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The MRC's Comedy Cop

Alex Christy is the Media Research Center's point man in complaining that late-night TV hosts are too political (read: too liberal) to be funny -- but he won't apply the same scrutiny to Greg Gutfeld's right-wing jokes.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/21/2024

Alex Christy

The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complained in a March 17 post:
Comedy Central’s The Daily Show claims to be a comedy show, but temp host Kal Penn and husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Chasten Buttigieg, turned it into the joke police on Thursday while condemning a recent joke told by former Vice President Mike Pence at Pete’s expense.

Penn set the table by reporting, “At the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., that’s a dinner where politicians are known to make humorous speeches—”

After Buttigieg interrupted to add “they try,” Penn continued “They try, yes. Vice President Mike Pence made a joke about your husband taking paternity leave and he referred to it as ‘maternity leave’ and when I saw that, my biggest reaction was, really? You're just going to recycle a 1998 joke that’s, like, been around forever, but what was your reaction?”

If Penn found the joke boring, that would be one thing, but Buttigieg insisted it was much worse, “I mean, I think ‘joke’ is being generous.”

The real joke here is that Christy's main job at the MRC is to be a joke policeman, heaping disdain on late-night comedy shows that make too much fun of right-wingers like him. For instance, here's a sample of what he has written in the first few months of 2023, with a particular focus on Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers (with a little Jimmy Kimmel for good measure):

Christy has determined that any joke that doesn't align with his right-wing ideology is not funny and, must therefore be condemned.

Christy showed just how tone-deaf he is about jokes in a January 2023 post:

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert tried and failed during his Tuesday show to use Republican infighting during the Speaker battle to play the sexism card by suggesting there was a double standard present.

Recalling the fourteenth and penultimate ballot, Colbert recalled, “After that, all pluperfect hell broke loose. A furious [Kevin] McCarthy got out of his seat, walked up the aisle, and got into a yelling match with [Matt] Gaetz.”

Advertising for a parodic show, Colbert moved on with an exaggerated McCarthy impression, ‘You can catch all the drama on the new Bravo hit: The Real House Guys of D.C. No, no. No! uh-uh, I'm not here to make friends. Because I'm Kevin McCarthy, and no one will be my friend.’”

While showing some C-SPAN footage, Colbert recalled, “then it got even dramatic-er, when McCarthy ally Mike Rogers approached the scrum and then-- where it is, right here-- and appeared to lunge at Matt Gaetz, and then was quickly pulled away.”

Colbert reacted to this confrontation with fake horror, “Oh, my god. I don't know if men should hold political office. They're just too emotional! You know what I mean? They're just... hormones, I guess. I just-- it's just-- it's the damn-- it's their damn hormones.”

The point Colbert is trying to make is not literally that men should be banned for public office because of testosterone. He is trying to ironically suggest a double standard, arguing that less sophisticated people believe women are not as qualified because they are hormonal. Of course, he cannot point to anyone of any relevance to back up this accusation or rebut the obvious point that most people vote based off party label. As it is, the man who called Kellyanne Conway “Satan’s trophy wife” should hold off on accusing other people of sexism.

Christy either didn't do his research or did research and hid it -- but it turns out that Colbert's joke has a basis in fact. CBS reported on a 2019 study finding that "13 percent of Americans still have serious doubts about women's emotional suitability for political office. And while that number represents a substantial decline in the bias against women in politics since the 1970s, it still represents a real hurdle for women running for office." It cited Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign as a case in point: "Clinton marketed herself as the most experienced candidate to ever run for president, but was dogged by questions concerning her temperament and general likability." CBX added: "A successful, powerful woman could risk coming off as shrill and demanding. At the same time, she could read as too soft on serious issues facing the country such as national security or defense."

That's right -- the idea that a woman is not emotionally fit to hold office is more likely to be held by a Republican than a Democrat. So Christy's right-splaining the joke in an attempt to make it less funny backfired because a full explanation actually shows it to be quite a hoot.

Christy did start giving more attention to Kimmel as well, such as in this April 13 post:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel took time out of his Wednesday monologue to attack a college student who attended a recent Mike Pence speech at the University of Alabama for daring to be fearful that Democrats were redefining what it meant to be a woman. For Kimmel, the concern highlights why universities should “have another look at the minimum GPA required” for admission.

After going through some of the details of Pence’s talk, Kimmel reported: “And then they had a Q&A with the students and one of the young women, in particular, has some very serious concerns.”

Kimmel then played a video of the woman declaring: “As I wake up every day and I sometimes don't feel safe because I'm a woman and I feel that that's being taken away.”

Cutting her off, Kimmel asked, “Really? By who?” The video then resumed, “By our president.”

Whether Kimmel genuinely failed to understand the questioner’s concern or he simply didn’t care was hard to tell, but either way, he dismissed the concern, “Oh, whoa, Joe Biden's taking your vagina away? That’s, I mean, my god, the man can barely ride a bicycle.”

The irony was that some red states were seeking to prohibit the severing of minors’ body parts and people like Kimmel called them bigots for it, but here he was unwittingly acknowledging that being a woman (or a man) was biological and not a subjective feeling.

Or maybe he was mocking right-wingers who are claiming to protect women as an excuse to spew anti-transgender hate and who don't understand that letting one group of people have rights doesn't diminish the rights of others. The questioner is no less of a women because transgender people exist, and Christy is lying (or parroting right-wing narratives) by suggesting otherwise.

Christy concluded by trying to be profound: "Kimmel may dismiss the student’s concerns as a “non-issue,” but such concerns revolve around one of life’s most pressing questions: who am I and why does it matter?" Transgender people are also asking themselves those same questions, but it doesn't suit his hateful partisan narrative to acknowledge that.

Christy went after Kimmel again in a post the next day:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! conducted a series of man-on-the-street interviews for Thursday’s how where a reporter asked a series of men questions about women’s bodies that they naturally did not know the answers to. The point was not just to laugh at men who can’t identify cat toys or confuse the rectum for the ovaries, but to attack pro-lifers.

At the end of his monologue, Kimmel introduced the segment, “It's getting extra crazy between the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade and the judge who ruled against the abortion pills. There are a lot of people, mostly men telling mostly women what they can and can't do with their bodies which got us thinking about how little men know about the female anatomy.”

Kimmel added, “Speaking for myself, I don't know a whole lot of it. We did this once before. The results were not surprising but with all the new focus we decided to try it again. We went out on Hollywood Boulevard, we asked men walking by questions about women's bodies and then, well, here's what they had to say.”

What followed was a massive non-sequitur.


One man could not tell the difference between the uterus and the bladder or between the ovaries and the rectum. Another had no clue how tampons work, while another thought that a cat toy was something that was inserted into the vagina. The segment ended with the failed tampon explainer detonating a tiny firecracker under the impression is was an “ultra” tampon.

Of course, Christy was not at all amused by any of this. Rather than understand that the point was to note that men who generally know little about women's bodies are trying to regulate women's bodies, he whined about the whole man-on-the-street process and insisted it was all irrelevant anyway:

Man-on-the-street interview are always suspicious because there is no way of knowing who is truly clueless and who was willing to play a role in exchange for being on TV or how many people knew the correct answer, but who were naturally not shown. Either way, a man (or woman) not knowing how many eggs a woman is born with has nothing to do with abortion opinions. People know what an abortion is and that has nothing to do with the length of the vaginal canal.

Remember, this is a late-night comedy show that Christy is getting all upset over. He has decided that if Kimmel won't reinforce his partisan worldview, he can't possibly be funny.

Should a man with such an obviously deficient sense of humor -- and clearly believes his and his employer's political beliefs must be exempt from being made fun of -- really serve as an effective joke policeman? Are his techniques state-of-the-art training at joke police academy? The MRC clearly thinks so. Still, it seems like he needs to step away and spend some time taking classes at joke police academy if he wants to keep his certification.

Bashing late night (but not Gutfeld)

In addition to his comedy-cop duties, Christy is also complaining about the guests who appear on late-night shows. So when late-night hosts departed their shows, Christy was quick to churn out posts complaining their guests were somehow too liberal. When Trevor Noah left "The Daily Show," Christy had his complaints ready for a December 2022 post:

During his seven-year tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah brought a reliably liberal bias to the program, a NewsBusters study has found.

MRC analysts found that from when Noah began hosting The Daily Show on September 28, 2015 through his final show on December 8, 2022, Noah had on 159 partisan guests including 109 unique individuals. Of these 159 guests, 137, or 86.16 percent, were Democrats or in some way affiliated with the Democratic Party.

When James Corden's late-night show ended, Christy had a very similar complaint ready:

During his eight-year stint as host of CBS’s The Late Late Show, James Corden could be counted on to use the show to advance the electoral interests of the Democratic Party, a NewsBusters study has found.

MRC analysts found that from March 23, 2015, through April 27, 2023, Corden had on 26 partisan guests including 17 unique individuals, 100 percent of whom were Democrats or in some way affiliated with the Democratic Party. At CBS, Stephen Colbert is far more aggressive in booking Democrat politicians, but Corden has a "perfect record."

The most memorable of these softball sessions was Nancy Pelosi’s April 2020 appearance where Corden fell in love with her freezer full of expensive ice cream. It ended with him asking Pelosi about her opinions of individual Republicans, holding up their pictures. He ended with a picture of Darth Vader, and Pelosi quipped “Even the party has gone beyond Darth Vader.” Corden shot back: “Darth Vader? I thought it was Dick Cheney!”

The British transplant would also give solemn monologues trashing America for a lack of gun control, declaring the country to be "one of the most backward places in the world,” and on abortion, declaring Dobbs to be "the biggest rollback of human rights in modern U.S. history."

It's worth noting that the MRC dishonestly plays both sides of the fence here: It has a history of encouraging conservatives to not appear on shows deemed too "liberal," then attacking those very same shows for not having conservatives on.

But Christy is deliberately not covering all of late night. A November 2022 post complained about late-night guests being too liberal by omitting one show:

The late-night comedy scene has been reliably liberal for a long time, but the 2022 midterm election was a regular messaging machine for the Democrats, a NewsBusters study has revealed.

MRC analysts found that during the fall campaign, from Labor Day through the Monday night before Election Day, liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests 47 to 0. It was 100 percent liberal and/or Democrat.

The study looked at the daily six late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden, and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Fox's Gutfeld! was not included.

Christy did not explain why he refused to evaluate Gutfeld. He did, however, take time to explain why he listed Anthony Fauci as a partisan: "despite serving under both parties, [he] was listed as a Democrat due to him taking on a new role as President Biden’s chief medical advisor." Which is nonsensical because being a medical adviser is about as nonpartisan as it gets.

Christy repeated his selective exclusion for a Feb. 6 post:

The late-night comedy shows ended 2022 with a unanimously liberal guest count and that trend continued until the very last day of January, a NewsBusters study has revealed.

MRC analysts found that from Labor Day through January 31, liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests 93 to 1. It was 99 percent liberal and/or Democrat. The one exception was My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell who Jimmy Kimmel put on to mock.
This is follow up to MRC’s late night guest election campaign study.

The study looked at the daily six late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden, and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and 2023 guest hosts. Fox's Gutfeld! was not included.

Again, Christy refused to explain why the highest-rated late-night host was deliberately excluded from his analysis. But he did explain that "George Conway and Adam Kinzinger are identified as liberals for their active opposition to Republicans" -- never mind that they apparently remain Republicans though they harshly criticize Donald Trump and his apologists. Apparently, criticizing Trump in any way makes one a "liberal."

When the late-night shows shut down production due to the writers' strike, Christy had another guest count in a May 19 post under the headline "Good Riddance":

With the Writers Guild of America going on strike, it is likely that America has seen the last of the first half of 2023’s late night comedy shows. Whether America wants them to return is an open question as 95 percent of their 2023 guests have been liberal, a NewsBusters study has documented.

MRC analysts found that from January 3 through May 1 (the last night of shows before the strike ended production of new episodes), liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests by 77 to 4.

The study looked at the daily six late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden (up through its April 27 termination), and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. FNC's Gutfeld! was not included.
That's right -- Christy once again excluded Gutfeld's show from scrutiny, even though his job is presumably to evaluate all late-night snows. That's presumably because he doesn't want to be caught demonstrating the fact that Gutfeld is at least as biased to the right as he claims the other shows are to the left.

Christy also laughably whined that "Zero guests from Fox News appeared on any of the programs" -- though he identified no person associated with another network who ever appeared on Fox News. He also put "comedy" in scare quotes in the headline of his post because he has decided that these comedians are making fun of right-wingers like him, they cannot possibly be funny. That makes him a good right-wing activist, but a poor judge of comedy.

Thus, once again, narrative trumps facts at the MRC. Adding Gutfield to its late-night evaluation would skew the guest disparity numbers and make them much smaller, and the MRC needs that distorted number for clicks (just like the made-up "secondhand censorship" metric). Gutfeld is useful only for ratings fodder, not for "media research."

Whining resumes as strike ends

When the writer's strike ended and late-night hosts returned, it was time for Christy to put on his belt and make a sulky, humor-devoid return to his beat. He spent an Oct. 3 post whining that the hosts were making fun of Donald Trump again:

The men of late night returned from the writers’ strike on Monday and other than CBS’s Stephen Colbert no longer censoring Donald Trump’s name, not much changed as the hosts were eager to get back to their Trump jokes.

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel recalled how, “Trump is now facing 91 felony counts, 91 felony counts. It's like all of Melania's birthday wishes came true at once.”

On their Strike Force Five podcast, Kimmel lamented he could not mock Trump’s weight in real time, but on Monday, he got that chance, “Every time something happened in the news, I would get texts asking me if I was bummed we didn't have a show that night, and mostly, I was fine. But the one that really got me was when they booked Trump in Georgia, and he self-reported his weight at 215 pounds. I almost crossed the picket line for that.”


Over at The Late Show, Colbert also lamented he was not on the air during Trump’s legal troubles, “On June 8, June 8, I really, really missed having a show because that was the day Donald Trump was hit with a 37 count indictment for hoarding national secrets and we saw some unbelievable photos of where he stored them, next to a Mar-a-Lago guest toilet.”

As for Trump’s mugshot, “On August 24, Trump was arrested at the Fulton County jail and for the very first time we got a mugshot. Yes! That is one anger-glazed ham.”

Colbert also compared selling a T-shirt of Trump’s mugshot with a “Never Surrender” slogan to “the time Nancy Reagan sold ‘Just say no’ t-shirts with a picture of her doing a line of coke off Gorbachev's forehead.”


NBC Late Night host Seth Meyers began with a bit of a different approach. During a rapid fire summation of all that he missed, Meyers went heavy on recalling all of Trump’s misfortunates as well as various GOP-related news, “So just bear with me while I try to get through this. Donald Trump appeared in a Manhattan courthouse today for a fraud trial after a judge ruled that he and his family had lied about their business assets for years. House Republicans descended into chaos and finger pointing after nearly shutting down the government while simultaneously embarrassing themselves with a sham impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden that even their own witness admitted did not have any evidence.”

Hunter Biden should be a gold mine for comedians, but Meyers rolled right along, recalling Rep. Matt Gaetz’s fights with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, more Trump- legal drama, Sen. Ted Cruz’s reaction to Barbie, Rep. Ronny Jackson getting “detained at a rodeo,” Trump’s windmills and whales comment, and how Rep. Lauren Boebert “got to second base at a Beetlejuice musical,” among other things.

Meyers ended by asking “Did I miss anything?” Before anyone answer Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulling the fire alarm, Meyers continued, “Oh, right, Trump went to a gun store and held a Glock like he was a Price is Right model.”

Christy didn't explain why it's forbidden to make fun of Trump even when engages in so much mock-worthy behavior. Instead, he followed it with a post complaining that Kimmel talked further about Trump's fantasy weight:

For his first post-Writers’ Strike guest, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel welcomed Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss his favorite topic: Donald Trump’s weight. Schwarzenegger would also insist that he is still a Republican by offering up left-wing causes such as climate activism and “universal health care” as reasons why.

Kimmel really does love the topic of Trump’s weight. During the strike, he admitted it was the topic he most wanted to be on the air to joke about and he had already brought it up in his monologue, so he naturally brought it up with Schwarzenegger, “I want to ask you a quick question about Donald Trump, because, you know, you guys both hosted The Apprentice, you don't necessarily see eye to eye on most things. He listed his weight at 215 pounds. Now, you are one of the foremost experts on the male physique, bodybuilding, et cetera. When you size him up, what would you guess that that man weighs?”

Christy took further offense when Schwarzenegger pointed out that Richard Nixon supported universal health are: "By 'universal,' Schwarzegger means either tremendously expensive and unaffordable state-run health care or some Obamacare-like mandate where the state compels you purchase a given product which sounds more like something Bernie Sanders supports." Again, Christy failed to explain why Trump so blatantly lying about his weight is not deserving of mockery.

Tim Graham rehashed a lot of this whining in his Oct. 13 column:

Conservatives and Republicans should be at the top of the list of people who enjoyed the writers' strike over the summer. From May through September, the alleged comedians who are an important part of the Democrat messaging and morale machine were sidelined.

They missed the opportunity to wallow joyfully in Trump indictments and mock the first two presidential debates (and Trump skipping them). So when the strike ended, the usual parade of unfunny Republican-trashing began.


These comedians are trying to make up for lost time, trying to be the wind beneath the wings of the Democrats. They are certainly not attempting to please a general audience, like we're living in the last century. To most people, they're just unfunny hyper-partisans.

"Unfunny hyper-partisans"? Sounds like Graham is talking about himself and Christy. And Graham is never going to accuse Gutfeld of being an "unfunny hyper-partisan" who's "trying to be the wind beneath the wings" of the Republicans.

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