The ad said it was a part-time job. It said it was freelance position. So, maybe I could be a stringer, writing up topical jokes and sending them in. I’ve done that plenty of times. And I did write for a news parody show, “Newsbusted” on the conservative website, Newsbusters, for years. And (as I reasoned back then) if I’m a good enough comedy writer, I should be able to write jokes about anything, right? Also, I was considering the steakhouse encounter as kind of a sign to do it. I sent in the application, figuring (as I always do), I’ll never hear from them again, anyway. I mean, really, they just had to look at my Twitter feed or blog to dismiss me out of hand.
The next day I got an email asking to set up an appointment for a phone interview about the position. “Oh,” thought I, "I had better look into this 'Gutfeld!' show." I pulled up a couple of videos on YouTube. The conclusion? Yikes!
The day of the phone call, the interviewer, who seemed a lovely woman, described the job vaguely and said that as a writer, I could even be a panel guest on the show (which both was exciting but also explained the level of panel guests I had watched. Also, they let part-time freelance writers on air???). She asked if I had seen the show. I responded honestly, saying had watched some episodes online after I applied. She asked why I applied. I gave her the standard “I’m a comedy writer who’s always looking for a new outlet, hopefully with pay” (I had it in the back of my mind to tell the steakhouse story, but I forgot). Then she flat-out asked “Do you think you could write that?” I mentioned Newsbusted. Then I started asking questions of mine own. It wasn’t planned, but it was now going to be necessary.
I admitted that my previous experience was with a Weekend Update style, that was set-up/punchline, set-up/punchline. And I noted that his opening was more of an…essay (I sensed I shouldn’t say “Closer Look”). I asked, as a part time freelancer, how would the construction of such an essay work? That’s when I started to discover the job description wasn’t really upfront. The part-time freelancer was expected to be in the room from 10am to 6pm, five days a week. I told her I had a day job that I wasn’t in a position to leave. Then I straight out asked, “Is this a Writer’s Guild job?” It wasn’t. I said that would be an issue as well. She up and said, “So, two strikes.” Her words, not mine. It was basically impossible for me to consider the position, cut in pay, lost of medical benefits, etc. That wrapped up the planned 30 minute call at minute 7. I thanked her for her time and apologized for wasting said time. She dismissed that statement and told me to keep an eye out, in case they offer a staff position, which they do post.
Now that it's over...The show is awful. Where other shows joke about the news of the day that people have heard on multiple outlets, Gutfeld is simply a continuation of the FOX News coverage of the world, where everyone else is wrong. The show is a mean-spirited McLaughlin Group. There is no back & forth, there’s only back. Gutfeld is a bully. Every introduction is an insult to each panel guest. Every panel guest is a FOX employee (and I now know that includes the people I never heard of who were introduced as “writers.” Not “staff writers,” just “writers”). Every liberal is a jerk. They have an audience, but you didn’t hear them laugh during the monologue. But when Gutfeld said something like “own the libtards” they cheered, so you know they can hear the host.
There’s no way I would lasted there, steakhouse omen or not.