Comedy Central, as its name implies, has consistently been the centralized location for comedy on television. Lately, though, it has mainly been a centralized location for stupidity. With the exceptions of “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “South Park,” reruns of “Scrubs” and select stand-up showings, Comedy Central currently airs a frighteningly large amount of unfunny and uninspired programming. The following are the glaring glitches on an otherwise decent network.
“Mind of Mencia”
The only reason this show is even on the air in the first place is because Comedy Central lost the much sharper “Chappelle’s Show.” The format is nearly identical, with emcee Carlos Mencia telling jokes and setting up predominantly prerecorded skits. However, like most clones, it is filled with flaws.
Mencia exploits diversity, namely his Mexican heritage, to a nauseating extreme. I’m all for racial and cultural humor when it is done correctly (in other words, coherently), but Mencia makes broad observations without developing much original material. He seems to believe offensive equals funny, which is a common misconception. Offensive can be funny, but true comedy generally requires a deeper statement or a clever setup and punch line. Mencia lacks all of these and, as a result, is “offensive” for no good reason. (I use quotation marks because I have never actually been offended by anything he has said or done.)
He prides himself on being “edgy,” at times literally pointing out his “audacity” to the audience, but then keeps throwing out common stereotypes as if they were something new. I especially cringe when he makes a simple observation about the stupidity of others and follows it with a noise I can only assume he associates with mental retardation. He also smiles excessively and laughs at his own alleged wit, which is amusing in moderation, but gets tiresome quickly (see also Jimmy Fallon). Mencia’s act and show only offend me as a lover of comedy.
“Blue Collar TV”
Here’s a show that appeals to the lowest common denominator. I realize that may sound pompous, but seriously, who laughs at and/or applauds the phrase “Git-r-done” in any non-ironic way? Not to mention, the average skit consists of a couple guys referencing or performing bodily functions while mugging for the camera backed by laughter that somehow sounds canned despite the presence of a live audience.
I love a fart joke as much as the next guy, but when the fart joke is presented as being funny with little-to-no recognition of how truly mindless it is, I no longer laugh. A good example of hilarious self-aware fart jokes can be found throughout “Stella,” a brilliant show that Comedy Central foolishly canceled to make room for such shows as “Blue Collar TV.”
What perplexes me most is why “Blue Collar TV” airs on Comedy Central in the first place. It began its run on the WB, at which point I assume some Comedy Central executives saw it and thought “We must have this on our channel!” Why? Why, hypothetical executives, why? I could understand CMT picking it up, since that channel seems to air anything with a Southern accent, but why would Comedy Central want an unfunny, hackneyed sketch comedy show? It just doesn’t make sense.
Speaking of unfunny, hackneyed sketch comedy shows, Comedy Central also unfortunately airs reruns of FOX’s “Mad TV.” I already went off on “Mad TV” in a column last semester and will not put the show through the same scrutiny again. To sum up my feelings, I would describe the show as “painfully unfunny.” That is to say, if I watch it, not only do I not laugh, but my mind actually aches from the stupid gags.
This show has a great gimmick as the self-proclaimed “first animated reality series.” I can at least understand why this show was picked up. If the show were pitched to me with that synopsis, I would have signed it for eight episodes, too.
Nevertheless, after seeing the finished product, I cannot comprehend why it continues to garner such a large audience and return season after season. There is nothing funny about this show. The writers find the easiest targets and beat them to death. “Drawn Together” is like that friend who people feel awkward around because he or she always takes a joke that starts out being potentially funny and drills it into annoying redundancy. A good friend of mine, who is not one of those people, once described the show as an “animated crime against humanity,” and I cannot explain it any better myself.
Since I despise every one of these shows, I can only think of one motivation for Comedy Central to keep running them: ratings. People watch them, apparently. Still, that does not mean I have to respect Comedy Central for airing them.
Also, if Comedy Central executives do, in fact, think these programs are worthy of their airtime, then this too has a simple explanation: They must be morons. If I were Carlos Mencia, I would follow that statement by hitting myself in the head with a microphone and making that noise he evidently associates with mental retardation. But I’d rather keep my self-respect.
Mike Peters is a senior focusing on communication arts, film and business. Do you have issues with Comedy Central? Let Mike know at firstname.lastname@example.org.