On Monday night, Fox News got into the late night game. Gutfeld! is an attempt to ruffle some feathers and offer an alternative view on late night television from a conservative perspective. But despite the efforts of those involved, it already seems to be falling flat right out of the gate.
Look, we’re all for a show that has a different point of view than the others on the market. The beauty of comedy is that it’s entirely subjective. There’s something for everyone. And on top of that, we definitely understand that a show needs time to develop. It took over a year for Seth Meyers to realize that a traditional monologue wasn’t for him. But from what we’ve seen, the show appears to be grabbing at the lowest hanging fruit from the lowest hanging branches. And the fruit that the show does manage to grabbed is devoid any flavor.
On the inaugural episode, the “monologue” – which is essentially a long-winded rant that has the silenced audience confused as to whether they should laugh or say “Ah” at the observations brought up, which isn’t a good start for a comedy show – featured two segments. One was a parody of CNN, which basically was just a play on calling everyone a racist. The other was a bit about Brian Williams on Mars. Both jokes are definitely overstated (and in the case of Williams, severely outdated). By night number two, both of those same jokes were repeated, which gives the impression that they don’t have much else right off the bat.
On top of all that, the show seems to be built solely upon sour grapes. While the other late night shows at least try to put comedy at the forefront (even though some may lose their way from time to time), Gutfeld! feels like comedy is secondary to dunking on the left. None of those involved have any interest in doing anything other than the same critiquing you’d hear on any other Fox News program. Even the panel segments all come back to calling out what the opponent is doing poorly in their eyes. Comedy all of a sudden becomes a pawn in this political chess game.
The biggest irony is that this is the show that implores itself to go against canceled culture. However, all of the responses to topics seem just as intent on “cancelling” all left ideologies. Thus, only two episodes in, the show is always labeling itself as a massive contradiction. They’ve painted themselves into a corner that is going to be difficult to get out of.
Again, it’s not at all impossible to have a truly funny late night show with a conservative host. There are plenty of comedians that we think would excel at this, that would be able to draw in a demographic that isn’t currently found in late night comedy. Unfortunately, the pre-requisite to being a late night comedy host, above all else, is being funny.
What the show does have going for it is good ratings right away, but here it managed to beat out its cable news competition. Going forward, it’ll be interested to see if this show is able to find their footing, or if they’ll join the ranks of talk show failures that Fox has under their belt. If it’s the latter, at least Gutfeld! will be amongst good company with the likes of Joan Rivers and Chevy Chase.