Comedy Central's new political talk show, The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper, is taking a unique approach to satirizing the news. Specifically, it is changing the definition of "news" by focusing on a new type of media that has become disturbingly prominent during the 2016 election. As Jordan Klepper revealed to The Hollywood Reporter, The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper is parodying Alex Jones, Infowars, and the spectrum of alt-right fringe media that has grown more popular alongside Donald Trump's presidential campaign, election, and administration. The Opposition is shining a light on a type of media that many people would rather ignore, but may topple it by pointing out just how ridiculous it is.
Jones' YouTube channel has 2.1 million subscribers and over one billion views. He's also the owner of Infowars, an alt-right website that, according to online traffic analyzer Alexa.com, had over 4.7 million visitors in August 2017 alone. In 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump appeared on Jones' show to tell Jones that his "reputation is amazing," and to promise, "I will not let you down."
Since then, a few of Jones' favorite conspiracies became elevated by Trump's platform. Mother Jones claims Infowars is responsible for the creation of the "Hillary for Prison" campaign; Trump himself suggested during debates with Clinton that she should be in jail. Mother Jones also reported that the narrative that Clinton was hiding medical problems from voters was eventually shared by Trump after being introduced by Infowars, then making its way to Fox News and other media sources, in various forms. On an August 2016 episode of The Alex Jones Show, Jones said, "It is surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later."
To many, Jones represents the paranoid mindset of those who believe in a government that's out to destroy them. Jones' distaste for the government comes across in his many conspiracy theories which, as reported by Newsweek, include the claims that the government fabricated 9/11 as well as the Sandy Hook Massacre, and that Barack Obama is the head of Al-Qaeda. Despite his fringe beliefs and un-sourced reporting, he's been interviewed on national television by Megyn Kelly on NBC. And Jones claims that he even has the ear of the United States President.
Jones seems to have a lot of power for someone who hosts a conspiracy theory talk-show on the internet, but thankfully it seems that Jordan Klepper and the makers of The Opposition are making a full-time job out of pointing out how absurd messages like these are. In fact, before the show even started, Jones dedicated time during his own show to attack The Opposition. He introduced the clip on his show, saying "Here is the Comedy Central clip of the man that's stolen my identity," referring to Klepper's character on The Opposition. Klepper responded to Jones' rant when he appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "[Alex Jones] wants me to bring it on," he said, "And you know what? I'm happy."
But with The Opposition, Klepper isn't just pulling from Infowars. In the same THR piece, Klepper explained, "My character is going to borrow some world views and elements from Alex Jones but it’s not going to be an impersonation of Alex Jones." The comedian told the publication that the character he plays on The Opposition will "be like Alex Jones meets Garrison Keillor," referring to the soft-spoken, folksy host of the long-running Prairie Home Companion radio show.
Despite the clear influence of Jones, Klepper has insisted that The Opposition will tackle many different sources of alt-right media. He told THR, "The world that we are playing within is influenced by the world of Infowars and the points of view of [online publication] Breitbart and [online television station] The Blaze. But this is not a one-to-one satirization of any one of those things."
The Opposition host is not the first comedian to mock Alex Jones and his rhetoric. John Oliver has done a segment tearing apart his business structure; Stephen Colbert has a recurring segment called "Brainfight With Tuck Buckford that shares some qualities with Jones' YouTube channel, and the folks at Super Deluxe released a viral video of Jones' rants set to folk music. However, no comedian has yet to build an entire show in response to Jones and the other purveyors of alt-right thought.
The Opposition may not be a direct parody of Infowars and its host, but Klepper's new show might not exist without the loud, controversial punditry of Alex Jones... and the viewers who take his words at face value.