This week, far-right little-watched cable network One America News, a channel that’s positioned itself as an even Trumpier version of Fox News, announced that it will debut a new conservative comedy show next month.
The program, titled Headlines Tonight with Drew Berquist, is an obvious knockoff of The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, and Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update,” in that its focus is satirizing today’s headlines in a newscast setting.
That is, however, where the comparisons end.
OANN CEO Robert Herring claimed the show will “make fun of someone other than President Trump,” which the teaser clips released this week bear out. But none of the released clips show any “fun” or anything remotely bordering on comedy—at least not of the intentional sort.
In the first clip tweeted out by Herring on Tuesday, host Drew Berquist—a former BlazeTV host and counterterrorism officer—took aim at the right’s favorite bogeywoman as of late: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The result, of course, is Mike Huckabee-style hokey “comedy” tailor-made for people who apparently love painfully flat humor.
Riffing on a nearly three-week-old story of Ocasio-Cortez supposedly appropriating a forced “black accent” during a speech addressing an African-American audience, Berquist’s punchline is him just imitating AOC, but with an even more stereotypical accent. The show’s laugh track loved it though!
If that short clip didn’t tickle your funny bone, the network released video of an eight-minute segment on Wednesday, and—hoo boy—it’s somehow even worse:
Where to start here? Not only does Berquist awkwardly bungle the name of his own show, but then the canned laugh track comes in early at one point, clumsily cuts off at another, and some lines we assume were jokes(?) never got the laugh-track treatment.
The entire segment is unequivocally and painfully unfunny—in fact, it’s so unfunny that it might even be funny if viewed as an elaborate anti-comedy bit. Either way, the only actual comedy to emerge from these clips has been the reactions from actual comedians and people who appreciate humor.
TV’s own Andy Levy remarked on Twitter that “this video is deadlier than the one” in The Ring, adding that “the worst thing about this isn’t that it’s painfully unfunny it’s that whoever wrote it appears to have never even watched a minute of comedy in their life.”
Daily Show producer Ryan Middleton reacted by tweeting, “my god they are starting to get better at comedy and it is indeed making me nervous,” sarcastically referencing conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson’s often-mocked claim last year that the “right is starting to get better at comedy and it’s making lefties nervous.”
Comedy writer Stefan Heck got straight to the point. “Looks like shit,” he tweeted, echoing a wave of responses ranging from blunt mockery to ironic banter like “Big fan, love your network! Please post the comedy show clip, I’d love to see it!”
Many viewers posted memes mocking the videos, and more than a few noticed a similarity to the previous time a right-wing network tried its hand at comedy.
Back in 2007, Fox News ran a show called The ½ Hour News Hour, featuring actors playing lead anchors poorly attempting a Daily Show cadence and separate cameos from right-wing stars like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham.
The show was axed only three months after its debut. It was absolutely savaged by critics.