May 24, 2007

2AM? (profanity alert):

Red Eye for the Straight Guy (George Gurley, May 22, 2007, NY Observer)

If Red Eye isn’t quite Fox’s answer to The Daily Show—that distinction belongs to Fox’s truly awful The ½ Hour News Hour—the show’s giddy roster of New York–area media stars and camera-craving bloggers, who are probably unknown and unattractive to the vast majority of Fox viewers, is evidence that Fox wishes to make itself a respectable place to do business for the next-generation New York media elite.

While the show runs largely on jokes, riffs and loopy news bits, it’s prevented from relaxing too much into apolitical anarchy by the hand of Fox News president Roger Ailes, who dropped sultry conservative Toronto Sun columnist Rachel Marsden smack in the middle of the merry band of pranksters to make it clear that politics with a rightward bent is still the Fox brand, particularly if it arrives on long legs.

So far, about 300,000 viewers are tuning in to the show, which is taped at 8:40 p.m. and airs at 2 a.m. The format is unscripted. In the studio with Mr. Gutfeld are his sidekick, Bill Schulz (a Muppet-like fellow that Mr. Gutfeld described as “the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life”); the coltish (and Coulter-ish) Ms. Marsden; and guests, who recently have included gadfly Christopher Hitchens, comic Jackie Mason, blogger Rachel Sklar, Fox News correspondent Laurie Dhue and redneck comedian Larry the Cable Guy. The topics whiz past—most segments barely last a minute. Mr. Gutfeld has a stack of blue cards with things written on them such as “woman’s severed finger found in purse,” and he’ll toss the conversational ball around.

“I feel like I’m a lion tamer holding chain saws,” Mr. Gutfeld said. “Because I want to say something funny, but I’m too busy going, O.K., what do I do next?” The surreal feeling of the show blends into the type of commercials running at that insomniac hour—Vermont Teddy Bears, adjustable beds, giant tomatoes. [...]

While Mr. Gutfeld tries to keep the show from idling too long on partisan territory (“They get that 23 hours a day”), his own politics are fairly at home on Fox. He dismisses liberalism as “romantic notions that are false, based on the idea of making yourself look good to other people. That’s why most men—Bill Clinton is a good example—are liberal, because they need to get laid. If you look at most left-wing guys, they’ve made a deal with the devil. They don’t really believe that s[***]—they’re going against their own innate nature, because liberalism is anti-man. If you believe that peace and love work, you’re not a man, because this world works on war. The only people who respect you are people who are scared of you—and that’s why Reagan was a great President. And the idea that you can negotiate with people who want you dead is a complete lie. That’s why the left is the most self-absorbed, vanity-driven enterprise. These are people who would rather feel good about themselves at a cocktail party that actually protect people’s lives. If you’re at a party and you say, ‘The war on terror is the most important thing in the world’—you won’t get a nod. But if you say, ‘Global warming is the biggest threat,’ you will get laid.”

Jon Stewart?

“His show is an arena built on self-congratulation,” said Mr. Gutfeld. “He meets his audiences’ assumptions, and that makes them feel good. And I think that’s weak. At times he’s funny, but that’s the easiest job in the world—to show up and have people kiss your a[**].”

Mr. Gutfeld’s journey from lad-magazine editor to Fox personality happened the way Fox does a lot of things—quickly and without much fuss. Last summer, after his contract at Maxim UK wasn’t renewed, he was living in London, writing for The American Spectator and drinking.

He flew to Los Angeles to visit his friend Andrew Breitbart, a regular contributor at the Drudge Report. Over dinner, a guy from Fox News told Mr. Gutfeld about a new show. “I was drunk enough to say, ‘I’ll be the host!’” said Mr. Gutfeld. “I never probably would have said that otherwise. It was still a vague idea. They didn’t know what they wanted, but they knew that they wanted something.”

He flew to New York and met with Fox News producer John Moody and Fox News president Roger Ailes. “[Ailes] liked me and asked me how much I was making,” Mr. Gutfeld said. “I said, ‘It’s not important—working at Fox is a perfect fit for me, because I’m an outsider and Fox is an outsider.’ In some bizarre way, I charmed them into letting me do this.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2007 10:41 AM

I don't know if Gut still posts at the Huffpo, but his posts there were the only reason to wade into that cessfool. The comments he provoked were hilarious.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 24, 2007 1:40 PM

Conservatives don't get laid?

Geez.. that must explain the homophobia and facination with guns...Hey you NAZIS stay away from me.

Posted by: h-man at May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

Facinating indeed!

Posted by: Jim Treacher at May 24, 2007 7:32 PM

I happened upon this show a few weeks ago and it was mostly a couple guys joking around and this one woman who kept trying to make jokes and was completely failing. I guess that was Marsden?

Posted by: RC at May 25, 2007 3:50 AM