Late-night television was once a place where Americans turned to kick back, relax, and escape such nasty things as politics.
Johnny Carson made his audiences laugh without saying how he voted — and the content was always interesting, entertaining, and non-divisive.
It’s far more difficult today to find laughs in the late-night arena. Flip through the channels, and there’s Jimmy Kimmel giving teary-eyed monologues about gun control and health care, Jimmy Fallon spending whole segments worshiping politicians like Hillary Clinton , and folks like Stephen Colbert committing virtually his entire act to bashing the president of the United States.
All of this is uninspired and lazy. The vast majority of these shows now play to one audience and one audience only — the politically charged Left.
Nearly everyone on the Right, in the middle, or on the Left and sick of the constant barrage of politics is tuning out.
The deck has become stacked so heavily that even the president chimed in on Twitter over the weekend about it.
In the end, conservatives don't need an archaic FCC law that applies to politicians to find better late-night content — they just need their own shows.
Right-of-center, late-night programming has worked before. Fox News' "Red Eye" ran for 10 years (the last episode was in April of this year). It found a huge audience by taking on all sides of the political aisle, providing wide-ranging and funny interviews and introducing the world to hilarious libertarians like Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy (pictured above center while hosting a "Red Eye" panel discussion).
Though it was on at 3 a.m. most nights (hence the name), "Red Eye" had a large and loyal following. It was a bit of an anomaly on the news channel, but it disproved the misconception that conservatives can't be funny.
Gutfeld, who was the host until 2015 when comedian Tom Shillue took over, brought on panelists to discuss the latest news and share some laughs, while sidekick Andy Levy appeared mid-show to tell everyone how and why their opinions were wrong in a "fact-checking" segment.
There was no worshiping of politicians, one-sided preaching, or teary-eyed monologues. "Red Eye" just wanted to create interesting content — and bring the laughs. It invited on everyone from "Hercules" actor Kevin Sorbo to former CIA officer Mike Baker to rocker Rob Zombie to ex-presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
There's a big audience out there looking for something other than the left-wing, trolling late-night programs we already have. It's the perfect time for another "Red Eye."
Conservatives and right-of-center people sick of late-night programming also don't need to look to late night to find their comedy. Plenty of conservatives are using pseudo-late-night show formulas to create shows that infuse humor with the news.
Ex-"Red Eye" host Greg Gutfeld brings some of that magic to Fox News' popular "The Five," and he has a weekly program on Saturdays called "The Greg Gutfeld Show" that comes about as close as anything on television to being conservative late-night programming.
Ex-"Red Eye" sidekick Andy Levy is also now the co-host of "S.E. Cupp Unfiltered" on HLN, which is hosted by prominent conservative S.E. Cupp. That show has some of the same flavor as "Red Eye," where S.E. Cupp was often a guest.
Bill Schulz, who was a permanent panelist on "Red Eye" for the show's first years, also now has an internet morning show on Compound Media, a website created by Anthony Cumia, another "Red Eye" regular.
All in all, a number of shows are providing good alternatives to what the current crop of late-night shows are offering. Plenty of conservatives have their own programming that can be easily found — and it's far more interesting than anything Kimmel or Fallon might do on a given night.
And if conservatives really want to compete directly with the late-night shows that put divisive political preaching over laughs, "Red Eye" was then the answer. It could be again.