Leaving the home of Saturday Night Live, MSNBC’s Dan Abrams hosted a lively panel of comedy writers at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater last night. “Pencils Down: America’s Funniest Writers Talk Politics,” which was a 23/6 event, took place in front of a standing-room only audience.
Abrams, sporting a five o’clock shadow, joked with the comedians, “Don’t feel actually obligated to answer my questions.”
He brought up the big role comedy is playing in the election coverage this year — with Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and more. “The mainstream media are the dorks who want to be associated with the cool kids,” said Abrams, as the panel agreed.
Giving some insight into The Daily Show, writer Kevin Bleyer told the crowd that the show has what equates to an ombudsman and, while focusing on accuracy, the writers want the jokes to be, “justified, not just accurate.”
With the new DL Hughley CNN show starting on Saturday, Red Eye on Fox News and Headline News’ Not Just Another Cable News Show, comedy/news hybrids are popping up. But, as Abrams noted, one that left was FNC’s Half Hour News Hour, which, “was just awful.”
Around 9pmET, as the Q&A was under way, panelist Baratunde Thurston of The Onion joked, “So, what’s the Verdict, Dan?”
“Well, you know, I’m so glad you brought that up,” said Abrams.
“The election has never before been seen through the prism of comedians,” Abrams told us after the panel. “There’s a deep sense the news media is sort of saying, ‘My big brother can play great baseball.”