still, given his network's consummately "Fair and Balanced" coverage of topics like Obama and global warming, self-declared right-winger Surnow may want to take a closer look at whom exactly is ending up the butt of the joke.
Prior Huffpo Coverage:
Step Away From The Jokes, Fox News, Before You Hurt Yourself
Why Aren't Conservatives Funny?