Gregory John Gutfeld, born on September 12, 1964, is a prominent American television host, political commentator, comedian, and author. He has made a significant impact on the media landscape, particularly on Fox News, where he has hosted multiple shows and gained recognition for his unique blend of humor and political insight. In this article, we will explore the life and career of Greg Gutfeld, tracing his journey from a college graduate to one of the most influential figures in American media.
Early Life and Education
Greg Gutfeld's journey into the world of media and commentary began in San Mateo, California. He was born to Jacqueline Bernice "Jackie" and Alfred Jack Gutfeld. Raised in a Catholic household, he attended the all-boys Roman Catholic Junípero Serra High School, where his intellectual curiosity and penchant for humor began to shape his future.
Gutfeld's academic journey led him to the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, where he pursued a bachelor's degree in English. It was during his time at Berkeley that he underwent a transformation in his political thinking. In a 2009 interview, he reflected on this change, stating, "I became a conservative by being around liberals, and I became a libertarian by being around conservatives. You realize that there's something distinctly in common between the two groups, the left and the right; the worst part of each of them is the moralizing."
This early exposure to diverse viewpoints and his ability to see the commonalities between political ideologies would prove to be a defining characteristic of Gutfeld's career.
After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1987, Gutfeld embarked on his career journey, which would eventually lead him to the forefront of political commentary and entertainment. His early career was marked by diverse experiences, showcasing his adaptability and creativity.
Gutfeld's initial foray into the world of media was as an intern at The American Spectator, where he worked as an assistant to conservative writer R. Emmett Tyrrell. This opportunity allowed him to gain insights into the conservative viewpoint and further shape his political perspective.
He later transitioned to positions at various magazines, including Prevention magazine and Rodale Press magazines, where he served as a staff writer. In 1995, Gutfeld joined the team at Men's Health, initially as a staff writer and eventually rising to the position of editor-in-chief in 1999. His leadership at Men's Health contributed to the magazine's success, with circulation increasing from 750,000 to an impressive 1.2 million under his stewardship.
However, Gutfeld's career took an unexpected turn when he was replaced as editor-in-chief by David Zinczenko. Undeterred, he continued to forge his path in the media industry, becoming the editor-in-chief of Stuff magazine, owned by Dennis Publishing. During his tenure, he successfully boosted the magazine's circulation. However, a controversial stunt involving dwarfs attending a conference led to his dismissal from the position.
Gutfeld's career path remained dynamic, as he became the head of "brain development" at Dennis Publishing. He also took on the role of editing Maxim magazine in the U.K. from 2004 to 2006. While these experiences had their ups and downs, they contributed to Gutfeld's resilience and adaptability, qualities that would serve him well in the years to come.
The Huffington Post and Early Commentating
In 2005, Gutfeld became one of the first contributing bloggers for The Huffington Post, a platform that provided him with a broader audience and a space to share his unique brand of commentary. During his time at The Huffington Post, he didn't shy away from engaging in spirited debates with his colleagues, including Deepak Chopra, Cenk Uygur, and Arianna Huffington. This period allowed Gutfeld to refine his skills as a commentator and sharpen his wit.
The Red Eye Era
Gutfeld's transition to television came in February 2007 when he became the host of the late-night talk show "Red Eye" on the Fox News Channel. The show, known for its irreverent and humorous take on current events, initially aired at 2:00 A.M. ET Monday through Saturday mornings and at 11:00 P.M. on Saturday evenings. Over the years, "Red Eye" gained a dedicated following for its unconventional approach to news and politics.
During this time, Bill Schulz served as Gutfeld's sidekick, and Andy Levy took on the role of the show's ombudsman. Notably, Schulz had previously worked with Gutfeld at Stuff magazine, and Levy was a fellow blogger at The Huffington Post. The chemistry between the hosts and the show's distinctive format made it a unique addition to the late-night television landscape.
In February 2015, Gutfeld stepped down from hosting "Red Eye," passing the torch to Tom Shillue. His departure marked the end of an era, but it also signaled the beginning of a new chapter in his career.
The Greg Gutfeld Show and The Five
May 31, 2015, marked the premiere of "The Greg Gutfeld Show" on Fox News, a weekly late-night talk show airing at 10:00 P.M. ET on Saturdays. The show was an extension of Gutfeld's previous work on "Red Eye," combining humor, satire, and insightful commentary on the week's top stories. Audiences quickly embraced the show's unique blend of entertainment and politics.
In February 2021, a significant announcement was made: "The Greg Gutfeld Show" would make the transition from a weekly program to a weeknight show at 11:00 P.M. ET, aptly named "Gutfeld!" The change in format was met with enthusiasm from Gutfeld's loyal fan base, who were eager to see more of his distinctive take on current events and politics.
"Gutfeld!" quickly gained traction and popularity, achieving a significant milestone in August 2021 when it overtook "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in the nightly ratings, becoming the highest-rated late-night talk show in the United States. With an average of 2.12 million nightly viewers, it surpassed competitors like "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" This achievement solidified Greg Gutfeld's status as a prominent figure in late-night television.
Simultaneously, Gutfeld continued to be a key presence on "The Five," a political talk show that aired weekdays at 5:00 P.M. ET. His role as a co-host and panelist on "The Five" allowed him to delve into current political issues and provide his unique perspective alongside a diverse group of commentators.
Influence and Recognition
Greg Gutfeld's impact on American media was further validated when, in late 2021, he was named the 12th-most influential person in American media by the Mediaite website. This recognition underscored his ability to connect with audiences, engage in meaningful discussions, and provide an alternative voice in the media landscape.
By the end of 2021, the combined viewership for "Gutfeld!" and "The Five" averaged over five million viewers, highlighting his ability to resonate with a broad and engaged viewership.
Greg Gutfeld's career has been characterized by adaptability, resilience, and a unique ability to blend humor with insightful political commentary. From his early days as an intern to his successful tenure in print media and his eventual transition to television, Gutfeld's journey reflects a commitment to his craft and a passion for engaging with diverse perspectives.
As the host of "Gutfeld!" and a key contributor to "The Five," he continues to be a prominent and influential figure in American media. His ability to bridge the gap between humor and politics has endeared him to a dedicated fan base and solidified his place in the late-night talk show landscape.
In a world of increasingly polarized media, Greg Gutfeld's willingness to challenge conventional wisdom and engage with different viewpoints is a testament to the power of open dialogue and humor as tools for fostering understanding and encouraging thoughtful discourse. As he continues to shape the future of political commentary and entertainment, Greg Gutfeld remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of American media.