Today, I guess: Tosh.0

Posted: July 13, 2009 in Braak, reviews

07-9-21-DanielToshTV is Holland’s domain, but I’ve got to write about something.  Today it is a show on Comedy Central called Tosh.O.  I watched this show over the weekend, and I am not going to complain about it, angrily and vociferously, as is my wont.  I’m honestly just sort of genuinely puzzled as to how a show like this can even exist.

Here is what happens on the show:  Daniel Tosh, a stand-up comedian, shows some clips from YouTube, and then says “funny” things about them.  That’s the first segment.  Then the second segment is, I guess, that he visists someone from one of the clips and interviews/makes fun of/hangs out with them.  In the episode I saw, he found a clip of a heavyset young black girl who, after singing a song while standing on a coffee table, falls off of it.

Daniel Tosh found her, and then took her to a gymnastics trainer, and got her singing lessons, then she went to a club and sang a song on a coffee table without falling off.  In screenwriting, we’d call this the “transformative arc.”  I think.

If that sounds like the most astonishingly tedious thing you could possibly do with a YouTube clip, that’s because it was.  The whole time, I don’t get what’s happening; is he trying to make fun of her?  Is the expectation that she will still fall?  Is the expectation that she won’t?  I mean, it’s easy to fall off a coffee table if you stand on it wrong, so are we supposed to think that she always falls off every coffee table?

She doesn’t fall off, so I don’t know what was supposed to happen.

He shows a clip of two women on a plane, and one of them is vomiting into a bag, and then the plane dips, and she gets her vomit on her face.  That’s pretty gross, I think!  Then he shows it over and over again, and makes some jokes about it.  The jokes were kind of funny, I guess.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS.  It’s like someone thought, “You know what would make YouTube great?  Adding some bland commentary by a comedian with some crazy eyes!”  Which, okay.  I guess it worked for Talk Soup, right?

Except, the thing about Talk Soup is that all of the clips on Talk Soup are from entertainment TV shows.  So, those are things that some people, somewhere, are implicitly taking seriously.  Like, the fact that they’re on TV means that somebody thought they were worth putting on TV, so there’s humor to be had in mocking that earnestness.

But things that are on YouTube are, by definition, things that no one wants to put on television.  (Okay, exceptions, exceptions, but generally.)  It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to make fun of things that no one takes seriously in the first place.  It’s like making fun of a clown.  What are you going to do, talk about his big shoes?  His funny hair?

Moreover, whoever thought adding a generally inoffensive comedian’s commentary to some YouTube clips would make a great TV show apparently ALSO thought that YouTube clips would be improved by taking away all of the things that people like about YouTube clips.  Like how, for example, they lead to other, tangentially-related clips.  Or how they’re usually really short, so if you see a clip of a woman getting covered in puke by accident, you don’t have to watch it a hundred times.  And, you know, you can share YouTube clips with each other–the YouTube clip environment is constant and fungible in exactly the opposite way from television.

I think I get what’s going on here:  some executives at Comedy Central, while sipping delicious baby-seal daquiries beside their diamond-studded pools filled with distilled kabbalah water, overheard the interns they were using to clean their septic tanks talking about this new “YouTube” thing, and hey, maybe there’s a way to make some money on that?  So, they pay their fifteen-year-old kids to go on the internet and report back to them, and suddenly they’re terrified:  “How can we monetize the YouTube content?  It’s on the INTERNET.”

So, you put on a “value ad” (this Tosh guy), do a couple stunts, and voila!  You can take the free content of YouTube and sell it back to all those people who, surfing around on the internet, said to themselves, “Well, this internet thing is good, but you know what would make it better?  An obscure, over-eager, fresh-faced comedian blathering at me the whole time.”

Which is great, of course, except what people really use YouTube for is procrastination, and the problem with dumping all that information into a timeslot is this:  who schedules their procrastination time?

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    Interestingly enough, this is the second such program to show up recently – the other being a direct spinoff of “Talk Soup,” called “Web Soup” and running on G4.

    Networks have been trying to utilize web content for all the reasons Chris pointed out, and so far it hasn’t really stuck. In this case, I appreciate that they at least try to vary the content with the middle bit, where Tosh “revisits” the subject of whatever web clip, but again…is this really worth devoting more time to?

    What bothers me is it’s really a waste of Daniel Tosh, who’s generally pretty good, with a specific tone of humor that is nowhere in evidence on the show.

    During his stand-up, he’s got a great habit of following up light snark with outright hostility that’s even funnier and more strangely specific – and with the awesome dissonance of him smiling brightly while he says things like:

    “Let’s bring the soldiers home. And the war! We can have the war in Nebraska – we don’t NEED that horrible state! Ethanol is a dream and a DUMB one!”

  2. Amanda says:

    This was wonderful. Haha!

  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    This just makes me miss “Mystery Science Theater 3000”, even more than I already do.

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    It’s small consolation, but another DVD volume collecting a random assortment of Mystery Science Theater eps came out last week.

    Among the four releases, “Zombie Nightmare,” starring Adam West (well, as much as anything “stars” Adam West) is just about perfect. (Provided you are a Mike fan, rather than a Joel fan. Which I am.)

  5. Michael says:

    This is a terrible review of the show. I challenge that little to no attention was paid to the setups for the comedy bits. The “heavyset young black girl” is such an uninformed and lazy description within a review. It only intends to make you seem smart and the show dumb. Anyone who has seen that particular show would no otherwise. Saying that you “don’t know how a show like this exists” is even more asinine, as youtube and viral videos have become a cultural phenomenon. Their are 500 cable networks. Their are stations devoted to gardens, College Sports, and reality television. Furthermore, your assertion that “things that are on YouTube are, by definition, things that no one wants to put on television” is completely false and fabricated for your own position. Youtube is Do It Yourself TV for everyone who has ever wanted to be on TV. Television networks partner with youtube to put their content on youtube’s site. By definition, “YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos.” Finally, I would like to challenge your sweeping generalization about youtube being a procrastination tool by saying that I taught myself Microsoft Excel and how to play guitar by watching clips. Good luck with your blog….a complete procrastination tool.

  6. Donny Balls says:

    What happened to free speech? Go ahead and delete this one too, blogger.

  7. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Excellent. It’s amazing how much satisfaction is to be had from watching a border of graphics mock really–gloriously–bad movies. I don’t know what that says about the audience (me) but I’m sure it’s something delightfully derogatory…

  8. V.I.P. Referee says:

    …imprinting upon objects…feeling a sense of camaraderie by way of someone else’s writing, accompanied with graphics…oh, GOD, it’s too painful to acknowledge…

  9. braak says:

    @Michael: Really, dipshit? You’re going to spend five paragraphs reviewing my review of a YouTube clipshow on Comedy Central, commenting on a blog that plainly is just a procrastination tool, as it doesn’t even support ads? Oh, no, I guess you’re not using any paragraphs. You sure are confusing homonyms really effectively, though! Tell you what, I challenge you to write three consecutive sentences without making yourself look like a retarded baboon that accidentally shat on a keyboard.

    And, what the fuck, you needed instruction on how to use Excel? Anyway, good luck being a moron, I’m sure there are kind people who will take pity on you. Sadly, there is not enough pity in the world to keep Tosh.0 on television for more than a few months.

    @Donny: Oh my god, you fucking embarrassment to human cognition. FREE SPEECH is the Constitutional protection of censorship BY THE GOVERNMENT. The Bill of Rights protects you from being censored BY THE GOVERNMENT, so that you can make a newspaper or something if you want to and criticize the president without getting the shit kicked out of you by the Gestapo. It does not now, nor has it ever, nor WILL it ever, in any way, apply to the COMMENTS ON BLOGS.

    And, @Michael, again: Yes, moron, you and Donny Dickless here are the reason that I moderate the comments.

  10. V.I.P. Referee says:

    My comments were meant as a response to Holland’s, by the way. Anyhow, Braak has a point: How long can a show last that depends upon showing clips of amateur “Youtube” videos when the videos are already available online at your convenience? “America’s Funniest Home Videos” overstayed its welcome once their target group began getting their “cat meows ‘Memory’ from ‘Cats’ ” fixes online.

  11. braak says:

    @VIP: And, moreover, the whole thing is contingent on useful viral trends emerging in the week before the show, anyway. Once all the old clips are rehashed (like the one with the young men grinding on the furniture of their suburban living room–what was that, from, like six months ago?), they’re going to have to find something new and useful and funny to run–and then they’ll be stuck in the unenviable position of having to have to guess whether or not the popularity of an individual clip is going to take off.

    YouTube can do it as an aggregate system because failure is distributed; YouTube’s success doesn’t rely on the success of, say, five or ten clips, but on the success of five or ten million. Nine million bad choices still makes for, what, three million minutes of good viewing? That’s six straight years, right?

    What a poorly-considered premise.

  12. Jeff Holland says:

    Huh. What a strange turn the comments section took.

    Anyway, @braak – the couch-guys thing was actually from a couple of years ago, which makes it all the more curious how the show might try to sustain itself over the long run (the answer may be in the middle segment, though I’m apprehensive about giving the “Leave Britney Alone” person or the “Chocolate Rain” guy more attention).

    In any event, Comedy Central as a network tends to have about 10 misses for every hit (remember Louis Black’s “Root of All Evil”? No?), so it’s not worth getting too curious about. (Hope that “Michael & Michael Have Issues” show is good!)

    @Michael and Donny Balls (yeesh, really?) – as co-writer of this (yes, utterly time-wasting, largely by design) site, I appreciate your wishes of good luck, and would like to point out that if your comments espouse constructive criticism of the post itself, or aim to further discuss a particular aspect of the topic (for instance, are you a fan of Daniel Tosh’s stand-up work?), we’d be more than happy to hear it. We moderate not to sensor outside opinions, but rather to keep space open for well-delivered thoughts that might continue conversation.

    (And yes, I said all that because I like to be the quiet ying to Braak’s raging yang. Which is a “Simpsons” quote. Which is another thing we like to do here.)

  13. Moff says:

    Comedians sometimes have really avid, excitable fans. I bet Michael and Donny Balls are big Daniel Tosh fans or something. This is personal now, Chris. But how, I am moved to wonder, is calling someone young, black, and heavyset either lazy or uninformed? Are reality-TV reviewers not doing their jobs if they don’t find out more about the personalities of the people appearing on a show? Was the girl in question secretly much older than she looked, or of a different skin color, or wearing a padded suit?

    (Yeah, Daniel Tosh is pretty funny. It’s too bad about the show.)

  14. Jeff Holland says:

    No, I saw that episode – it’d be hard to describe her as anything other than young, African-American, and a bit on the plump side. And also she did unwisely stand at the edge of a table.

    Still…hmm. Comedians do indeed have avid, excitable fans. Let us test this theory (and maybe increase web traffic!). Ahem:

    Dane Cook is a hack, and his hair is silly!

    Carlos Mencia can lick mah balls!

    George Lopez seems like a really nice guy, but I do not care for his stand-up very much!

    Daniel Tosh is…well, as I’ve said, I actually quite enjoy Daniel Tosh’s stand-up, but NOT FOR THE SAME REASONS OTHERS DO, FOR THEY ARE DUMB!

    And now we just wait for some attention.


  15. braak says:

    See, I didn’t even know that Daniel Tosh was really funny, that’s how bland the show makes him. I mean, some of the jokes were kind of funny, I guess. I remember laughing once or twice, but I couldn’t remember any actual jokes five minutes after the show was over.

    I think, @moff, that my opinion of the girl in the YouTube clip was “uninformed” because I was supposed to know who she is. Because of how much viral videos have become a cultural phenomenon. Which really just brings me to another serious criticism of the nature of the show: the million people that watch “Girl falls off coffee table” and the million people that watch “Leave Brittany Alone Guy” aren’t the same million people. There’s no one “YouTube Users” demographic that you can reach out to with something like this.

    To use that dipshit’s imprecisely-applied metaphorical technology, yes, it’s important that there are now a million cable channels on a million different subjects. Doing a show like this would be like taking clips from the most popular shows from five different, randomly-chosen cable channels, and then talking about them like I’m supposed to know what they are.

    Also: @Holland: I think you should moderate comments from now on.

  16. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Michael and Donny Balls (how unfortunate for you, Donny) should just gauge their comments by the same standards the rest of us do:

    A. Respectful intellectual engagement or managed dissonance: This is good.

    B. Various wise-ass perspectives injected with pop culture references, all polished by the sparkling wit of illustrious blog leaders: This is fun! Maybe not for everyone but probably tolerable for most.

    C. A response of subtle grumblings or total silence from The Mothership: Probably “bad”. It could just mean that writers have personal lives outside of public demands, but we should never assume something as unlikely as that. The best thing to do—especially if Braak is totally silent—is to distract and direct the ire toward someone else. Example:

    “Why, Holland—how dare you post your true feelings about Braak under my screen name! That was totally offensive! What kind of establishment are you really running here?!”

    It’s simple, really.

  17. braak says:

    Come on, VIP, I’ve got another novel to write, I can’t respond to everything. Actually, I’m the one that’s pretty likely to respond with some ill-considered but bitterly vituperative bile about something I don’t like.

    Holland, on the other hand–come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Holland get genuinely pissed off about anything. I’m not sure what he’s like when he’s angry.

  18. Jeff Holland says:

    when no one’s looking, I smash great big boulders together in a fit of rage.

    This is why I always appear totally calm.

  19. Amanda says:

    I know this is late, but I’ve been out of town….
    @Michael: since you had to watch YouTube in order to learn how to use Excel, I just wanted to offer up some helpful grammatical advice via a comment, in hopes that this will serve as a short cut to enlightenment for you:

    There are THREE kinds of ways to spell “their,” and all of them (surprisingly, I know) have a specific usage. In fact, you’ll see one of them starting off this very sentence.

    1) There: Directional. As in “Over there.”

    2) They’re: A conjunction of “they” and “are.” Often used in an action sentence, such as “They’re going to watch Tosh.0.”

    3) Their: Possessive. As in “That is their opinion of the matter.”

    This is by no means an exhaustive grammatical lesson on the three “theirs,” but it at least clarifies their most common uses so that in the future you can create even more riveting and persuasive comments.

  20. Anthony says:

    New episodes of Tosh.O June 2nd!

  21. Danielle says:

    Tosh.0 is a hilarious show. It just isn’t your kind of funny. I don’t believe you should call it stupid or useless or anything like that for that reason. And for those who thought it couldn’t last, its already had 3 seasons and keeps on going. Daniel Tosh is funny no matter what he is doing. The girl who was on the table singing was a part of a “Web Redemption”, she was redeming herself from her original fall. The whole point was for her not to fall. It wasn’t that funny but some of them can be lmao worthy.

    Go ahead make fun of my grammer or what I’m saying… just remember I’m going to Cornell University in the fall… and the rest of you will still be here.

  22. Moff says:


  23. braak says:

    First of all, this post is from two years ago. How the hell did you even find it? Do you have some kind of google search set up so you can defend your favorite TV shows from random strangers who wrote about them two years ago? That is lame.

    Second of all, what do you mean “here”? You mean, “here on the internet”? What, do they not have internet at Cornell University? Is the world divided up into “Rad people who go to Cornell University, and LOSERS who use the INTERNET”? This is a website, you yammering nincompoop, it’s not a fucking place. You access it via computer, no matter what third-tier university you’re pissing your parents’ money away on.

    Go! Begone! Hurry and get your Master’s in Incompetent Numbskullery so you can start making accredited idiotic comments on websites.

  24. Moff says:

    No, props must be given: As closing lines go, “just remember I’m going to Cornell University in the fall… and the rest of you will still be here” is very nearly perfect for a comment on this post.

  25. braak says:

    Yeah, I’m actually reconsidering, I think that’s one of the best comments anyone has ever left on this site.

    Of course, who am I to say? It’s not like I’m going to Cornell University, or anything.

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