Can Conservatives Do Comedy?

So far, the show has gotten poor reviews, even from conservatives. But very few TV critics have seen a preview of the program's two episodes. Fox News representatives claimed that they didn't have any more DVD copies due to snowstorm-related delays.

One who has seen the show is Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel, who was not impressed. "I thought it was a laughless show," he tells "There was nothing funny about it -- seeing Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter in the beginning was certainly a grabber but that was it. It doesn't matter what political stripe it is, as long as it's funny. It's not about conservatives not being funny, just that this particular show is not that funny."

One of the skits derided by Boedeker involved jokes about the hype surrounding Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The skit poked fun at his admitted drug use by saying that he was endorsed by Marion Barry, convicted drug user and former mayor of Washington, D.C. The show's anchors also make jokes about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saying that if elected she "will surround herself with a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-generational group of angry lesbians."

Other skits make fun of the prevalence of Che Guevara T-shirts and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (depicted on a T-shirt that says, "Shiite Happens"). The show is interspersed with recurring fake ads for the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of violent militant groups.

On the conservative blog Hot Air, commentators were hoping that a few unfunny clips had been leaked on purpose to lower expectations for the show. "Does anyone believe they put together such a crappy show full of laugh tracks and they think people are going to buy it when any idiot can see (what we've seen) is pathetic at best."

Others hold out more hope. "The two bits that I saw so far, they hold potential," said Giles. "[Fox News] pretty much have the Midas touch with anything they do right now. It's all about writers and performers and they have the right venue but they should have created more buzz behind it."

Dylan P. Gaudino, who edits Punchline magazine, hasn't seen the clips but thinks that it could be a success. "I think it could be funny if they don't take themselves too seriously. The real problem for them is going to be if they're going to be able to step away from themselves far enough to make themselves look foolish when they need to," he said.

The show has already lost one of its performers. April Winchell, a comedienne and radio talk show host, recently told her fans that she won't be appearing on the program after a dispute with the show's creators. "After all the meetings, after all the waiting, after shooting the pilot and Fox News actually picking up the damn thing... I'm not doing the 'Half-Hour News Hour' after all," she wrote on her blog recently. "Let's just say that I didn't want to do what they wanted me to do. So I didn't."

Maybe the execs at Fox News listened to some of Winchell's old radio shows, on which she made fun of the network's coverage of missing teenager Natalee Holloway and skewered Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera. "Who refers to themselves or their mustache as iconic?" said Winchell. "Talk about retarded."

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