"That's not risk," Gutfeld said. "These days, risk is doing something the media derides, saying you love this country, cops are awesome, our military rules, identity is silly. All of that creates a smirk stretching from the Upper West Side to the backyards of Brentwood, a snickering dismissal of an intellectual class trained by the Comedy Central applause sign."
Variety characterized the episode as "odd and vaguely surreal [rather] than funny or satirical," which sums it up nicely. He interviewed Tucker Carlson but cut out in the middle for a pre-recorded fantasy sequence where he played Candyland with Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden. A man-on-the-street interview in Times Square where people were asked about famous American women was the opposite of Jimmy Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" or Fox News' "Watters World" because everyone knew all the answers. And Gutfeld opened the show with a skit about finally being allowed into the Fox News' "host club" where he didn't receive a warm welcome from Geraldo Rivera or Gretchen Carlson.
There are several theories about why conservatives haven't done the sort of political satire that Stewart, Stephen Colbert or John Oliver do. One of the most popular is that conservatives are wired to prefer different types of comedy, jokes with clear-cut endings instead of irony or sarcasm.
Gutfeld's closing segment seemed to support that theory. Rather than make jokes about how everything is awful, he defended his country, the police and the military. The closest thing he had to a Stewart-styled monologue was a diatribe against classifying things as "evil," which he suggested the left does to the right, when the real evil is groups like ISIS burning women. It was more black-and-white, clear-cut and earnest than most of what you'd see on Comedy Central, which just might be what a right-leaning audience wants.
The triumph of Stewart and his colleagues in the Internet age was making television that was easily chopped into segments and shared online. A six-minute segment, embedded across the Web, would give like-minded people ammo in the ideological wars playing out over their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Jon Stewart Destroys X. John Oliver Demolishes Y.
There's an opening for someone on the right to do the same thing. Sunday's "Greg Gutfeld Show" wasn't it. But hey, it was just day one.