If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch Saturday Night Live’s classic “Celebrity Jeopardy,” then you can fulfill your empty life now (it’s our job to help you). Hopefully, you watch the clip before reading the rest of the article; “Celebrity Jeopardy” is a big part of what I will use as an intro.
Have you watched the clip yet? Because I waited for you to do so before I continued with the article. Or, did you not watch the clip out of some kind of spite when I asked you to watch something seeming irrelevant to @Midnight? Regardless, it’s time for you to know where the connection lies. Look at “Celebrity Jeopardy;” look at how hard fake Trebek tries to keep all the tires on the wagon, while the fake celebrities tear his structure down in a hilarious and ridiculous manner. @Midnight doesn’t try to emulate “Celebrity Jeopardy” in any way, but it’s similar because the structure created is the same as the structure created by the fake celebrities – thus making @Midnight a wonderful show to watch throughout the week.
As viewers of @Midnight we don’t have to watch the wheels come off the wagon because that’s not the point of the wagon. @Midnight is “Celebrity Jeopardy” where Trebek has been replaced by a combination of the fake Connery and Reynolds, who works to enhance the humor of the contestants instead of trying to control them. But again, I’m not trying to tell you how @Midnight is like “Celebrity Jeopardy” – the only connection between the two is the style of humor – @Midnight has become it’s own entity simply because of it’s format.
There have been shows based upon internet content, Tosh.0 and Web Soup (coincidently hosted by Chris Hardwick) to name a few, but @Midnight is the only show on television that has been able to make a game out of it; Chris Hardwick is the perfect man for the job too. Daniel Tosh does a great job looking at videos on the web and making jokes surrounding them, but Hardwick has nerd roots for understanding the complexities of how the internet community works. I don’t mean to be a kiss-ass when it comes to giving the man too much praise, but I honestly don’t think that any other comedian would be able to pull of @Midnight. Kumail Najiani has the internet knowhow, but lacks the right charisma; Matt Mira is another who has the understanding, but lacks the confidence (all of whom are Hardwick’s close friends by the way); the list goes on. But let’s face it, Hardwick has another good installment on his hands to further his already growing career. However, even though @Midnight is a great show, it doesn’t have the ability to connect with everybody.
The problem that @Midnight faces as a whole isn’t something that can be fixed over time; the show has to deal with targeting a very specific audience of nerds, geeks, and social media apt. If you know nothing about Vine, Twitter, Craig’s List, or other user based sites, then you’re not going to understand the basis of @Midnight. Does the entirety of @Midnight completely alienate viewers who don’t use Instagram, or doesn’t browse Reddit? No, it doesn’t: there are funny moments in the show that don’t necessitate an understanding for certain sites. However, a larger understanding of how some things on the internet work will be necessary for viewers to stay interested in the show long term. Luckily, I am a person who has a basic understanding of how most of the sites @Midnight uses to fuel its gameshow; I am able to thoroughly enjoy games like “cringe worthy,” “OK Cupid or Serial Killer,” or “Sex Advice from your Mom.”
Now, as great as the show is now, it still has kinks to work out in the next few weeks: fixing the buzzers for comedians so I don’t have to watch Eugene Mirman struggle to get an answer in, better explaining what kind of comments the comedians are making, or how points get added to comedians’ scores (many times comedians don’t get points because Hardwick doesn’t hit the right button, or the people off screen are laughing to hard). Now, is every episode pure comic gold? No, but use the guide I made at the bottom for the best episodes found on Hulu now.
Again, if you consider yourself a good player when it comes to using the internet, you should probably give @Midnight a chance. If you have no idea what Reddit is or never liked the comedic style of “Celebrity Jeopardy,” ignore everything you’ve read just now and don’t watch @Midnight – no offense, it’s just probably not for you.
Episodes to watch based on comedian contestants
Episode 1: Doug Benson, Natasha Leggero, and Kumail Najiani #butts
Episode 2: Kurt Braunohler, Andy Daly, and Brendon Walsh
Episode 3: Tom Lennon, Kyle Kinane, and Deon Cole
Episode 5: Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, and Doug Benson
Episode 6: Matt Braugner, Patton Oswald, and Nikki Glaser
Episode 8: Natasha Leggero, Moshe Kasher, Steve Agee