In an odd cultural reversal, instead of TV Shows airing online, viral videos from the Internet have now found a home on TV. In a frenzied mash-up of viral videos and stand-up comedy, Clip TV has emerged as a new genre, and a ton of similar shows are being pitched daily to get in on the action. Two of the front-runners are Web Soup and Tosh.O.
Both Comedy Central and G4 have thrown their viral video hats into the ring to see if they can take the lead in winning over an audience. Finding the best the YouTube generation of filmmakers has to offer is analogous to surfacing America's Funniest Home Videos on crack!
G4 and the E! Network launched Web Soup, a spin-off of the long-running Soup franchise (Both G4 and E! are owned by Comcast.) The show stars comedian Chris Hardwick (of previous MTV fame) who sullies down the same satirical path of its cult predecessor (and 18 yr old classic) "The Soup." In place of Joel McHale, Hardwick's delivery is very similar and occasionally McHale will chime in as a coach critiquing Hardwick as his new rookie player.
Focused specifically on web videos instead of the celeb-du-jour clips you get on all the other entertainment shows, Harwick's videos are populated with B-listed and Internet micro-celebs with masochistic tendencies to expose their most embarrassing moments. Described as Kurt Loder meets Jerry Seinfeld, Harwick's shtick is sarcastic tongue-in-cheek commentary and just as biting as the previous hosts of the original Talk Soup - which dates back to Greg Kinnear (1991–1995).
Like The Soup, Web Soup will feature several themed segments in each episode. Among the ongoing sketches already in the can are “The Daily Upload,” “This Week in FAIL” and “Things You Can’t Un-See.” As an interactive format, fans can visit Web Soup's web site and actually send their videos to the show for broadcast consideration (by clicking on SUBMIT VIDEOS on the home page).
You can view the promo video here. The show airs Sundays at 9 PM and first aired on June 7.
Video Games - E3 2009 - Web Soup
Tosh.O is presented in a similar in format, and is hosted by Daniel Tosh, a stand-up comedian who was first introduced to TV audiences by David Letterman in 2001. Here, it appears that Tosh has been influenced by news satire shows like The Colbert Report, but again rooted in web video. Tosh’s delivery is a bit more investigative than Hardwicke’s. Instead of “clip, joke, clip, joke, repeat”, Tosh mixes in an interview a la reporter from The Daily Show.
David ToshHe's self-deprecating and quick-witted enough to even make fun of the show's premise. Tosh probably pitches the show best with the line, "Let us be your 30-minute break from porn." Stripped down, however, it's really another blooper show -- something as old as Dick Clark. But Tosh does hold his own, especially in a segment where he pays a personal visit to an"Afro Ninja," a San Fernando Valley stuntman who is Web-infamous for a clip in which he auditioned for an athletic-shoe commercial and back-flipped onto his face (pratfalls will get us every time).
The show airs Thursdays at 10PM on Comedy Central, and the first episode aired June 11.
There probably aren't too many more places Clip TV can go, but that's the nature of viral videos. It's always basically the same (someone is either getting hurt, exposing themselves, vomiting or using it as a soap box to voice a stupid opinion), but it's usually good for a quick laugh, and that's where Web Soup and Tosh.0 shine. Whether they can sustain our attention for the long haul is something else. However, when one considers the long-running history of Talk Soup and The Soup, I think these two front-runners may have a shot at clipping along at a fine pace, right into the future.
Based on what you've read here, vote for the show you think has the best shot of being a success.