…But Nobody I Know Watches That…

Written and conceived by Raphael Saray

I implore you for true tolerance. To strip away pre conceived notions. You may be offended when I say Fox News. Its very existence may cause you to shudder or “like” an anti-Fox Facebook page. Many people in my sphere of influence’s relationship with Fox News comes from Daily Show clips and Colbert Report skewering. But one show has never been touched by them and if you like Jon, Stephen, or even Bill Maher you may enjoy this particular “news” program. Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld has  probably been my consistent favorite tv show for the past few years. It’s on Fox News at 2 am.

It’s a panel discussion news show that goes through the standard issues of the day; Obama, obesity, mid east strife, etc. But in the midst of trying to have a serious conversation, the show mocks having a serious conversation. Rather than putting emphasis on Fox News talking points, Red Eye relies on cat videos, unicorn worship, below average puppetry, rhyming couplets, the plight of Asian house boys, and short length robes. The structure is just four people around a table. The vibe is as if one walked into a dive bar where people are about four doubles into the night. The show will feature a 20 minute plus debate about Love Actually. It will spend half the show trying to figure out who is the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, with one panelist accusing that it is in fact, another panelist. The offbeat nature is not forced. It’s simply strange and interesting people being strange and interesting.

The host is Greg Gutfeld. He is short and twitchy and is dressed up to be a seemingly “cool” news guy; wearing a blazer over a tee shirt and decked out in sneakers instead of loafers. He is the person responsible for the men’s magazine craze of the late 90s’/ early 2000’s as he edited Stuff and Maxim US and UK. If you were able to look past cheesecake pictures of Elisha Cuthbert, Tara Reid and the Miller Lite Cat Fight girls, the content of those publications was a madcap hodgepodge of zaniness and snark. Greg’s politics would best be described as libertarian. It’s counterbalanced with the sidekick of the show – the left leaning Bill Schultz. Bill, a former Stuff staffer and editor of the ill-fated Sylvester Stallone men’s mag Sly (for which he was fired for trying to interview a car.) What Bill says and stands for won’t be seen on any other Fox News broadcast, or any other show. Bill portrays a version of himself (or does he?) who is the happy go lucky…cocaine obsessed, child support owing, cardboard box living, sequential hermaphrodite. He carries it off with boyish grace. Like 30’s and 40’s film characters could be charmingly alcoholic, Bill is charming with gay prostitution, drug addiction, and a plethora of vices and peculiarities. He’s the quintessential scamp.

At “halftime” Andy Levy shows up to give notes and corrections. A show like this needs an ombudsman. “Greg, just looked it up and Scott Stapp was not in fact the lead singer of Soundgarden”. He is always deadpan and snippy. He used to be a publicist for the Oscars and got the job by being the best commenter on Greg’s blog. Andy hates people, loves his cats, Pixel and Stormy, and fills in as host when Greg is away.

The guests are as eclectic as one would expect. A myriad of comedians, authors, lawyers, wrestlers, millionaires, former UN ambassadors, the former Governor of New Mexico, Michael Ian Black, the former guitarist for the Doobie Brothers who is now a rocket scientist, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s leggy daughter, and Andrew W.K. At its best Red Eye is far more outrageous than Chelsea Lately, wittier than Calvin Trillin, and more thought-provoking than Frontline. It could easily be on E, Comedy Central, VH1, or Fuse (like MTV but not as gross, still kind of gross though) but it’s on Fox News. It’s on at two in the morning so the commercials are equally as enjoyable, as most are direct marketing spots. Football players hawking prostate pills, a handsome man telling me that my house is worthless without a giant awning and an ad from a guy trying to help me get my “controversial poetry” published. I love the fact that nobody else I know watches it or has even heard of it. It’s as if they are doing the show just for me. I hope that everybody has one of these shows.

Raphael Saray is a writer/broadcaster/producer. He has voiced and produced commercials for Giant Tiger, Pharmasave, IGA, and A & W. He was altar boy of the year for the Ukrainian Metropolitan Cathedral of Canada in 1993. 

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