News is better than sitcom

For my money, the funniest show on television is “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News Channel.

I know. A lot of people think “The Simpsons” is funnier, or “Family Guy.” A lot of people like “Two and a Half Men” and “30 Rock,” though why I have no idea. Your premium-cable snobs like “Weeds” and your left-wing political media elitists like “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report.”

But day in and day out, “Fox and Friends” delivers more laughs than all of them combined.

Fewer than 1.5 million viewers watch it each day, which is a puzzlement, though the fact that it’s on at 7 a.m. may be part of the problem. It’s up against the network news shows — “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The Early Show,” plus the cable news morning shows.

“Fox and Friends” has more than twice the number of viewers of the other cable network news shows. That’s because it’s a situation comedy and more Americans want to be entertained than to get real news.

The schtick of “Fox and Friends” is that while it’s a sitcom, it actually pretends to be a morning news show, just like “Ted Baxter” on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” pretended to be a real TV news anchor. Instead of one clueless news anchor like “Ted,” “Fox and Friends” has three.

(Editor’s note: At this point, we informed Mr. Horrigan that “Fox and Friends” was not a sitcom, but a morning cable news show like “Morning Joe” on MSNBC or “American Morning” on CNN. He insisted that was impossible and that we just didn’t get it.)

The three anchors are “Steve Doocy” (you’ve got to love that name) and the story line is that he used to be a ball-drop reporter for Dick Clark’s “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve”; “Gretchen Carlson,” who preaches conservative values while showing lots of thigh and supposedly was a Miss America in 1989, and “Brian Kilmeade,” a sports expert who supposedly got his job after broadcasting Ultimate Fighting bouts.

I don’t know names of the actors who portray “Doocy,” “Carlson” and “Kilmeade,” but they are brilliant.

Take the July 21 episode, for instance. “Fox and Friends” aired several still photographs taken from a peeping tom video of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews while the “anchors” discussed how disgusting and perverted it was.

The comedic ironies simply were masterful.

Or take the continuing crusade by “Fox and Friends” against creeping liberalism in American schools. Last month, they had this guy portraying “Rob Schilling,” a long-haired, bearded conservative talk show host-cum-Christian music singer from Charlottesville, Va., doing an “expose” on “pacifist, United Nations and globalist far-left ecology” messages posted in an Albemarle County, Va., middle school.

The evidence: Posted on a cardboard box in the classroom were bumper stickers with messages like “My Patriot Act is the Bill of Rights,” “Good Planets are Hard to Find” and “Defend the Earth.” A Sarah Palin bingo card was tacked on a bulletin board.

“Doocy” was great, pretending to be shocked that the center square on the bingo card was a photo of the then soon-to-be-former Alaska governor and the words “Air Space.”

“Do you look at this as a slam against Republicans or just Sarah Palin or both?” he demanded.

Comedy genius! Outrage over a fake bingo card and bumper stickers on a cardboard box! And the editors here think it’s a real news show.

(Editor’s note: It is.)

No, it’s not.

(Editor’s note: Yes, it is.)

No, it’s not. Leave me alone. The big finish is coming up.

The classic “Fox and Friends” episode, at least equal to the Mary Tyler Moore Show’s “Chuckles’ Funeral” episode (“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”) came July 8.

“Doocy” had the day off, but “Gretchen” and a “guest host” were discussing a study that showed that married persons in Sweden and Finland suffered lower incidences of Alzheimer’s disease than single people. “Brian Kilmeade” chimed in to say that it didn’t apply to Americans because, “we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other. …”

“Gretchen” acted alarmed, but “Brian” continued, “See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes. … Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society.”

Not since Sammy Davis Jr. kissed Archie Bunker has an American situation comedy had the guts to turn racial stereotyping into such comic gold.

A lot of liberal critics, who haven’t figured out the joke yet, were offended. “Kilmeade” later kept the joke going by “apologizing,” saying that America is a “huge melting pot, and that is what makes us such a great country.”

Which is why I predict that “Fox and Friends” will soon add a black “co-host,” perhaps making him the studio shoeshine guy. These zany folks are irrepressible!