MSNBC has debuted a new ad. It starts with top network blowhard and host Ed Schultz saying these words directly into the camera:

Responding to criticism, MSNBC has turned to a man who can restore balance to an unbalanced network. A man who will address the great issues of our time while keeping his emotions in check. Above all, a man who values reason over passion and who provides a soothing voice for these troubled times.

At which point, Alec Baldwin jumps into the frame, saying, “That’s right. It’s me.” The spot is a promo for Baldwin’s upcoming show, “Up Late with Alec Baldwin,” which premieres on Friday, Oct. 11 at 10 p.m.

The ad’s self-parody surfaces a sense of humor absent from the quite-often-earnest world of MSNBC thinkers and cable news in general. It also continues a hot streak for MSNBC advertisements. Think back to that “Lean Forward” spot featuring MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry blasting our country’s “private notion of children” and urging a more community-oriented approach to our youth. Conservatives gave the ad a tremendous ride, republishing it on all sorts of platforms, complete with full-throated denunciations about the socialism that it allegedly — but not actually — advocated. In other words, a towering victory for the lefty cable-news network.

MSNBC triggered a bit more conservative reaction with a clever ad (below) in which network talent present handwritten descriptions of their progressive dreams on mini-whiteboards. Pegged to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech,” the ad worked because it showcased several loudmouths of cable news — Chris Matthews, Touré, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and beyond — in the act of not talking.

Now, if only MSNBC could fill the spaces between ads with equally compelling stuff.