'The Bold and Fresh Tour': Beck, O'Reilly Team Up to Perform

Beck is the quicker wit of the two, although O’Reilly often gave us as good as he got.

“How many Christmas garments are there?” O’Reilly teased when it came time for his solo segment, a riff on Beck’s popular broadcast of The Christmas Sweater. “He writes a book an hour.”

Dedicating his Tampa performance to professor Sami Al-Arian, whom he famously exposed for his terrorist ties on The O’Reilly Factor, the "no spin" maestro delivered an expanded version of his Talking Points Memo.

Pacing relentlessly back and forth, O’Reilly critiqued the president for his inability to define his signature piece of legislation -- Obamacare: “After his 14th speech, I said to colleagues, ‘do you know what he’s talking about?’” he said.

O’Reilly rehashed the ObamaCare debate to set up his feelings for Obama circa 2010, but much of the material was, by now, musty by political standards. He peppered the routine with funny anecdotes, but as a big screen entertainer he couldn’t match his tag team partner’s bombast. That wasn’t an accident, since O’Reilly’s news persona is more even-keeled than Beck’s daily radio and TV shows. And O’Reilly’s reasoned approach had a better chance of making a convert or two.

A 20-minute intermission broke up the program, forcing audiences to stare at a countdown clock or spend a small fortune at the concession counter. Couldn't they have cobbled together a clip reel of the hosts’ more entertaining moments to kill the time?

The final segment brought Beck and O’Reilly to the stage together, the pair throwing questions at each other in mostly good-natured fashion. Each boasts a facile mind, able to find the funny in political fare and each other.

It’s hard to tell if the Fox News stars are merely competitive, or a little aggravated by the other's success. A few low blows landed during the show -- Beck made a swipe or two at his tour partner’s age, and the fact that he fared better in a recent poll measuring the country’s favorite TV personalities. O‘Reilly struck back later: “I can’t tell the difference between your monologues and your gold commercials,” he said, a reference to some heat Beck drew for pitching Goldline International.

For $25 a ticket, theatergoers got an extended Fox News program without commercials and with a higher laugh quotient than usual. Fair and balanced? Not even close. An engaging two hours with Fox News’ all-star duo? No doubt.