Fox News Turns Greg Gutfeld Loose In Sunday-Night Experiment

Greg Gutfeld Show Fox News
Courtesy of Fox News

Come Sunday, Greg Gutfeld will have the opportunity to do something very different at Fox News Channel. He will launch a program that depends as much on humor as it does the headlines.

Gutfeld, who has one of the more eclectic resumes in the business, could blaze new paths at the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet, but he’s not getting ahead of himself. His “Greg Gutfeld Show,” billed as a “comedic news hour,” is something that is not the norm at Fox News or any other cable-news outlet.

“I have a very low bar,” he says during a recent interview. “I don’t want to throw up.” Viewers will get to see if he accomplishes that feat this Sunday at 10 p.m.

Fox News Channel is often the subject of critique by hosts of satirical programs like “The Daily Show.” Now, the network will debut a program that could contain parodies and humorous monologues, elements that a younger generation of viewers prize as a way to gain insight on current events.

Viewers who expect to see a new Jimmy Fallon or Jon Stewart lancing at obvious targets will be disappointed, Gutfeld cautions. “I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t do comedy bits. I don’t tell jokes,” he says. “Basically, what I do is talk.”

A lot. In a single conversation, he illuminates the differences between satirical magazines “Mad,” “Cracked” and “Crazy”; reveals his love for “Get A Life,” the early 90s Fox sitcom that starred one-time David Letterman foil Chris Elliott as a 30-year-old paperboy; and gives props to Faith No More, the eclectic hard-rock band whose best-known single, “Epic” was a hit on MTV in 1989.

Yet Gutfeld’s steady patter can’t distract from the fact that the launch of his program shows Fox News willing to test new waters, trying something that pushes its boundaries on Sunday evening. The network typically relies on Harris Faulkner to lead the evening at 7 p.m., and has been recently featuring “Legends & Lies,” a documentary series executive-produced by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

“While it’s a departure from our regular primetime line-up, we think there’s room for a show that provides a new twist on current events and commentary,” says Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of Fox News, in a statement provided via email. “Greg is a sharp talent who can transition seamlessly from his quick wit to more serious topics. His new program will be a bit of a surprise even to us at Fox News.”

The network tested humor earlier in its history. In 2007, Fox News ran more than a dozen episodes of “The ½ Hour News Hour,” a Sunday-night program that had fictional anchors making fun of headlines. Comedian Dennis Miller made contributions. The program was produced by Joel Surnow, a co-creator of the popular spy serial “24.”

Others have grown interested in using laughs to probe the news. On HBO, John Oliver’s  “Last Week Tonight” blends investigation and jokes. At Fusion, the cable network owned by Univision and ABC News, a host of characters created by Jim Henson Productions discuss the issues of the day on a show called “No, You Shut Up.” CNN has unveiled plans to feature former FX and FXX latenight host W. Kamau Bell in a road-trip documentary series in 2016.

Gutfeld  says he has no intention of emulating the “Weekend Update” segment from “Saturday Night Live.”  Instead, he expects to hone monologues and conduct interviews. “If it’s funny, that’s great. Sometimes, it’s not funny, though. Sometimes, it’s just entertaining, and I always think something has to be entertaining first and funny second, and if it’s both, well, that’s pretty awesome,” he said. “When people call me a comedian, I always correct them. I’ve never done stand-up in my life. That’s an amazing ability, and I’m a writer.”

He has plied his craft in some interesting places. He worked as a writer at Prevention magazine, a writer and editor at Men’s Health and an editor at Stuff and the British edition of Maxim. In 2003, he generated headlines of his own by hiring three little people to attend a seminar backed by the Magazine Publishers of America on how to generate buzz, instructing them to answer cellphones that rang loudly and crunch on potato chips. Gutfeld was also one of the earliest blogging regulars at The Huffington Post

More recently, he hosted  another envelope-pushing program at Fox News, the wee-hours gabfest “Red Eye,” whose chatter has been likened to hanging out at a bar. Howard Stern has sung his praises.  Gutfeld is expected to continue as co-host of the Monday-to-Friday talk show “The Five” and to make appearances on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor.”

Gutfeld definitely has some things he wants to talk about. He expects to call out certain kinds of media coverage and commentary. “I can mock the predictable assumptions of the established media. That’s what I like to do. That’s where parody and satire come in,” he says.

He’s also eager to explore why many people are eager to label an opinion that isn’t to their liking as evil instead of having a rational discussion about various issues. “There is a breaking point where somebody has to create a forgiveness period where we can all take back all the stuff we said about each other,” he says, “We aren’t all really evil.”

As for the program itself, Gutfeld seems like he’d be happy if the thing became a cult classic. He cites “Fernwood 2 Night” and “America 2 Night,” the syndicated 1970s talk-show parodies featuring Martin Mull and Fred Willard, as potential models. “It made you feel special because you got it. You felt like you were part of the club because you were watching it.” Another example? David Letterman’s fondly recalled but short-lived morning talk show featured on NBC In 1980. “It was an incredible fish out of water, but you know, there was something special there,” Gutfeld says.

Perhaps Gutfeld’s name is in the show title not because he’s the host, but because the show will largely be about what’s occupying his brain each week. If something ticks him off or blows his mind, he says, it will be fodder for the program And if viewers like his thought process, they’ll want to watch the show.

“I have an amazing opportunity to speak my mind about stuff that interests me,” he says. “That’s what the show is.”

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  1. terri says:

    the one thing good about his having his own show, like Gretchen you can turn him off. Now, Give Juan and Geraldo there own show and Fox can make a comeback.

  2. Susan Michaud says:

    He’s full of sharp insight and metaphorical speech on “The Five,” peppered with hilarity at times, which comes in handy–especially when Bob Beckel was part of that group and even now with Juan Williams or Geraldo Rivera. Comic relief is often necessary, and Mr. Gutfeld provides it unerringly.

    Not a big fan of this new Sunday night show. Greg, you need a serious producer who you can trust.
    You’re better than this. If you’re after the younger audience, good luck. Just ’cause they’re young doesn’t mean they’re stupid. (“Watter’s World” reports not withstanding.)

    Best,

    Susan Harper Michaud

  3. Hyon Kim says:

    Watching Greg I now question my straightness. He is so hot!

  4. jpenders29j says:

    We were watching a talk show on Fox a year or two ago and Greg Gutfeld was a guest and asked his opinion on some subject. His answer was so humorous that we were laughing and someone asked where FOX had been hiding this fellow. Now it’s fun to see him on The Five, O’Reilly and his own shows. How about a prime time spot next ?

  5. I watched part of the Gregg Gutfeld show tonight and switched channels, Nothing funny or entertaining about it.

    • terri says:

      Greg does not belong on Fox, he stinks high heaven with what he calls humor. He is on right now making a fool of himself and the 2 women stink. there is nothing funny about what is happening in the country and he thinks he injecting some humor, honey it doesn’t work. Just keep him off until the election because after that I’m leaving Fox. and I will miss it but it’s not making it any more.

  6. Ken Klug says:

    His biggest problem is overcoming the label ” conservatist”. As most people agree, having a “cult” label can’t do anything but bring on the laughter. ” I am not a witch!” Now that was funny!!

  7. rhughsirius says:

    If only Gutfeld’s material was as loaded as his diaper. Then you would have an entertaining show. Bring in the highchair, I can’t see him.

  8. Paul Roehl says:

    Fox News has a template for humor and music that includes Red Skelton and Lawrence Welk respectively, good luck. The “folks” will already be in bed.

  9. Robert Temple says:

    I think I’ll watch the show again just to see Katherine Temft. I hope Greg Gutfeld sees the light on climate change, I can see him leaning toward the rational view.

  10. Hello, I happen to get almost everything Gutfeld says and means! He is and honest guy and stubborn in a good way ! I like him because he does not lie, not arrogant and is frankly, just darned bright as brigt gets! So there!

  11. Sethlan Morris says:

    Gutfeld has been doing subversive satire and farce on Red Eye for eight years. There are no similarities to Jon Stewart. In his last interview Gutfeld stated that this is the go-to comparison used by media hacks who do so out of laziness. Stewart tells written jokes against a backdrop of heavily edited out-of-context clips. That has never been Gutfeld’s thing. Unlike Stewart and Colbert, he has refused to use a studio audience and a laugh track for his new show. I would assume he would prefer to have the television viewer make up their own mind, as opposed to those aforementioned vehicles that rely on cued applause and hoarse guffaws to signal to the viewer that their world-view assumptions are being appropriately met. Unlike the Daily Show, Gutfeld’s satire (especially on Red Eye) has relied on subverting assumptions, of both the Fox New viewer and the random liberal who might be watching. Here, inanity is often used as the mask for making the postmodern critique through subversion of commonplace cultural associations. The mistake is thinking the subject of the joke is the focus of the humor when many times it is the vehicle of the message, the joke itself, that is being satirized. A knee-jerk nay-sayer will never see that aspect of his humour or understand it.

  12. Mitchell Hutchens says:

    I love FOX….. Sports Channels, Regular Network, Sports 1 , FX that is. The news network … NAH!!!! They suck.

    • Ken Klug says:

      “Unlike Stewart and Colbert, he has refused to use a studio audience and a laugh track for his new show.”

      We might add…Unlike Stewart and Colbert, they are where they are at and “Gutfeld” is where he is at!

  13. Fox “News”… slam Stewart, slam Stewart, slam Stewart… copy Stewart. Way to innovate, boys.

  14. I got old Greg at number 10 on the list of America’s biggest assholes right behind Mitch McConnell.

  15. Jeff vander says:

    Gutfield is being compared to Dennis Miller. That’s appropriate because Miller lost his edge and sense of humor about 10 years ago.Now he’s a snark for “Billy”.Way to go Cha – Cha. Same as Adam Corolla. As soon as comedians lose they go to the right because the bar is so low that snarky comments and eye brow raises are considered clever.Someone needs to tell Gutfield that wearing a pair of Vans and half glasses is not a sign of coolness.

  16. Chuck Reeser says:

    He was fired from those same magazines he worked for ..this is just a copy cat of the john Stewart show

    • Sethlan Morris says:

      This is a ridiculously unoriginal, tired comparison. There are no similarities between the two. Libs are such a threatened lot. They can’t just accept a larger playing field, they must view it as a personal threat to their own and go on the attack, as they do with all dissenting ideas. And this article mentions the event (employing little people) that got Gutfeld fired from one of those magazines. Gutfeld has openly talked about his firings at length, on numerous occasions on shows he hosts. In fact, he had two of his former bosses who fired him from those magazines appear as guest panelists on Red Eye on multiple occasions. So, you seem to think this matters more than the parties involved. It’s just more of that incessant need to personalize everything, supported by a shred of fact and no context (which, by the way, is the motto and premise of the Daily Show).

  17. Doer John says:

    this is another clown that just needs to go away he has no credibility as a news fool or as a comic just another right wing dolt

  18. Fran Blackney says:

    Greg is not only one of the funniest men in the world, his observations and comments are right on. I want a book of his Gregalogues from The Five and Red Eye. He’s not afraid to say what we’re all thinking. Can’t wait for the show.

  19. John Amico says:

    Saw Greg Gutfield’s preview on THE FIVE Friday. It looks like a real stupid show. Remind me not to waste time to watch it.

    • Sethlan Morris says:

      They discussed his new show Friday on the Five for five minutes, but no “preview” of his show has ever been aired, then or at any other time. So, you’re lying. You saw nothing to base that opinion on.

  20. during the segment, you might want to discuss issues about whats its like to be a conservative liberal or I can send you pointers from the Constitution, statues, jurisprudence or case law and you can explain to me why we have a failed government. Beginning with the three qualification you must have to become president. hint natural born killer. im joking, but whatever you choose to discuss, i’ll be watching and getting the point.

  21. Karla says:

    Well I DVRed his show at 3 in the morning(RedEye)for years, so Sunday at 10pm is a walk in the park so to speak.

  22. jeff b says:

    Sunday night?? You betcha the bar is set low. I like Greg, but Sunday night at ten?

  23. Amber says:

    I`m betting that this will be a good format for Greg,the guy is legitimately hilarious.

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