If anyone still wonders why there isn’t very much conservative comedy, Fox News has helpfully provided an object lesson in why right-wingers just aren’t funny. Comedy requires a certain finesse and an understanding of your audience. It is a maxim of professional humorists that you cannot make fun of the under-privileged without exposing yourself as callous and cruel. In other words, you don’t punch down.
Conservatives, however, still haven’t figured out that simple rule. And since their whole political ideology is one of fealty to the filthy rich and powerful, down is the only direction that they can punch. This wasteland of wit was perfectly illustrated in Monday’s premiere of “GUTFELD!” on Fox News (video below). Let’s set aside the unseemly blunder of programming a “comedy” on a so-called “news” network. It didn’t work for CNN’s “D.L. Hughley Show” or Fox’s doomed “Half-Hour Comedy Hour,” And from its debut, it doesn’t bode well for Greg Gutfeld either.
Gutfeld starts off with what appears to be a deliberate intention to offend. His first joke was about immigrant children in cages. He then segues to the always hilarious subject of child abuse. From that inauspicious beginning Gutfeld further embarrasses himself by making disparaging remarks about the cognitive state of seniors and the funny side of drug addiction. That’s comedy gold by conservative standards.
Continuing on a theme, Gutfeld runs a tedious video about MSNBC’s Brian Williams anchoring his program from Mars. Then he mocks Black CNN host, Don Lemon, for reporting on racism. Then he rattles off a series of lame attacks on those he considers his competition: Stephen Colbert (who Gutfeld complains doesn’t “ruffle feathers”), Jimmy Kimmel (who Gutfeld mocks for crying, a reference to episodes where Kimmel spoke eloquently and heart wrenchingly about his infant son who almost died), as well as Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, and Trevor Noah. That’s a move that exposes his insecurity and fear of comedians with real talent.
Gutfeld asserts that all of the late night comedians have “got the market cornered for calling Americans stupid”. The truth is, however, that they all respect the intelligence of their audience by presenting comedy that assumes they are well informed, otherwise they wouldn’t get the jokes. Gutfeld, on the other hand, is lashing out with ad hominin attacks against his foes on a network famous for lying to its viewers and that assumes they are dimwitted enough to believe their propaganda.
Well, Gutfeld they might be right about that. Fox News viewers actually believe their nonsense about cancel culture, radical Democratic socialism, and flagrant falsehoods about the severity of the COVID pandemic that are downright dangerous. They also believe everything that their cult leader, Donald Trump, says, including his recent reality-defying claim that the Capitol riots on January 6th were all “hugging and kissing” and “posed zero threat.” Except for the 140+ cops who were assaulted and injured, three of whom died. Fox’s relentless lies on that subject have resulted in half of Republicans believing those riots were “mostly peaceful.”
Gutfeld claims that he likes “bashing creeps in power,” but apparently that only applies to personal insults aimed at powerful people like … Hunter Biden? He proves that point by calling them “stupid talking piñatas.” And he asserts that “The only way they make money is by making people hate each other.” But isn’t the Fox News business model? All they do all day is divisive and insulting. And yet, Gutfeld has the nerve to talk about “respectful disagreement” during this disrespectful tirade. And in addition to these childish antics, Gutfeld went on a Mitch McConnell inspired, extended harangue triggered by the business backlash to Georgia’s voter suppression legislation. He ranted…
“Screw all corporations. You stupid execs are cowards and bad golfers. You cheat on your taxes and you cheat on each other. I hope Dems raise taxes to 99%. Except for Fox which should be tax exempt. Maybe I’m turning socialist, but after years of proclaiming corporations as engines of free markets, I realize they’re locomotives run by meth heads who’ll do anything to save their own hides. It’s profit over people no matter how many inclusion coordinators they hire.”
If it weren’t for his infantile insults, Gutfeld might have scored some points regarding the self-serving greed of corporations and their bosses. The problem is that he only realized this after those corporations responded appropriately to the concerns of consumers who objected to their voting rights being trampled in Georgia. So once again, Gutfeld was punching down on the people who had expressed themselves and successfully persuaded some powerful companies to act responsibly.
Gutfeld and his ilk repeatedly prove that all they care about are the privileged classes that generally includes themselves. They insist on demonstrating their innate hatred of average Americans. And in the process of expressing those repugnant views they think they’re being funny. The problem is that knee-jerk right-wingers like Gutfeld are too desperate to have a foothold in humor. And since they can’t grasp why their biases aren’t funny, they keep putting their foot up their own ass.
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— Gutfeld! (@Gutfeldfox) April 6, 2021
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.