We don’t need another late night talk show … on paper.
The late night universe is busier than ever. That’s partially due to our fractured media age. Once upon a time Alan Thicke, Rick Dees and Magic Johnson couldn’t crack the late night lineup. The ratings challenge proved too formidable.
Even Joan Rivers stumbled in the spotlight.
Today, a host can enjoy a small but vibrant following and be considered a success.
Hollywood is still missing a late night game changer. This host would be all but guaranteed a big audience, plenty of media buzz and an audience famished for something … different.
Introducing, a right-of-center late night host. Who? That might not matter as much as you think.
Mission: So Very Possible
Naturally, the host would have to be funny, engaging and shrewd enough to crack wise on the fly. Being a late night talk show host is a tall task, and even successful comics don’t always translate into late night fame.
See Chase, Chevy for Exhibit A.
The host also would need a very thick skin. Think crocodile thick. The same media which regularly reports on Colbert “destroying” Steve Bannon might turn on him or her in a hurry. Fact checkers will suddenly pounce after years of sitting on their hands.
See Kimmel, Jimmy for Exhibit A.
Powerful liberals might deem their shtick “hate speech” and threaten to boycott. And we all know how liberal Hollywood would react. Stars would stay quiet just like they’re doing now with the battle against free speech on college campuses.
Opposing views are no longer welcome on the hard Left.
But think of the ratings! Roughly half the country would finally have a voice that reflected their views. Finally. Even a mediocre host would have so much goodwill he or she could thrive indefinitely.
So who could it be?
Heather McDonald: The saucy stand up is a talk show veteran (“Chelsea Lately”) and leans to the right. She’s also a podcaster, so her gift of gab is well established. Being a woman might blunt some, but certainly not all, of the press attacks on the show.
Adam Carolla: The podcast king is unofficially libertarian, has some late night experience and could bring the intellectual firepower needed to the gig. Still highly unlikely given his “pirate ship” podcast empire lets him do exactly what he pleases. Why leave it?
Nick Di Paolo: A very funny stand-up and unabashed conservative. He might be too coarse for our sensitive age, which is a pox on us, not him.
Greg Gutfeld: The Fox News humorist has it all -- brains, a quick wit and a respected, right of center viewpoint.
Evan Sayet: The conservative stand-up once worked with Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” series and knows the right-of-center audience better than most.
Fill in the Blank: Here’s the true wild card … the host in question doesn’t necessarily have to be conservative. He or she should simply be open to different points of view and eager to smite targets as they appear. That shouldn’t be impossible to find. Right?
Fair and Balanced
The secret sauce, though, wouldn’t simply be a series of jokes skewering Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters. The host would be wise to hit everyone, but focus a bit more attention on liberal targets. Consider “South Park” as a comic muse.
Conservatives adore that show, potty mouthing and all, because it dares to mock both sides of the ideological aisle.
If this proposed show did the same it could draw a fraction of the Colbert crowd while protecting it from the angriest attacks.
The perfect venue for the show might be Netflix. Broadcast TV and select channels (like Comedy Central and HBO) come with varying degrees of liberal bias. Netflix doesn’t have that kind of brand issue … yet.
So unrolling a right-friendly talk show would be a solid fit.
It’s Worked Before
And if you don’t think a right-of-center talk show will succeed … consider Fox News. It’s merely one of the biggest success stories in modern times. The channel’s founders saw a reliably left-leaning media world and decided to program an alternative.
Let the same happen in late night. And here’s betting every other host will have to up their game, and perhaps tell a Democrat zinger now and then, as a result.
That’s if it happens.
And, chances are, it won’t. If it hasn’t been created already it’s unlikely to ever get off the ground. Networks understand the power of comedy in 2017. Comedy memes get weaponized on a daily basis. Comics have stopped telling jokes and started lecturing audiences.
See Kimmel, Jimmy for Exhibit A.
So network executives would have to look beyond their own ideology to see why this would work. Does anyone like those odds?