In an era where journalists are public enemy number one, audiences—at least the more intelligent ones—look to their newscasters to stand their ground. In fact, if the popularity of such late-night news programs such as The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is any indication, it could be argued that simply standing ground is not enough. Now, more than ever, audiences look to their newscasters to fight back—with sharp wit and cutting humor—against accusations of being “fake” and “among the most dishonest people on earth.” This January, TV Land enters the late-night news game with Throwing Shade, which stars Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, a comedic duo acclaimed for their frank and often ridiculous insights on current events.
While they may be new to television, Gibson and Safi are no strangers to cultural comedy: their act began as a podcast that, in 2013, was picked up by Funny or Die. Their new series embraces its comedic roots with skits featuring celebrity guests like Will Ferrell and Casey Wilson that drive home its commentary. According to the hosts, the move to TV Land has brought welcome changes (like a live audience), but there have been some setbacks. “We can’t wear sweatpants anymore,” Gibson says. “So we’re really bummed out about that.”
On a serious note, Gibson and Safi say their program attempts to corner untapped elements of the late-night genre. “People talk a lot about women’s issues, and LGBT issues, and we’re two people that those issues effect,” says Safi. “We’re not really brilliant like Samantha Bee and John Oliver are, we are kind of weird and super silly. Most of our references are more pop culture than supreme court cases, so we think it’s an additional voice that adds another dimension to a landscape.”
With a tagline that promises to treat pop culture and politics “with much less respect than they deserve,” the two hosts say they prefer a more uproarious approach to the realm of political discourse. “When you get into wonky land of talking about politics, it becomes very heavy and very depressing.” Gibson says. “So our goal has always been, ‘How can we talk about this stuff where it feels like we have control?’ Because we are making fun of the oppressors instead of feeling like we’re under them. So that is where the pop culture thing comes in. That’s the disrespectful part.”
The hosts admit that finding humor while remaining politically correct has never really been a challenge. “I think political correctness is really just thinking before you speak,” Safi says, “that’s all it is.” Gibson adds: “I think people have turned it into a bad thing and I don’t necessarily think it is. The best way for me to gauge whether I’m attacking the right people or not is: Am I punching up or punching down? I never make fun of anybody who is already being oppressed, it’s always making fun of the oppressor.”
For those fans whose Throwing Shade fix isn’t satisfied with just 30 minutes every Tuesday night on TV Land, its Los Angeles-based stars share favorite haunts in their current city, below, where you might just catch them when they’re not, well, throwing shade.
Cup of Joe: Food Lab. —Erin
Power Lunch: I’m all about quick lunch meetings, so Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese is the most efficient. There is nothing better than a limited menu, and this one only has 7 sandwiches to choose from. My fave. —Bryan
Cocktail Hour: [Order] the Fleurs du Mal at Petit Triois. Be sure to go before 5:00—the place is tiny. —Bryan
Retail Therapy: Los Feliz’s Skylight Books. —Bryan
Field Trip: Take a Broadway Theatre District walking tour. People forget how stunning the architecture in L.A. was before we ruined it. —Bryan
Don’t Miss: The Bradbury Building. — Bryan & Erin
Hidden Gem: Amoeba Music. —Erin
Main Image: Courtesy of TV Land