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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pointy And Rather Fabulous Eyebrows Of Andy Levy

Everyone remembers the dismal Fox News comedy show, The 1/2 Hour News Hour, probably because it stank worse than Pepe Le Pew's romantic overtures to Penelope Pussycat.

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. You can't out-Jon Stewart Jon Stewart. Only Stephen Colbert can do that.

So it was with trepidation that I began watching Red Eye some months ago.

This best kept secret on late night combines the libertarian morality play that is Trey Stone's and Matt Parker's South Park, with Paul Lynde's circle-gets-the-square zingers. It's proof positive that conservatives not only have a sense of humour, but that they can say irreverent things liberals can't say anymore because they're stupid literalists.

The show is anything but formulaic, unless inside jokes qualify.

Greg Gutfeld, the host, is a good Catholic boy from California, who is at pains to point out he's not Jewish, all the while making with the homosocial yucks to lovable, and yet rather pathetic sidekick, Bill Schultz. I'm not exactly sure what function Schultz fulfills on the show, but he does it really well. Perhaps he's best described as Major Healy to Gutfeld's Major Nelson, and with that, I'm pooped out of 1960s pop culture references.

Red Eye usually has on hand three or four guests, including generally one via satellite, notably, ex-Drudge pal and total hottie, Andrew Breitbart.

Most of the time Greg throws out outrageous claims about Schultz and his guests like, "Bill, you were in Sing-Sing in the 30s for murdering your mother-in-law, how does Obama's prison reform strike you?".

(I just totally made that up. I'm sure Greg would approve though)

Gutfeld gets to opine in his daily Gregalogues, which can be best described as a cross between Jerry Springer's Final Thought and that part in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy gets attacked by a gang of flying monkeys. It's really good.

In fact, the whole show is a middle finger to Brits like my male cousins who say Americans don't do "silly" well. Hah!

But for comedy to work, there has to be tension present somewhere, usually in the form of an authoritarian figure hovering around, ready to quell the madcappiness.

(This is why "Grace and Favour", the "Are You Being Served?" sequel, didn't work, in case you were wondering all these years)

Enter Andy Levy.

He of the pointy eyebrows, blond Sir Wisp-A-Lot hair, and air of exasperated proof-reader dismissiveness. Andy is, I'm not embarrassed to claim, a national treasure.

Only Fox News could hold such a golden nugget, and relegate him to the graveyard shift correcting a bunch of misfit retards. I use the word "retards" with affection, you understand.

Levy first came into prominence in Hollywood, where he was the publicist for the 69th Academy Awards. (Yeah, I didn't think there was money in that either).

He also had a blog for a brief moment in time called "The Cranky Insomniac", which oddly is his job description on the show. I'm of the opinion that you can tell a lot about a person by the blogroll they keep, and his includes Cathy Seipp, Gateway Pundit, Patterico's Pontifications (I sure hope he got his domain back, poor chap).

Now that's a stand-up guy.

(We will ignore that he also blogrolls Andrew Sullivan, Atlas Shrugs, and Wonkette, for the mere fact that he had the prescient taste to also blogroll Christopher Althouse. Wait, the Christopher Althouse? I can haz lulz?)

Anyway, Andy's schtick is to bookend Red Eye with a faux-Faux News alert at the start of the show, then a full five minute segment called "The Half-Time Report", finally finishing up with some Kleenex and Vaseline with the "Post Game Wrap-Up".

It's hard to describe his pièce de resistance, The Half-Time Report. If you held a gun to my head, I would say it's like going to your principal's office, as you squirmed during a long recitation of your mistakes in that morning's Trig class.

For five minutes he dryly corrects any hyperbole flung out by Gutfeld and Guests, and my word but he is sharp. He has the incisive logic of a lawyer, who if he were passing an Aussie sheep farm, you know, like you do, were asked if a sheep on the road was shaved, he'd say, "well, at least on one side he is".

You can't take anything you say for granted around Mr. Levy!

In fact, I wondered if he had been a lawyer at some point, because not only is he Jewish, and smart, but he's also always right. If that doesn't describe every Jew I know, I don't know what does.

To my amazement, I read on his Wiki page that he had been a 31K Signaller in the US Army (!). He just went up 1000 degrees in my Male-o-Metre of Perfection right there.

You know what makes for the best comedy? Being quick on the uptake.

It's hard, because you have to think on your feet, like when someone makes a gaffe and says, "This movie takes place in a menstrual hospital", and you immediately reply, "Oh, it's a period piece."

Comedy should not just be about banana peel flops, and Runyonesque one-liners, but the real good stuff is when you can get your listeners' brain wheels whirring away. The quicker you get a Groucho Marxist sly reference, the more you feel rewarded by the mental calisthenics.

It was this talent that Andy had, that actually brought him to the attention of Gutfeld over at HuffPo, in the first place. He actually parlayed his devilish comments on Gutfeld's deadpan blogposts into a gig on Red Eye.

He thus fulfilled the not-so-secret wish of anyone who has ever taken the time to comment on a notable blog, of being so good in one's replies, that you were elevated into superstardom by dint of one magically turned phrase, or fifty.

But enough of our time over at Althouse.

Andy Levy is that rarest of guys -- one who was discovered not sitting on a stool at Schraft's wearing a tight angora sweater, but probably in sweats and a t-shirt, a ballcap with the words "NASCAR FAN" on them, typing furious retorts for the delectation of an observing few.

I should be so lucky.

Okay, so if you've never watched Andy Levy, Red Eye, or even liked the pungent gayness of unicorns, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about, but I promise you, staying up to 3-4 AM EST is worth it if you have nothing better to do. This includes the Best Of reruns every weekend at midnight.

And yes, I am using the same whimsical hyperbole in this entire blogpost, which would probably earn me the pointy eyebrowed condescension of my hero -- but I don't care. Andy Levy is a Greek God with ripe buttocks!

Here he is, in one of my favourite episodes, from October 23.

Notice the self-satisfied smirk when professional comedian, Jeffrey Ross, marvels "this guy is very funny".



Oh, and on November 1st (the last episode they broadcast before the Presidential Elections), he predicted:



"It will be Obama 364, McCain 174. It's a bloodbath."

I listened to that in horror that day. But, wouldn't you know it, final tally: Obama 365, McCain 172.

Christ on cream cheese, this guy IS good.

EXTRA: From Andy's blog, The Cranky Insomniac, is this incredibly topical opinion on Joe "The Prophet" Biden, our next Vice-President, written in 2006.

I love Joe Biden. I love how Joe Biden loves him some Joe Biden. All politicians love themselves, but Joe Biden takes self-love to a level that would make Narcissus shake his head and say, “Dude,” before slowly backing out of the room. The only thing Joe Biden needs to do to make me love him more is start referring to himself in the third person. Also, Joe Biden should always be called by his full name. It’s just one of those names, like Genghis Khan or Chi Chi LaRue. Have you noticed that Joe Biden suffers from inappropriate smile syndrome? Watch Joe Biden when the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing and it’s his turn to pretend to ask questions. He may be reading from his notes (wearing those ab fab half-glasses!) or just droning on about the pet hamster he had as a kid that taught him some valuable lesson, but literally every 5 or 10 seconds he’ll look up at the poor sap who’s supposed to be answering questions and give him a big smile. I think this is supposed to convey sincere reassurance but it’s so obviously phony and bizarre that it gives him more of an “I could very easily cut you into McNugget-sized pieces with a chainsaw and store your body parts in my Sub-Zero” vibe. We could do with more of this in our leaders. That’s why I also love John Bolton – he’s exactly what we need in an ambassador to an organization composed of thieving bureaucrats and murdering tyrants. You just know Johnny wouldn’t hesitate to stick a serrated blade in someone’s gut and twist it until a good portion of the intestine was hanging out, which he would then slurp down as if it were Mom’s linguini after football practice.

Mmm. I love linguini. Wait, isn't that "linguine"? Hah!

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8 Comments:

  • On my last day of college, I dressed up as Groucho, black suit, painted on 'stache, the works, and, well, I ran a-mock! Storming offices, classrooms, doing a jig when needed, I was channeling Julius in sublime fashion.

    My fav line is when I cut off an art prof who started droning about "post Raphaelite painters", by asking, "Post Raphaelites? Are those the paintings that hang from the ceiling or come up from the floor?"

    I tried in prose to catch rhythm of Christopher Hitchens' speech over at Althouse yesterdays in the post on drinking...see what you think!

    I will give the Fox thing the scope!

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon Nov 17, 06:50:00 am GMT-5  

  • This is gold! I love it! Is it only on the cable network?? Darn it, I have refused to give TWC any of my money for more than a year now...I may need to rethink that. Plus this reminds me that I need a TiVO, desperatly...Thanks, Vics!

    By Blogger ElcubanitoKC, at Mon Nov 17, 08:56:00 am GMT-5  

  • On my last day of college, I dressed up as Groucho, black suit, painted on 'stache, the works, and, well, I ran a-mock! Storming offices, classrooms, doing a jig when needed, I was channeling Julius in sublime fashion.

    My fav line is when I cut off an art prof who started droning about "post Raphaelite painters", by asking, "Post Raphaelites? Are those the paintings that hang from the ceiling or come up from the floor?"


    Heh. I recall! :)

    That's the kind of stunt that gets you remembered for all time, and you are the star of high school reunions.

    I tried in prose to catch rhythm of Christopher Hitchens' speech over at Althouse yesterdays in the post on drinking...see what you think!

    Wait, Chris wrote a speech for Althouse? Or am I getting the wrong end of the carrot?

    I shall peruse my favourite old haunt at night, promise. :)

    I miss that place...

    I will give the Fox thing the scope!

    Please do! It's adult fare for children.

    Or vice-versa.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Nov 17, 04:13:00 pm GMT-5  

  • This is gold! I love it! Is it only on the cable network?? Darn it, I have refused to give TWC any of my money for more than a year now...I may need to rethink that. Plus this reminds me that I need a TiVO, desperatly...Thanks, Vics!

    Yay, Ernie. Okay there's good news and bad news.

    Good news, you can Hulu the shows online. Click here.

    (Hulu, of course, is that wonderful new site which has full episodes of just about every hit show out there. It's like Youtube without the stain of immorality ;)

    Bad news, for WHATEVER inane reason, Red Eye doesn't get updated on Hulu very often.

    They are still back in September, 2008.

    Curiously, and perhaps it's a testament to the popularity of Andy Levy, the Half-Time Report is current.

    I really should get off my hillary duff and email Hulu or Red Eye about this confusing state-of-affairs.

    Enjoy Ernie!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Nov 17, 04:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • @Knox: I saw Quantum of Solace!

    I will write-up a review soon. :P

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Nov 17, 04:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Pepe Le Pew's romantic overtures to Penelope Pussycat
    .
    Paul Lynde's circle-gets-the-square zingers.
    .
    Perhaps he's best described as Major Healy to Gutfeld's Major Nelson, and with that, I'm pooped out of 1960s pop culture references.

    The '70's and '80's do just fine too. We're not all as alt as Ann. ;)

    By Blogger chickenlittle, at Mon Nov 17, 04:24:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Love RedEye. When we first discovered it, we never missed a show. Now we watch it less frequently but it is light-years ahead of the dreaded "Daily Show," etc. Greg Gutfeld is a great host, and he's often got several guests on who disagree w/ him. And yes, AL is dreamy.

    PS Andrew Breitbart guest-hosted for Dennis Miller on his radio show recently and he was fantastic. I wish he'd get his own show, he's great.

    By Blogger knox, at Mon Nov 17, 08:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • >(This is why "Grace and Favour", the "Are You Being Served?" sequel, didn't work, in case you were wondering all these years)
    >>>>>

    I thought the sequel was "Are You Being Served, Again?"

    Is this one a second sequel?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 17, 10:25:00 pm GMT-5  

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