A Fool and His Audience are Soon Parted

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

When was the last time you tuned into watching an episode of the Late Show with Late Night Hostmandnerson? Whether it’s Fallon or Colbert, the last time you actually saw them for more than an ad’s worth of time on your television was when?

As for myself, I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt compelled to watch any of the late-night show hosts. I’m sure they still serve up some pretty funny moments, but they’re so swallowed up by the political propagandizing and quest for “clapter” that it’s become a slog to watch.

Sure enough, I’m not the only one. According to a recent report by my colleague Mike Miller, the media is doing its absolute best to avoid talking about it, but the late-night hosts of the mainstream have been consistently losing to Greg Gutfeld who now has his own late-night show on Fox News.

This makes Gutfeld the new king of late-night, but you won’t hear that from any mainstream media source. This is a huge blow to morale, and the last thing they need is people venturing to Gutfeld’s show to figure out why he’s winning.

They did this to themselves. Late-night shows used to be what you watched to kick back and get a few yuks in before you hit the hay. It had celebrities and comedians coming in to have interesting conversations with hosts who knew how to keep it interesting. Moreover, it was pretty apolitical. You knew that whether you were right or left, you were welcome as an audience member of that show.

No longer. As I recently wrote myself, these shows went from being fun ways to take your mind off of life and became just a very long commercial ad for political agendas with a live audience behind them.

(READ: Late-Night Comedy Shows Went from Star-Studded Fun to Scripted Political Ads)

It was inevitable that these hosts would lose their audience to Gutfeld.

The truth is that if they hadn’t gotten political, it’s far less likely that Gutfeld would actually be leading any of them. The brutal truth is, that if someone like Johnny Carson was still popular today, more people would want to tune in and watch him than Gutfeld since Carson is apolitical and Gutfeld isn’t. Gutfeld would be considered the more divisive one.

The reason Colbert, Fallon, and Kimmel are losing is because they stepped into Gutfeld’s realm; political commentary. They were immediately put at a disadvantage the moment they went down that road. Gutfeld’s entire schtick is making politics into a joke. He’s very good at it. He’s had a lot of practice. Far more than the other hosts have.

Moreover, these hosts suffer the same problem CNN and MSNBC do. These news outlets are radically left, but America is a center-right country. Fox News is a center-right news channel that aligns well with American audiences. Late-night show hosts were trying to be MSNBC with all the talking points delivered in a humorous and laughing, clapping audience to make their positions seem well-beloved.

But it’s kind of hard to laugh along with the audience when you just got told that you’re a racist or sexist for believing what you do, and that the people you chose to vote for are evil and only appeal to dumb neo-Nazis. You’re just asking for audiences to tune out.

And they do…and they tune right into the guy who is not telling them they’re garbage human beings for having a set of perfectly reasonable beliefs.

At some point, if networks want to win back their audiences from Gutfeld, they can. All they have to do is fire their current crop of hosts and their writers, and replace them with people who have no political ax to grind. Until then, their audiences will continue to belong to a guy who does funny political commentary much better than they do.


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