Late-night TV talk shows have gone dark due to the WGA writers strike — well, all except one. Fox News Channel’s “Gutfeld!” (the exclamation point is theirs) will remain on television. Host Greg Gutfeld has non-union writers, IndieWire is told. (Go ahead, take a moment: “Of course he does.”)
Gutfeld’s writing staff is smaller than most traditional late-night talk shows. He’s got some known comedians, including Nick DiPaolo and Joe DeVito, as well as longtime producer Tom O’Connor. Senior producer is Arash Mosaleh; Joe Machi is also on the writing staff.
Some may not consider “Gutfeld!” to hold a place in the long-running stable of comedy talk shows including CBS’ “The Late Show,” NBC’s “Tonight Show” and “Late Night,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (exclamation mark also theirs), and Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.” (And up until last week, also included CBS’ “The Late Late Show.”) But, like those guys, Gutfeld does topical comedy — he just leans the other way. (Officially, Gutfeld is a Libertarian.)
Also comparable to the main stable? Greg’s ratings. “Gutfeld!” averaged 1.8 million total viewers last month, according to Nielsen, the most for any late-night comedy talk show not hosted by Stephen Colbert. (Who, ironically, used to play a far-right character on Comedy Central, one that may not be so unlike Gutfeld and many of the other folks on Fox News.)
It’s vital to note here that “Gutfeld,” like “The Daily Show,” airs at 11 p.m. ET, which means they’ve got the drop on Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel by 35 minutes. Seth Meyers’ show starts at 12:35 a.m. Gutfeld not only enjoys the advantage of more potential viewers still being awake, he also immediately follows Fox News Channel’s highly-rated primetime block. (Now with no more Tucker Carlson at 8!) Colbert and the Jimmys come after a half-hour of so of local news — not exactly an ideal lead-in.
Speaking of Colbert, Fallon, Meyers, and Kimmel, each have vowed to pay their staff out of pocket amid the strike. Kimmel did the same during the last strike, as did then-hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien.
For non-viewers, Gutfeld opened last night’s program by joking he recently celebrated his seventh year anniversary of seeing Kim Kardashian’s butt in person. “That thing was so big, it kind of felt like it was staring back,” he joked.
That hilarity was a lead-in for his first topic,” Mainstream media sucks,” which featured some Joe Biden fart jokes. After, he transitioned to mocking Hollywood on the eve of the writers strike, made a weed joke about Britney Griner, and called CBS News’ Gayle King a “lesbian.” Either there was not much laughter, or Gutfeld’s audience microphones went on strike.
It might actually be time for WGA writers, Greg.