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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
One of the purposes of comedy is to puncture privilege and bring attention to social problems; some acts do skewer issues and make sharp points. Comics compete in an ongoing competition, sending messages of perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Jokes can be regressive, such as one about a man who conjectures if he was imprisoned he might "fall in love" with another man in the showers and become "Davonte's fruit cup." Other jokes send iffy messages about gender, such as a comic who berates himself for being excited for a sunny day: "I said that out loud, as a man," he says. Not all humor contains stereotypes though, and some punctures cliches, such as a sketch in which two women pretend to watch a horror movie only to note that "the black guy" dies before the credits are even over.
Violence & Scariness
Some jokes may touch on violence, such as when a man quips that another man putting him in a chokehold would make him regard that man flirtatiously.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Humor often revolves around sexual topics such as when a comic (mocking the old "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" slogan) says "What happened in Vegas turned 5 in February." In another comic's act, a man says he looks like the kind of guy who will "sleep with you and not call you the next day."
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Language is infrequent: "hell," "damn," "crap," "suck."
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Products & Purchases
Performers' Twitter handles are shown at length onscreen after they perform.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bring the Funny is a comedy competition on which acts perform for judges and are gradually eliminated until one wins prize money and a chance to perform in a prestigious comedy festival. Performers are doing their act onstage, so most of the mature content comes in the form of jokes, which can touch on race, religion, sex, drugs, and other ticklish topics. Some jokes puncture stereotypes, such as a sketch in which two women analyze who's most likely to die in a horror movie and why, while others affirm them, such as an extended reference to a theoretical prison romance. Language is infrequent: "hell," "damn," "crap," "suck." Comics compete in a competition that's ongoing, sending mild messages of perseverance.
Is It Any Good?
In a TV landscape crowded with talent competitions, a performance battle show has to have something special to make it stand out -- and this entry lacks that certain something. True, the focus here is on comedic performance instead of singing (The Voice, American Idol) dance (So You Think You Can Dance), or general talent (America's Got Talent, The World's Best), but since Bring the Funny's loose idea of comedy includes many types of performances from stand-up to sketches to music to magic, the content feels less than fresh. In addition, oddly, Bring the Funny hamstrings many performers by just showing excerpts of their act -- we see a joke or two before the camera cuts away to the judges discussing their performance, while we see other artists doing a complete number.
Speaking of the judges, though Foxworthy and Thompson occasionally get off a cogent criticism in the midst of effusive, tedious praise, Teigen seems to have little to offer the judging panel other than winsomeness. With the judging mostly useless, and many acts abbreviated to save time, what charm this show does have rests on the talent of the performers on it. And there is talent at work here, from a priceless sketch duo called Frangela to the unsettling "robot comic" Zed, but it'd be better to have fewer performers, make sure each is hilarious, and let them do their thing at their self-chosen length. Maybe then this show would be able to scare up more than a few mild laughs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.