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What 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.
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What's the story?
Over the course of comedy competition BRING THE FUNNY, 40 acts will perform for the show's panel of judges: comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson, and model-influencer Chrissy Teigen. Standups, sketch comics, musicians, magicians, and even harder to classify acts do their thing, Thompson, Foxworthy, and Teigen say their pieces, and on each episode, performers are eliminated until the last one standing wins a $250,000 prize package and the chance to perform at Montreal's 2020 Just for Laughs Festival.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes each of us uniquely talented. What would your kids' talent be if they were on Bring the Funny? Is it important to be a funny person, or to have a good sense of humor? Why or why not?
How can critiques be helpful to those who want a career in the entertainment industry? What's the difference between constructive and destructive criticism?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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