Alarmed, self-satisfied, and wielding the confabulating vocabulary of the ever-growing alt-right pseudo-news complex, The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper came burning out of its Midtown Manhattan bunker with a week one ratings victory.
Viewers eager to, as Klepper promised, “only hear from others what you’ve already been telling yourself,” drove ratings up 43 percent among total viewers compared to the same timeslot a year ago. The show, which follows The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central, averaged 683,000 total viewers in its first full week.
Since that strong debut, Klepper’s conspiracy-laced satire has continued honing its deft assault on the insipid fever dreams masquerading as news on Infowars.com, Breitbart News Network, and similar outlets. And like Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s long-running The Colbert Report before him, Klepper is spot-on lampooning his subjects by adopting their personas.
In the aftermath of last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, with Alex Jones busy papering together a schizophrenic collage assigning responsibility for the carnage to a vast deep state conspiracy, an alarmed Klepper reminds us that, “… the mainstream media is wasting our time conducting interviews, verifying sources, and trying to assemble an ‘accurate picture of the suspect’s background.’ Meanwhile, brave online truth-tellers like Infowars and Gateway Pundit are getting to these answers first. They get to their answers so fast, sometimes it feels like they didn’t even have time to think about them.”
Flanked by a coterie of absurd citizen journalists, Klepper is pulling off his fake fake news show with a consistency that has impressed critics.
“In-character satire is without question the hardest satire to perfect,” writes Sophia A. McClennen in Salon. “You have to be an exaggerated version of the thing you are mocking, without inadvertently making the object of your ridicule look good or you look stupid. It’s an extremely delicate balance. And Colbert’s character was arguably the best example of a long-running satirical parody in U.S. history. It’s a tough act to follow. But after just one week, Klepper shows signs that he may well be up to the task.”
The show feels fresh, though, a Trump-era bulwark against a media landscape far more detached from objectivity than even the Bill O’Reilly-era spin zones that were Colbert’s reliable foils.
“Some diehard Colbert fans may have been hoping that this series would have the same feel as The Colbert Report did,” writes Josh Trebuchon in Technique.net, “but the differences in the two shows are adjustments that needed to be made for Comedy Central to keep up with the times.”
The Opposition debuted at the end of a torrid month for Comedy Central, its highest-rated of the year. With a seven percent jump in ratings among adults 18-49 and a nine percent leap in the 18-34 age bracket, September anchored the net’s first quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2014.