Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is "a smart, capable elected official" who is sure to excite and galvanize Republican primary voters as he competes for his party's presidential nomination. But, he should keep his jokes "short, tight and to the point."
This advice comes from Michael Loftus, a long-time stand-up comedian, who is out to prove conservatives can be just as funny and engaging on television as their liberal counterparts.
That’s one reason why he decided to launch a weekly, half-hour broadcast last September called “The Flipside,” which offers up political and cultural commentary that appeals to a conservative audience. Loftus has previously worked in television on FX’s "Anger Management", which stars Charlie Sheen and ABC’s "The George Lopez Show." He has also appeared on Comedy Central and on TruTV’s "The Smoking Gun Presents."
"Cruz likes to tell these Reagan jokes and does these Reagan impersonations," Loftus observed. "But they only work in certain venues. One night he was on with [Sean] Hannity and it just took so long for him to tell the joke that it became lost. Just get in, and then get out."
Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential race, Loftus sees a target rich environment for his program.
On Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s responses to media inquires about her missing emails are just not plausible, Loftus maintains. In a 20-minute press conference held in front of the United Nations on March 10, Clinton made every effort to explain away the growing scandal concerning a private email account she used for her official business while serving as secretary of state. Clinton says she has turned over 55,000 pages of correspondence to the State Department for review, which accounts for 30,000 of the 60,000 emails she supposedly had in her account. So what about the other half?
“I’m not a Harvard guy, I’m not a think tank guy, I’m just regular guy and I know she’s hiding something,” Loftus says. “You just can’t trust her. No one deletes all their emails and wipes their server clean unless they have something to hide.”
But Loftus is not going to let the Republicans candidates off the hook. Wherever he sees missteps by any of the presidential contenders, those missteps are going to be featured on the program.
In the early stages of 2016, he already sees ample opportunities with some the leading GOP contenders such as Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. While Loftus admires Walker’s fight against public employee unions, he’s disappointed to see him “flip-flop” on the merits of a federal ethanol mandate in Iowa.
“He’s been mister changing his answers on Twitter and he’s got to stop flip-flopping,” Loftus says. “Just take a horse and ride it!”
“National politics are a lot different than Wisconsin and Walker seems like a glassy eyed boxer who just got tagged in the first round. He went back to his corner, and said `wow these guys are hitting hard.’ You bet they are,” he added.
"The Flipside" is taped in a Dallas, Texas studio before a live audience. Loftus expects to get started on Season 2 over the summer. Steve Forbes, the publishing executive and former presidential candidate, is on deck as a potential guest.
Comedy shows reach a large percentage of 18 to 49 year olds, it’s high time conservatives began to work their way into the popular culture, says Matt Sheffield, a long-time right-leaning blogger, who is a producer for "The Flipside."
“As someone who has been analyzing and critiquing the media for many years, I came to the realization that a huge part of the reason that liberal media bias exists is that conservatives mostly just want to complain rather than create,” he says.”
“Conservatives may not like the way they do things, but there’s no question that the big liberal hosts like Jon Stewart or those other guys are willing to put themselves out there,” Sheffield continued. “And to their credit, liberal donors have been much more far-sighted about the power and influence of mainstream media. Glenn Beck deserves a huge amount of credit for being one of the very few people on the right to realize this important point.”
Is there anyone out there on the horizon who can navigate their way through the news media and capture public support in 2016? Lofuts sees potential for John Kasich the Republican governor of Ohio.
"He seems genuine and he's not reading off a script," Loftus says. "Kasich has been for a balanced budget since he was in the third grade. I have my eye on him. Hillary is not funny and Rand Paul doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell. But Kasich does."
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