- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Those weary of annoying liberal chatter and America bashing in the comedy realm have a new alternative. That would be “The Flipside”, a weekly half-hour broadcast dicing through politics and culture, but produced by a group of stalwart creatives who have some serious conservative underpinnings, with a few dashes of libertarianism.

Only six episodes into its fall run, and the new show has been picked up by three major cable broadcasters and 200 independent stations.

“The reaction has been very positive. A lot of people have been waiting for a show that doesn’t slam America at every turn, or push a socialist agenda,” executive producer Kfir Alfia said in an interview. “Even if we were completely neutral, the audience would see it as a breath of fresh air. They’ve been waiting for a show like this.”

He speaks from personal experience.

“I was looking around at the cultural landscape, so dominated by left-leaning ideology in movies, TV, news. That was a compelling reason to start thinking ‘what can I do?’ ” Mr. Alfia observed.

Indeed, the success of Roger Ailes, the man who developed the concept for Fox News, is not lost on the team, which methodically explored independent ways to market and distribute their broadcast with some healthy success.

“I believe it was Charles Krauthammer who said the genius of Roger Ailes is that he discovered the other half of the American people and made them his audience. That’s what we hope to do,” said producer Matt Sheffield, a longtime conservative blogger and a editor for the Media Research Center.

The on-camera muscle for the promising venture is Michael Loftus, a writer and veteran stand-up comedian who has been on, yes, the Comedy Channel, TruTV and the History Channel, among other broadcast venues. He also serves as producer and writer for “Anger Management” - a daring and noisy video project from actor Charlie Sheen.

“This might sound naive, but I just want to do a funny show on politics. I don’t have any grand purpose. I don’t want to be president. I don’t want to be high emperor,” he says.

But there’s a little touch of Ronald Reagan in here.

“I really want an optimistic outlook included in what we do. I want something upbeat. Audiences can go anywhere if they want to end up pissed off and angry,” Mr. Loftus continues. “And I don’t think that Democrats and independents or anyone else owns the right to be optimistic. A conservative comes along with some optimism, and people flip out. They really do.”

The show itself is taped in a Dallas studio before a live audience on a snappy, retro-style set with much natural wood, hubcaps on the walls and an amicable live audience. Mr. Loftus does a deft monologue, decent celebrity imitations and does not drop f-bombs. He does manage to tweak the Republican Party, the Obama administration and bureaucracy.

“The Republicans were going to fix everything,” he told a recent audience, recalling the George W. Bush administration. “But they didn’t. What did they do? They spent more money than in any other time in history. The government didn’t shrink, instead, it got bigger. And then Obama came along, and he said

‘You guys like to spend money?’ That’s cute. But let me show you how it’s done’.”

The show is currently carried by the Dish Network, AT&T U-Verse and Time Warner cable systems, along with independent stations in 30 states, airing primarily in weekend time slots. Both producers and talent are cautiously hopeful that “Flipside” content will resonate with a viewers looking for an alternative to the blame-America school of comedy.

“It will take time. But so far in our first season, things are looking great. Plus we’ve got a comedian commenting on news and politics,” said Mr. Alfia.

The comedian himself, meanwhile, admits that he does have a dream guest in mind for the show.

“Oh, it would definitely be President Obama. But I’m weird about that. It would have to be after he left the White House, after he was president,” Mr. Loftus said, displaying a distinct but of Reagan-esque civility.

“I still respect the office of president. So we’ll wait until he’d done with it all,” the host added.

Find information on it all here: Theflipsideshow.com



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