Sunday, March 04, 2007

Never Judge a Show by it’s Pilot: The ½ Hour News Hour.

I feel that even before I start writing about The ½ Hour News Hour I must come clean. When I write my "Never Judge a Show by it’s Pilot" segments I tend to chose programs that appeal to me based on a Log line, Promo or Buzz. I'd rather talk about programs I like and not promote the programs I don't. I am making an exception in the case of The ½ Hour News Hour. I felt it important to make this disclaimer. When I heard on Air America Radio that the FOX News Channel was entering the world of comedy... deliberately, I felt that I needed to see this train wreck. First of all I have to question the show’s originality when the title was stolen from The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour. Prior to watching the pilot I saw a clip of the show on YouTube.

I have two questions.
  1. Was that supposed to be funny?
  2. Are they using a Laugh Track? I swear I heard the same canned laughter over and over again and this show appears to be taped before a live audience.

Good comedy has to have a point of view. Satire only works when the comedian goes after every institution be it political, religious or corporate. The so-called Fair & Balanced News Channel is attempting to create a conservative counterpart to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. What they fail to grasp is that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert poke fun at everyone including the news media, themselves and their corporate owners. Although sometimes it’s easy to figure out what a comedian’s personal politics are, a professional will poke fun of everyone. All I could grasp from this YouTube clip is that The ½ Hour News Hour is throwing pies at the faces of liberals and missing the target. Satire is considered high brow comedy and what I have seen so far is about as sophisticated as throwing a pie at someone’s face. Fortunately for The ½ Hour News Hour I never judge a show by it’s pilot let alone a clip on YouTube.
I saw the Pilot and I have a few notes:

  • Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter don’t need a script to be funny they just have to be themselves.
  • The Ed Begley Jr. bit was predictable and not funny. The callbacks on the Ed Begley Jr. bit were painful.
  • BE FUNNY!!!

So far all I have seen are people trying to be funny but are in essence comparable to a child on a playground saying, "I know you are, but what am I?"

I watched the second episode and it was actually worse. There was a bit spoofing Dateline \ To Catch a Predator and another one making fun of racial profiling and both were painful to watch. I think the Fox News Channel should quit while they're behind and stick to what they do... just stick to what they do. After all the idea of the Fox News Channel doing a fake news show with a conservative slant is already redundant.

To quote Theodore White, "A joke is like a frog. If you want, you can dissect it to see how the parts fit together and understand what makes it all work. But the frog tends to die in the process".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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