Yesterday, there was a discussion of a possible counterpart to The Daily Show, a satirical news show with a conservative slant. In that discussion, there was some rather derisive comments about “conservative humorists” being a bit of an oxymoron.
Now, there is a bit of truth behind that stereotype. Many of the funniest people tend to be rather liberal. And even if you discount those who are inadvertently funny (namely, most of the left end of the blogosphere and many of the national leadership of the Democrats), there are a lot more funny people on the left.
But that majority is not a monopoly.
There are quite a few genuinely funny people out on the right. Besides the aforementioned Dennis Miller (who, as others noted, has had not one but two shows fail out from under him), there are a few who come to mind:
P. J. O’Rourke. The guy cut his teeth at the National Lampoon, and is widely regarded as one of funniest AND insightful conservatives out there. I own several of his books, and they’re among my favorites. I’ve quoted him a few times. Here’s P. J. on foreign policy, and here’s the quintessential O’Rourke, on Americans. If a “Non-Daily Show” were to grab him, it would be a hell of a coup.
there are also quite a few humorists in the blogosphere who might be able to adapt their style to the television format. Scott Ott of Scrappleface fame is one that comes to mind, along with Iowahawk. The whole crew of IMAO.
I’m getting a little speculative here, but I strongly suspect that the Blue Collar Comedy guys — especially Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy — have more than a bit of Red State leanings in them. Their style might not be the most sophisticated, but there’s no denying their popularity.
Drew Carey is also pretty much available. He once headlined not one, but two very funny and successful TV series at the same time. (However, it can be argued that he was the “catalyst” on both shows, and not the consistently funniest performer.)
And let’s not forget that the Democrats now hold more power than they’ve had in years — possibly at least a decade. Good political humor is subversive, aimed against the high and mighty and intended to shake up the status quo. Look — just LOOK — at who the top Democrats are. Howard Dean. Nancy Pelosi. John Murtha. Alcee Hastings. Nancy Pelosi. John Kerry. Nancy Pelosi. (The speaker presumptive alone is worth many, many laughs, and bears repeating several times.) Charlie Rangel.
“The Daily Show” has shown that it can be done. I think that it can be done again, differently, and be just as entertaining and popular from the other side.
And if I’m wrong and it tanks, we can just compare it to Air America.