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Last weekend, I recorded the first episode of Mike Huckabee's new Fox News show “Huckabee” on my Tivo. It was a good thing, too, because I soon learned it's an experience that — like drinking turpentine — is probably only safe when taken in small, very controlled doses.
Huckabee's show is shot before a live audience, and the production values are admittedly good. Too bad about the host, though. Huckabee is personable and seems quick on his feet, but under the stage lights, his jowly, deflated face looks something like a cross between a basset hound and a used condom. Sorry for that mental image, folks, but it had to be said.
To start the show, Huckabee — who got plenty of press during his presidential bid for his “folksy” (read: cornball and sad) humor — got up and did a monologue of sorts; two or three bad jokes and then a muddy fishtail into a short sermon on why the collapse of Wall Street was because economists and hedge fund managers don't read their Bibles or didn't pray enough in school or something like that. While Huckabee was talking, I couldn't help but notice a keyboard in the background. That meant — I realized with gathering horror — that we were more than likely going to be afforded some of Huckabee's wooden, sub-garage-band bass playing — Huckabee strumming his axe while ping-ponging between a Gomer Pyle grin and the white-man lip bite to keep from silently mouthing the names of the three chords he knows.
When his monologue was over, Huckabee took some questions from the audience, then sauntered over to a set of chairs and called out his first guest, Elizabeth Hasselbeck. If you aren't familiar with her, Hasselbeck is the co-host of ABC's “The View” and a Republican wet dream: glassy-eyed Bush-zombie politics, coupled with second-wife good looks and mild retardation. All that, and without the stench of vomit, cheap gin and brimstone that hovers constantly around Ann Coulter? I think I'm in love.
Hasselbeck serves as the resident Republican attack dog on “The View,” and had a testy exchange with Barack Obama when he appeared there. What with that, Huckabee used the clip of that exchange as a handy segue into showing — wait for it, because you know it's coming — the clip of Obama's pastor Rev. Wright giving his “God Damn America” tirade (thankfully, Huckabee had the Fox tech trolls bleep out the word “God” before “God damn,” lest we all be turned into pillars of salt). That's some sweet subtlety you've got there, Mike. Now see if you can get her to buy some vinyl siding.
After Hasselbeck was led from the stage by her helper monkey, Huckabee next had on some talking heads to chat about why the economy going down the dirtpipe has nothing whatsoever to do with either the presidency of George Bush or his B.F.F. and Senate voting buddy John McCain. Next short commercial break and then — terror of terrors — the sight of Huckabee with his guitar strap over his shoulder. After introducing his new band made up of Fox News staffers — at least it wasn't his old band “Capitol Offense” — guess Fox thought Huck's weird, yuk-yuk pun on the hilarious subject of first degree murder wouldn't play well in the heartland — Huckabee launched into a skull splitting cover of Nine Inch Nails' “Closer,” bellowing “I want to (copulate with) you like an animal!” before tearing away his pants to reveal only a PVC loincloth that barely covered his junk. Just kidding. It was a fair to middlin' version of Brooks and Dunn's “Only in America,” with the other guitar players in the band mercifully strumming loudly enough that Huck might have been playing the bassoon for all you could hear of him. Yes, only in America, indeed. My thoughts exactly. Europe, for one, is thankful for that.
The good news in all this is that Huckabee's show is apparently only a pilot for now. Even better, as of this writing, the toll free number that flashed on the screen for those wanting tickets to “Huckabee” — 1-877-HUCKTIX — rang and rang with no answer. Maybe there is a God.
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