Infowars Knockoff Gets Cancelled

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Comedian Jordan Klepper hosts the premiere of Comedy Central's "The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper" on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Comedy Central has announced their plans to move Klepper to a weekly program in the field, tentatively titled Klepper, in what seems to be a Billy on the Street for politics.

By Sean David Hartman

If you were like me, a high school political nerd during the Bush-Cheney Years, you probably grew up on the two kings political late-night, Jon Stewart and Dr. Stephen Tiberius Colbert, DFA.

Stewart and Colbert were both titans of political humor, even outshining the founder and grandfather of modern political satire, Bill Maher. Stewart hosted The Daily Show for almost two decades before his recent and heartbreaking retirement to a farm upstate, and during his tenure he turned the show from a Weekend Update rip-off—Stewart’s predecessor previously hosted Weekend Update—into a smart political satire that delved into serious issues and interviewed both nationally and internationally recognized governmental and civic leaders, including foreign heads of state and Presidents.

The Colbert Report was a popular spinoff of that show, with Colbert being an equal king of late night to his mentor. And much like the Sith’s Rule of Two (a reference the real Colbert would enjoy), the Apprentice would become the Master.

With Colbert’s exit to Late Show status, Comedy Central has been struggling to place a permanent program on his coveted 11:30 PM timeslot. The original idea, hatched by Stewart himself whilst still The Daily Show host and standard-bearer, was to give the show’s Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore his own program focusing on minority issues.

The show, called The Nightly Show¸ failed miserably in the numbers game. The show obviously had big shoes to fill, and Wilmore certainly tried, but he traded humor for serious conversations about race relations and political injustices, and though these are serious discussions that must be had, it was not a good fit for a channel focused primarily on comedy and humor.

Wising up, Comedy Central placed in what I felt was the proper successor to Stephen Colbert—Jordan Klepper.

The whole premise of The Colbert Report was to poke fun at conservative political commentators like “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly, but with O’Reilly’s fall from grace and the ideological shift within the GOP from a more neoconservative to a more paleoconservative worldview, the conservative satire had to fit in with modern times.

Klepper was able to play that role beautifully, mimicking lying conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones instead of conservatives like Bill O’Reilly, a mirror of today’s more prominent GOP influencers.

The Opposition was the perfect successor to the Colbert legacy, which is why I was so shocked and saddened when I learned, from Klepper himself on his show, that The Opposition was canceled after one season.

Now certainly some of those far-right conservative snowflakes who don’t like humor or facts that offends them probably celebrated his cancelation. Their celebrations would be misguided though, as it is not ratings that caused Klepper to fall, but purpose.

The original idea behind The Opposition, according to Comedy Central, was to focus on alt-right influencers leaders such as Jones or Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (R-VA). However, like most political programs these days, the had to turn their attention to President Trump, because covering President Trump brings ratings and money, and these big media corporations like Viacom are big fans of those things

But Klepper seems to be more about the big issues, much like his predecessor Wilmore. And even more so, Klepper thrives in the field. While a correspondent with The Daily Show, he was known for covering issues pertaining to President Trump and right-wing politics, doing so in a faux-conservative demeanor much like Colbert. But he also had hard-hitting stories and specials, most notably Jordan Klepper Solves Guns, a one-hour special on Comedy Central in which Klepper discussed the gun control debate to try to find a bipartisan solution.

Comedy Central has announced their plans to move Klepper to a weekly program in the field, tentatively titled Klepper, in what seems to be a Billy on the Street for politics.

The Opposition officially ends on June 28th, and it could be anyone’s game as to who will take Colbert’s famous timeslot. Some speculate that Australian comedian Jim Jefferies may have his show promoted, at least temporarily, to a nightly program. Jefferies had a cult following prior to The Jim Jefferies Show, and though his inebriated and brash humor is nowhere near Colbert’s style (or at least his old style), he certainly is best suited to be moved the quickest.

It would not be uncalled for to put a temporary program there to fill the gap while a new replacement is developed. After Colbert, @midnight with Chris Hardwick was moved to the timeslot until being replaced by Wilmore. Jefferies is the obvious contender for both the temporary and permanent slot, though reruns of other programs like South Park or The Office is also a possibility.

Regardless of who takes The Opposition’s timeslot, Klepper is not out. His new program will fit him well and he will soon be out there once again annoying the far-right with facts.


Sean David Hartman is a freelance reporter for the Central Florida Post, with a wide portfolio ranging from entertainment to politics. He is a political centrist and occasional stand-up comedian. Hartman is #ProudlyAutistic and a strong neurodiversity activist.