Right-Leaning Political Satire Show Shoots Back At Liberals
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Kelly McEvers, in for Arun Rath.
It's time now for The New and The Next.
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MCEVERS: Each week, we talk with Carlos Watson, the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. But this week, we have a fill-in. Eugene Robinson is the deputy editor for Ozy, and he's here with us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome to the program, Eugene.
EUGENE ROBINSON: Hey, thanks for having me, Kelly.
MCEVERS: Jon Stewart has hosted "The Daily Show" for more than a decade. I mean, it's - there's no question; like, this guy rules the world of late-night political satire. Even Stephen Colbert graduated from his show, to go on to do "The Colbert Report." You know, next month, HBO's launching a new show with a "Daily Show" alum, John Oliver.
ROBINSON: All right.
MCEVERS: But there's another show coming out this fall that's kind of similar but different. Can you tell us about that?
ROBINSON: Ah, we're talking about "The Flipside." "The Flipside" is this thing with Michael Loftus, and it's going to be conservative comedy, a la Jon Stewart but without the left-leaning politics. There've been attempts to have, you know, Dennis Miller and Jeff Foxworthy and the Cable Guy, I mean, there's been kind of right-leaning humor for a long time, but this is the first time that they've given the guy the whole show. So it should be kind of interesting to see, politically, if it gains any purchase.
MCEVERS: Who is this guy? Who is Michael Loftus?
ROBINSON: Michael Loftus is a, you know, an Ohio native, former stand-up comedian; moved to LA and ended up writing for TV shows, but now has his own show. And this is going to be, you know, a shot over the bow, in terms of punditry. And he's going to make America laugh by picking on - his words - insane liberals.
MCEVERS: OK. So here's a clip from the pilot where host Michael Loftus is making fun of bumper sticker.
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MICHAEL LOFTUS: And, of course, this one was very, very popular in 2008 among our liberal friends - Obama '08. But do you know what it really means? It means: I've been gullible from the get-go. And then there's another one, the Obama '12. That means: I haven't learned a thing.
MCEVERS: OK. Are you laughing?
ROBINSON: I mean, this is a really good college try at doing something politically non-standard. You know, nature abhors a vacuum; the idea that currently, there's nothing out there like it. Will it gain traction? This, I do not know.
MCEVERS: Let's move on to another show, one that's been around a lot longer
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MCEVERS: Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of "Jeopardy!" I mean, it's really hard to believe it's been around that long.
ROBINSON: I know. It is pretty amazing. And what's more amazing to me is the fact that Alex Trebek has been the - a host for about 30 years now. He's retiring next year, but I can't imagine what kind of intestinal fortitude you have to have, to show up to work for 30 years in a row. (Laughter)
MCEVERS: I mean, you know, a lot of game shows have come and gone. What is it about "Jeopardy!" that makes it work, over and over?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, there's a whole challenge aspect. And the reality of it is that you go into "Jeopardy!" and you come out of it feeling smarter than you did when you went in. There've been a lot of great former contestants. And I am still, actually, in shock about the whole John McCain thing.
MCEVERS: Wait, John McCain was on "Jeopardy!"?
ROBINSON: John McCain was on "Jeopardy!" He was a one-day winner. And then he blew it when it came to answering a question about who the male lead was in "Wuthering Heights." So I should ask you, who was the male lead in "Wuthering Heights"? Do you know?
MCEVERS: I have no idea, but I feel like that's a better one for him to lose on than if it was like, some question about like, a Navy ship or like, a certain kind of gun or something.
MCEVERS: Eugene Robinson is the deputy editor for the online magazine Ozy. You can explore all of the stories we talk about, at npr.org/newandnext. Eugene, thanks again.
ROBINSON: Hey, thanks, Kelly.
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