Monday, March 16, 2015

Belated post: Greg Gutfeld exits Red Eye

Red Eye, the popular Fox News middle of the night political/pop culture panel show, has been a favorite of mine for a number of years since I discovered it one night while channel surfing through a bout of insomnia. It's one of the smartest and funniest shows on the air in my opinion, rarely failing to make me laugh like a hyena. I DVR the show and watching it has been part of my morning routine for years.

One of the most noteworthy things about Red Eye is that despite its 3am (Eastern time) timeslot (midnight here in L.A.), it routinely scores higher ratings than primetime shows on CNN and MSNBC.

Host Greg Gutfeld drove the show's humor and pace. Unfortunately for rabid fans like myself, it was announced a couple weeks ago that Greg would be leaving Red Eye to develop a new weekend show for Fox.

Being a huge fan, I took the news hard and was just able to bring myself to watch Greg's final episode yesterday (because denial isn't just a big river somewhere). It was a great look back at some of Greg's favorite moments, bits and guests, but there were so many more that were classics to me that didn't make the cut. So here are some of my personal favorites, in no particular order:

Mike Baker's ugly, racist kids
Baker is a longtime and frequent guest, and he was one of the guests in this episode, so I was kind of surprised this didn't come up. It was a bit that just built up via the stories covered on that particular appearance and Baker, a quick-witted former CIA operative, rolled with it.

Greg: "Say what you will about Hitler 
baby, but he does sleep through the night."

Dana Vachon and Jesse Joyce trade insults during the Halftime Report
Vachon was filling in for then-ombudsman Andy Levy, who was filling in as host for Greg, and the back and forth was mind-boggling.

Jesse: "Isn't your De Lorean double 
parked in a handicapped space?" 

Red Eye remembers Andrew Breitbart
Breitbart was instrumental in getting Greg on Fox. He appeared on the first episode and many more guest appearances followed. When he died unexpectedly three years ago, Red Eye dedicated an episode to his memory. It could have been a depressing affair, but in true Red Eye fashion, it turned out to be a fun, humorous and heartfelt celebration of Breitbart's life, work and eccentricities.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter: "He knew that politics 
was part of life, politics was not life and 
if you disagreed with him he did not hate you."

Robot Theater
This was a thing a few years ago (back when the Taiwanese animation became famous) and they did show a brief clip on Greg's goodbye episode. I'd forgotten about Robot Theater, which is odd because at the time it was one of my favorite parts of the show.

Robot Eric: "But that's what we do at
Media Matters. They give me food 
pellets for every empty Fox story I write."

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter
McCotter is a cerebral, guitar-playing former Congressman from Michigan who has the most incredibly brilliant and dry sense of humor. I wish he'd run for president. I'd love to see an America run by a guy like this.

Rep. McCotter: "Well, there's a health
fitness center and I don't go there very much 
because A) they don't have ashtrays..."

Andy Levy's non-apology to Chris Brown and his fans
Andy had snarked girlfriend-beating singer Chris Brown on Twitter and Brown and his fans lost their shit and went after him, creating much Twitter drama. So Andy issued an absolutely epic non-apology.

Andy: "It was disrespectful of me to draw attention
 to the fact that you put your girlfriend in the hospital."

Frequent guest Sherrod Small singing along to the Lighting Round intro

Lightning roooooooouuuuuund!

NBC cafeteria serves fried chicken in honor of Black History Month
Professor Marc Lamont Hill played along with surprising good-naturedness and comic flair when Red Eye covered the story about the NBC cafeteria serving stereotypical African-American fare to "celebrate" Black History Month. I say surprising because he wasn't always the most humorous guest, but he knocked this one out of the park. Also, imagine how much bigger this story would have been if it had been the Fox cafeteria.

Prof. Hill: "Damn right wing media!"

Andy Levy destroys Stephen Colbert for purposely misusing Red Eye clips

Andy: "No reason you or one of the many, many
people on your staff should do five minutes of 
research before you basically do the equivalent of 
running something from The Onion as a real news story."

And there were so many other great guests over the years that I can't even begin to name them all, but they entertained me and made me laugh like crazy. Off the top of my head: Tom Shillue, Jedediah Bila, Ambassador John Bolton (aka President of Red Eye), Alison Rosen, Dana Perino, Remy Spencer, Andrew W.K., Buck Sexton, Terry Schappert, Amy Schumer, Stephen Kruiser, Greg's mom (RIP Jackie Gutfeld!), Kevin Godlington, Steven Crowder, Lauren Sivan, K.T. McFarland, Imogen Lloyd Weber, The Notorious PAB, Father Jonathan, Larry Gatlin and so many more. Even Billy Zoom, guitarist for legendary L.A punk band X, was once a guest. He looked like a high school history teacher.

End of an era.

Such a great show. I will miss Greg like crazy and look forward to his new show.

And since it's been one of the biggest topics of conversation among the Red Eye faithful the past two weeks, here are my choices for new host: 1) Mike Baker, and 2) Tom Shillue, who's really my first choice because I don't think Baker is available to host full-time due to his other ventures, although if he was, that would be great.

Updated 3/20/15: I watched last night's episode with Sherrod Small hosting via DVR today, and he just went onto my list of host choices along with Mike Baker and Tom Shillue. Great job.

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