As a kid growing up with parents who were former Catholic clergy, John Fugelsang had frequent discussions about political issues with his family, since he “sucked at sports.”
He told NMR:
“I also find politics to be a most ridiculous breeding ground for ignorance and cruelty, which are fun to mock. Jesus likes it just a little bit when you hate a hater.”
He’s making Jesus proud by hating on those haters on his new YouTube web series “Caffeinated with John Fugelsang” on the PoliPop channel, where he humorously takes on the vitriolic political topics of the moment and joyfully skewers his political targets. Previously, Fugelsang hosted programs on various channels ranging from VH1 to The Young Turks.
What helps “Caffeinated” go beyond traditional political programs is YouTube’s lack of censorship, which lets Fugelsang create controversial commentaries that traditional media outlets might otherwise ignore.
Matt Cross, an executive producer at Maker Studios, told NMR that YouTube is attracting larger numbers of traditional media consumers desiring such commentaries. Polipop helps fill that market by injecting humor into the political discussion.
“The buttoned-up talking head style of commentary is slowly dying off. John’s thoughtful humor makes the tough issues easy to consume.”
Fugelsang commutes from New York City to Maker Studios’ offices in Los Angeles to tape several episodes at a time and relies on evergreen ideas that won’t seem dated weeks after production.
The first episode of “Caffeinated” skewers presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s avoidance of military service during the Vietnam War even while he’s voiced support for it at the same time. Fugelsang contrasts Romney’s “chickenhawk” stance with legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who not only refused to fight the war but also opposed it.
On the “ROMNEY VS. MUHAMMAD ALI!” episode, he states in reference to Fox News’ claim of being “Fair and Balanced”: “If there’s one thing the modern U.S. news media has taught me lately it’s that you’ve always got to present both points of view on any story…and balance — it’s not about common sense — it’s about treating both points of view with equal merit.”
Other topics that Fugelsang has talked about include the Chick-Fil-A controversy, the cultural influence of the Kardashians, and Afghanistan.
As for future episodes of “Caffeinated,” expect Fugelsang to skewer Mitt Romney even more, so be prepared for him to talk about, among other things, proxy baptisms in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the religion that Romney is part of.
“I was so inspired by the Mormon Church’s proxy baptisms of dead non-Mormons who never wanted to ever be Mormons, so we’re going to proxy baptize Mitt Romney’s late great-grandfather into a Satanic Cult and then posthumously gay-marry him to Karl Marx with an all-star cast,” Fugelsang said. “It’s actually a cult of Latter-Day Satanists, so we got to use the same stationary and everything.”
In all seriousness, Fugelsang feels that the political discussion on YouTube allows people from all political points of view to express their feelings on hot-button issues of the day without the influence of corporate media.
“Independent media is an important counterbalance to corporate media, even if the comments sections occasionally make you want to put your head in the oven.”
Check out new episodes of “Caffeinated” every Tuesday on PoliPop.