No, You Shut Up! Host Paul F. Tompkins Talks Donald Trump, Keith Olbermann

By Brian Flood 

Fusion’s No, You Shut Up! with Paul F. Tompkins returns with a pair of special episodes starting tonight at 10 p.m. ET before the fourth season kicks off in early 2016. The specials will focus on the 2016 campaign season. No, You Shut Up! has aired on Fusion since the network’s launch in 2013 and features a panel of puppet pundits. The show aligns with the network’s plan to focus on three areas: the 2016 election, investigative specials and series and topical comedy. Well, at least the election and comedy aspects.

We caught up with Tompkins to discuss how satire helps provoke important conversations, his upcoming episodes and even a potential cook-off between Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck.

TVNewser: You have a 25-episode run starting on February 4 and the season is devoted to the 2016 election cycle. Honestly, how pissed will you be if Donald Trump drops out before your season premiere?


Tompkins: Speaking as a satirist, it would be a terrible blow. Just terrible. As an American voter, it would be such a great relief to go back to not thinking about Trump, ever, at all, all day long.

TVNewser: How do comedy and satire help provoke conversations about important issues and why is this important, in your opinion?

Tompkins: Jokes are fun! That’s where it starts. If written with enough care and thoughtfulness, a joke can make you laugh at a belief you hold dear. And that’s a great in– if you’re laughing because a good point has been made, soon you’re thinking about that point, and you’re examining your beliefs– why did that joke resonate? Why do you believe what you do? Does it all check out? Maybe you need to explore other ideas and see how you feel about them, if they make sense to you. It’s important for us all to elect people not just on blind party loyalty. We’ve got to really examine what candidates say and do.

TVNewser: No, You Shut Up! is produced by The Jim Henson Company. Can we look forward to appearances by cast members of Fraggle Rock?

Tompkins: What? No! THINK OF THE CHILDREN. I don’t think it’d be a great idea to invite the Fraggles on only to have Star the Conservative Squirrel condemn them all to hell.


TVNewser: Last season featured some great special guests, including Jack BlackBob Odenkirk, Key and Peele and Veep’s Matt Walsh. Anyone lined up for the upcoming episodes?

Tompkins: No. No one. We’re kind of worried about it, frankly. Do you know any famous people? If you’re not comfortable sharing phone numbers, would you at least forward an email for us? However, on our two special reports airing November 5 and 12, we managed to snag Kristen Schaal, Hannibal Buress, Patton Oswalt and ABC News’ Dan Abrams. But please don’t tell anyone about this or that these specials air at 10 p.m. on Fusion, and don’t remind them that the dates are Thursday, November 5 and Thursday, November 12.

TVNewser: You’ve worked with Keith Olbermann on both Countdown and BoJack Horseman. What do you think Olbermann’s next full-time gig will be? And are you rooting for him to return to TV in time for the election cycle?

Tompkins: I’d love to see Keith back on TV… perhaps as a special contributor to No, You Shut Up!  Should that not come to pass, if Keith Olbermann doesn’t do a competitive cooking show with Glenn Beck where every week they go head-to-head to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, he’s nuts.