Fox News Is Mad That Late-Night Hosts Are Back
For a network that so-often claims to champion the values of the free market, Fox News sure doesn’t like it when their golden boy Greg Gutfeld faces competition.
When the WGA writers’ strike began in May of this year, the late-night shows of NBC, CBS and HBO all went dark. The self-named “Strike Force Five” of Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver stood in solidarity with their joke-writers, campaigning for a beneficial end to the conflict and raising money to support the out-of-work creatives through their tepid podcasting project. Meanwhile, one late-night host – by ratings and self-assessment, the very king of late-night – stayed on the air: Fox’s own Gutfeld, host of Gutfeld! Now, the strike is over and the lame-stream liberal media has its late-night shows back, much to the chagrin of the “Fair and Balanced” Fox entertainment empire.
Yesterday, FoxNews.com published an opinion piece by contributor Tim Graham titled, “Colbert, Kimmel, other unfunny comedians return to be the wind beneath wings of Democrats,” in which Graham bemoaned the Strike Force Five’s return to television and attacked the individual members for being “unfunny hyper-partisans” who incessantly and unfairly pester right-wing political figures while only engaging in toothless teasing of Democrats. Maybe Gutfeld’s next panel can be a debate between the pot and the kettle.
“Conservatives and Republicans should be at the top of the list of people who enjoyed the writers strike over the summer,” Graham began. “From May through September, the alleged comedians who are an important part of the Democrat messaging and morale machine were sidelined.” Graham listed the news items that he and his fellow right-wingers were spared late-night monologues over, including former president Donald Trump’s indictments and the first two Republican primary debates. Wrote Graham, “When the strike ended, the usual parade of unfunny Republican-trashing began.”
Graham wondered, “Don't they mock the guy who's president? Not much, because he's a Democrat, and he's still their hope against a second term for Trump.” He then made his central accusation against the Colberts and Kimmels whom he says are mouthpieces for the democratic establishment, positing, “Joe Biden only comes up with old-fogey jokes, because that's a safe topic. Even the Democrats think he's too old for the job.” To support this claim, Graham transcribed a room-temperature joke from one of Kimmel’s monologues, which reads, “Joe Biden spent his October Prime Day trying to figure out where the hell this woman Alexa who keeps yelling at him is hiding.”
Funny enough, this isn’t the first time someone at Fox has commented on how a leftist late-night host thinks Biden is unfit to run the country – earlier this year, the Fox Business YouTube channel freebooted a clip of Colbert impersonating Biden’s rambling, geriatric cadence, ending with a sarcastic, “Point is, I am mentally fit to run for President of the United States.” Certainly, this clip already known to avid Fox followers would better serve Graham’s point that these Democrat demagogues think Biden is too old to be president – instead, Graham quotes the admittedly mediocre Kimmel crack, because he can’t risk making his targets seem too critical of the age issue.
Meanwhile, on Graham’s side of the aisle, the Republican counterweight to the bloated, plodding left-wing late-night machine has its own issues with parody along party lines. Gutfeld has been parroting propag–er– “talking points” from Trump’s camp since Trump was first indicted on 34 felony counts related to the criminal fraud case brought against him by the Manhattan district attorney back in March. As charges against the former president from multiple different prosecutors in multiple different states continued to pile up, Gutfeld has maintained Trump’s own position that each and every charge was fabricated as part of a partisan witch hunt designed to take him out of the 2024 Presidential Race before it even begins.
The most pointed criticism that Gutfeld has put forth of the Republican party's unofficial despot since these legal proceedings began came when he playfully repeated Trump’s comments on the case against him verbatim interspersed with clips of the press conference in question. Gutfeld then concluded, “The sheer fact that he's having fun reflects the way the world is to him: a video game where he meets the challenges as though it's a game. It might be incorrect, but it works. I wish I had that frame of mind, and the next time I'm in court, I demand the same sketch artist Trump has. I mean, look at that. I'm sorry, that guy has to be on Donald's payroll. He makes Trump look like Tarzan went to Brooks Brothers — look at that jawline. ”
Graham’s criticisms of leftist late-night would be better suited for the modern late-night medium as a whole – as late-night struggles to compete with new media for relevance in an increasingly divided political landscape, shows turn into echo chambers that repackage whatever snarky talking points each side of the spectrum’s Twitter community already hit harder hours before airtime. However, that's not to say that both sides are equal in their mediocrity. The biggest difference between the right’s late-night champion in Gutfeld and the Kimmels or Colberts of the left is, ironically, the one concession Graham made to his targets' benefit – Colbert and Kimmel are allowed to acknowledge one of the most serious concerns about their party's most important figure while Fox would rather pay $787 million than do the same.