“@Midnight” on Comedy Central may be best described as the late-night show you never thought you needed, but now you must have it. It’s basically perfect for those of you who watch Kimmel for the monologue and the jokes, and then leave so you don’t have to watch any interviews before Fallon comes on the air. It’s part late-night series, part game show, and really all fun unless you have no sense of humor or think that Twitter is going to be the fall of all civilization.
We may as well start with full disclosure: We love Chris Hardwick. While we haven’t followed him since “Singled Out,” we have followed him more or less since “Jane White Is Sick and Twisted” and have listened to a good amount of all the Nerdist podcasts. Therefore, realize that our review is coming from a guy who is already a huge fan of Hardwick’s. Also, it definitely helps that we love the whole fake game-show format a la “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” or even “Around the Horn,” and know the majority of what the show is talking about. It speaks to us.
If you pretty much are in every demographic we mentioned above, we’re pretty sure that you will love the show. Hardwick hosts what is basically a game for comedians to stand around and tell jokes about crazy things that are found around the internet, and Chris awards them points. At the end of the show, a winner is declared, and they can say they are the funniest person alive for the next 23 1/2 hours. There’s no need to go through every individual game, but the idea of adding hashtags to celebrities’ tweets or answering trivia questions regarding what people actually wrote online in the past 24 hours are novel ideas. They are also easy in that the internet is never going to stop working from one show to the next; therefore, there will always be something to talk about.
We admit, though, that the one downside to the game is that there are different comedians every night, and your enjoyment of the show could depend largely on the people who are present. Luckily, Hardwick brought in three great people in Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Leggero, and Doug Benson, who he has done podcasts with and are all seasoned performers. Therefore, there was plenty of humor and a natural chemistry. So long as they keep casting this way (and we would not mind seeing all of them again), we should be easily satisfied.
While there were a few awkward seconds here and there throughout the broadcast, it’s the first show, but “@Midnight” is off to a great start of bringing some more great humor to a lineup that already has Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and you don’t have to be a fan of any of the host’s previous work to understand any of what is happening.
So all in all, a great start, and here’s hoping for some more easy laughs the next few weeks. Grade: A-.
Photo: Comedy Central