"Red Eye" viewer Beth Navarra wrote to me yesterday, saying, "God, did I ever hate your show when it first came out! But it's like smoking - it makes you sick at first, but then you are hooked. You are my cigarette."
Thanks, Beth. And can I say, you are my cigarette too.
In fact, all "Red Eye" viewers are my cigarettes, for they offer me a measure of pleasure in a sometimes difficult world and they give me cancer.
But, I'm especially touched because Beth wrote to me now, on our two year anniversary! True: It's been two years since "Red Eye" aired its first crappy episode. And, it was crappy.
See, when "Red Eye" started, Beth was right to hate it because, despite its hidden charms, it was a horror show. Andy, Bill and myself had no idea what we were doing. I came from publishing and I'd hired Bill simply because he had photos of me. Worse, I found Andy through comments he left on my blogs. I mean, you have to admit, that's kind of stupid.
Even though we were incompetent and scared, we showed up every day and did the job. We listened and learned, screwed up and succeeded. But thanks to people like Beth, who gave the show a second chance, "Red Eye" was able to grow like a deadly toe fungus, offering you the kind of unbridled truth, disguised as silly pleasure, that you find only in prison.
But, as simple as that concept sounds, "Red Eye" is tough to describe. It's intentionally stupid, but secretly smart — a strategy designed to confuse bitter liberals, media hacks and angry activists. We gauge our success on turning groups into sputtering messes, whether it be GLAAD, Media Matters, or other armpit-sniffing blogs.
I call this strategy, "The Dean Wormer Effect," named after the hapless dude from "Animal House." For so long, in movies and TV, non-libs were always portrayed as stiff, joyless types - like Dean Wormer. The stereotype went unquestioned, but it was totally dishonest.
My goal at "Red Eye" was to reverse it and turn the so-called "edgy lefties" into Dean Wormers. Because that's really what they are: P.C. crybabies determined to stamp out all the fun in the world. In short: jackasses.
And it worked.
As we close in on our 500th show, we now have more viewers than ever and an awesome arsenal of great guests. The show continues to expand and, thanks to the folks at FOX News, it's our hope that we continue to grow — if anything, just to keep Bill off the streets and me off the meth.
But just remember, like Beth says, becoming a "Red Eye" fan takes three stages:
Note: There is a fourth stage, which involves fans sending me nude pictures, but Ill go into that aspect at a later date.
And if you disagree with it, then you sir are worse than Hitler.