The 1/2 Hour News Hour is a new show coming to Fox News. It’s being billed as The Daily Show for conservatives. If you’re dying for a taste, you can watch a short clip of it right here.
1/2 Hour has been brought into existence because the folks at Fox feel that The Daily Show has a strong liberal bias (just like reality) and that bias needs correcting. While I think that such a claim is debatable, I certainly don’t begrudge 1/2 Hour its right to exist. If the guys at Fox News honestly feel that Comedy Central represents some kind of threat that needs to be fairly balanced, than by all means, make jokes.
Just make sure that they’re funny jokes. The aforementioned clip starts off well enough with some jokes about Barack Obama’s teenage cocaine use—his approval rating among Democrats has since plummeted to 99.9% and he’s been endorsed by Marion Barry. Jon Stewart and company could do it better, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s not bad.
Things slide downhill with an ad for BO: Barack Obama Magazine. The gag takes forever to land its punchlines and goes on far too long. The excess of canned laughter for the piece is particularly grating. The Daily Show has never used canned laughter, even in the awkward first season when there was no studio audience.
The ultimate problem with 1/2 Hour is one of priorities. Jon Stewart steadfastly maintains that The Daily Show is just a comedy show, even in the face of its undeniably increasing political relevance and cultural appeal. Comedy comes first, which is why The Daily Show is funny. Fox News, on the other hand, has no business producing a comedy. If anything, it’s the ultimate expression of modern news programming as entertainment over information, and only serves to unsettle me.