The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman TV Poster Image
Crass comedy crosses lots of lines with stereotypes, curses.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Jokes poking fun at overweight people, drug use, gun violence, and stereotypes of all kinds are central to the show.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hoffman can be funny, but his material is often intentionally designed to be offensive.

Violence

Pistols, rifles, and machine guns are visible in some skits; occasionally they are fired. Gang members and shooting victims are sometimes featured. One show segment features rap songs based on deceased people's obituaries. Skits feature bloody wounds, dead people, and executions via electric chair; these are more comical than scary.

Sex

Crude and sometimes explicit references to genitals and sexual acts. Bathroom humor is also frequent.

Language

Words like "ass," "crap," "piss," and "bitch" are audible, and featured in the title of a regular segment. Words like "d--k," "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "c--k" and the "N" word are bleeped on air, but not on the website clips.

Consumerism

Twitter, Facebook, KFC, Smith and Wesson, and other brands and businesses are referenced. Occasionally logos for local businesses, like gun stores, are visible on storefronts and t-shirts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Humorous references are made to drugs; one skit is called "Crack Stories."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Ben Show relies on lots of crude and intentionally offensive humor and stereotypes for laughs. It contains explicit references to sexual acts, lots of violent references, some of which include guns, and skits about murder, capital punishment, and drug use. The language is strong, too ( "ass," "crap," "piss," "bitch"; "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "c--k" and the N-word bleeped).

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What's the story?

THE BEN SHOW WITH BEN HOFFMAN stars none other than comedian Ben Hoffman in a variety of skits and interacting with everyday folks on the street. Each week Hoffman sets a goal for himself, like buying a gun or starting a band, and talks to a variety of family, friends, professionals, and random strangers who can help him achieve it or offer advice. In between these conversations appear an array of comedy sketches including live-action pranks, rap songs, and animated sequences. Adding to the fray are conversations with celebs like Todd Bridges, and members of bands like Guns & Roses.

Is it any good?

The Ben Show contains some humorous moments as Hoffman talks to friends, family, and even his own therapist in an attempt to answer questions he has about life. However, much of the show is broken up into seemingly random sketches about bad drug experiences, fat jokes, and even compilations of weird news footage. While this helps the comedian demonstrate his range, sometimes the sidelines distract from some funny narrative.

Hoffman's deadpan humor is appealing, and some of the interviews contain very funny unplanned moments. But other parts of the show are more startlingly offensive than they are funny or edgy, thanks to his continual attempts to make fun of people (both dead and alive) at their expense. The result is an unbalanced and sometimes disturbing experience that some folks will find hard to laugh at.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about humor. Why do some people find specific things and/or styles of comedy funny, while others don't? What is the difference between edgy or dark humor, and comedy that is just plain offensive? Is it simply a question of taste, or are there are other things that mold our preferences?

  • What kinds of things do you like for a laugh? Are there specific books? TV shows? Is there a film that makes you laugh every time you watch it?

  • Is it ever appropriate to rely on stereotypes to get a laugh? Why or why not? Can comedy shows (even offensive ones) be a way of teaching lessons? How?

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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