Monday, April 19, 2010

thank you for your prompt evacuation

Just saw that Kelsey Grammer is going to be the face of RightNetwork, a cable channel catering exclusively to conservatives because apparently Fox News doesn't exist. Here's Kelsey now, disparaging "partisan politics," among other things, while openly shilling for right wing TV.

I guess the idea behind RightNetwork is to provide non-news/political pundit content for the conservative audience, and one of their pilots is Right2Laugh, a showcase of right-wing comedians. Here's the teaser for it. Uh, yeah.

Let me say, for the record, that I am open to the idea of conservative comedians. Nick DiPaolo was really funny before he went completely off the deep end, and Jeff Foxworthy manages to be funny, be a Republican, and work clean, which is almost impossible in this day and age. Denis Leary has conservative tendencies, as relevant as political alignment is to that Boston Irish mindset of being insanely angry all the time.
However, the problem with a lot of conservative comics is that their routines are too much about proving their own conservatism and less about telling jokes or being funny or exploring the absurd, or really connecting with the audience in any meaningful way. In the teaser I linked, there's maybe one or two jokes that might work beyond an echo chamber in lockstep agreement with the comedian (and only one joke, the one about the Obama coin, that got more than a tepid response from the crowd).

There are shrill left-wing comics as well - Janeane Garafalo, David Cross, George Carlin's later material - but it's more common to see guys like Lewis Black and Patton Oswalt, who can weave political humor in and out of other topics like food, advertising, sex, death, etc. The content and delivery cover more ground than the incessant "Democrats walk like this, Republicans walk like this" pandering bullshit that conservative comics nearly always fall back on (Larry the Cable guy is a good example of that). Or, in the case of Nick DiPaolo, they just accuse the audience of PC oversensitivity when they bomb. Or, in the case of Dennis Miller, they just stop being funny altogether and start sucking up to whichever side is in power.

I'll stop here because I don't want to start telling people How to Laugh at Comedy, but holy crap it is mind-boggling that, after Fox News and 24 and nearly everything else on boring whitebread network television, conservatives STILL drag around a persecution complex. It's also telling that Comcast, the power behind RightNetwork, is currently buying NBC (and thus MSNBC). If this network gets off the ground and doesn't flounder until Rupert Murdoch or some other rich fascist buys it out, I'll be surprised and disappointed. Now that I've said that, it'll blow up huge just to spite me.

EDIT: Looks like Comcast isn't officially a partner of RightNetwork. So they claim, anyway. The confusion is due to Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, endorsing/investing in RightNetwork. Since he hasn't ruled out starting a right-wing channel in the past, and since Comcast is a shitheel company, people jumped to conclusions. RightNetwork also named Comcast as a partner in a promotional document they put together, which didn't help. But I don't want to knowingly spread misinformation, so consider this an official correction.

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