Nick Swardson's Pretend Time

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Nick Swardson's Pretend Time TV Poster Image
Mature sketch show revolves around sex and twisted humor.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's intent is irony, which means most sketches have a "message" that's the polar opposite of positive. For example, if you've filled a dying child's "bucket list" with selfish treats for yourself -- only to find out that there's a cure for his terminal illness being trumpeted on the front page of the newspaper -- you should burn every copy so that no one sees the story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are terrible role models, whether it's a dad who fills his terminally ill son's "bucket list" with selfish goals like "I want my dad to have sex with his best friend's wife," or a motorist who's driving drunk.


A few sketches involve violence and excessive blood, but it's played for humor.


At least one sketch is centered around a disturbing sex act -- a woman fellating a donkey as part of a "live sex show." The act itself is obscured from view, but viewers see semen flying through the air and onto a glass window, etc. Other bits include bare buttocks, blurred nudity, and simulated sex.


Lots of bathroom humor, including audible words like "balls," "pubes," "breasts," "penis," "vagina," "sack," "dildo," "diarrhea," "turd," "rod," and "ass." Heavy swearing with the strongest words ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some sketches involve drinking or drug use that's meant to be funny; for example, a cat is addicted to heroin.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this late-night sketch-comedy show was engineered for adults who like their humor crude and raunchy. And even though Comedy Central bleeps the strongest curse words (including "f--k" and "s--t") and blurs nudity, there's still enough envelope-pushing content left over to make it majorly inappropriate for kids. (In the first episode, the most graphic scene involves simulated oral sex between a woman and a donkey that ejaculates repeatedly onto a glass partition as part of a live sex show.) There's also some bloody violence played for laughs, as well as jokes involving alcohol and drug abuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byPlague October 20, 2010

Nick Swardson's Pretend Time

Fairly entertaining, and quite funny. Definitely not for young kids, but great for teens and adults who like this kind of humor.

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What's the story?

Airing on Comedy Central, NICK SWARDSON'S PRETEND TIME is a collection of random comedy sketches written and performed by stand-up comedian and actor Nick Swardson (best known for his recurring role as a male prostitute on Reno 911!). Characters he cooks up include Garry Gaga, Lady Gaga's police officer brother who shares his sister's flair for extreme fashion; a wheelchair-bound cat with a trust fund (and a heroin addiction) named Mr. Stitches; and a gay robot named...well, Gay Robot.

Is it any good?

Watching Swardson's sketch-comedy show series allows us to conclude two things: 1) Swardson can be really funny, as evidenced by his clever spoof on environmentalism with an ad for the Peeus, a urine-powered car you "fill up" yourself; and 2) once he runs out of good stuff, he turns first to scatalogical jokes before rolling out completely disgusting (and ultimately un-funny) sex gags.

After all, it's one thing to suggest that employees at a live donkey sex show -- where scantily clad women perform oral sex on a donkey in front of a cheering crowd of bystanders -- even need a seminar about sexual harrassment in the workplace. But it's quite another to watch the droning HR representative deliver his talking points while the donkey's shooting semen splatters and drips down the glass divider right behind him. Yup, Swardson went there, and he might have just gone too far.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about envelope-pushing humor on TV and how far it can go before it's too much. Does this show take jokes farther than you would have expected for the small screen? Where's the fine line between gross and funny?

  • How does this series compare with other sketch-comedy shows on television? Does it do anything differently, and does it work?

  • Who do you think the target audience is? Do you think this show is appropriate for older teens? If you were a parent, would you want your kids to watch?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love funny stuff

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