Andy Borowitz brings the funny to staid PBS

Entertainment
Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz speaks in PBS’s “Retro Report” panel at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Andy Borowitz is bringing the funny to staid PBS.

The creator of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is a contributor to the new one-hour series “Retro Report,” which takes today’s headlines and finds their unknown and sometimes surprising connections to the past through video and news accounts.

“People hate the news and love history,” Borowitz told a TV critics meeting on Tuesday. “I think history is the antidote to the news.”

Hosted by journalist Celeste Headlee and artist Masud Olufani, each episode will explore four distinct stories along with Borowitz’s humorous take.

“We’re taking the bold step of introducing four minutes of comedy to PBS,” he said. “If it succeeds, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do five minutes. This is what they call revolution.”

The satirist, comedian and sometime actor said his goal is to explain the news through comedy and humorous clips. To help, the show has hired two women from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

“Retro Report” looks at the story behind the story to find new insights on events that are still relevant today.

Among the topics explored are how former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bended knee during the national anthem was rooted in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics protest and how the modern-day recycling movement was fueled by a news story about a barge full of garbage in the 1980s.

Known for his humor contributions in The New Yorker, Borowitz said he has mixed feelings about contributing to today’s 24-hour news cycle, which he describes as “a fairly nightmarish place to live your life.”

His response to the all-news, all-the-time mentality was quitting Twitter five years ago.

“What is the value that’s obtained from being on Twitter?” Borowitz said. “We report what people tweet and not just the president. We report it as if that’s news. That’s just someone at four in the morning coming out of a club typing something.”

“Retro Report” debuts Oct. 7.

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