A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tournament of Laughs is a competition show where well-known comedians send in two-minute videos they make at home, and viewers vote on which video they like better by phone or online. Hosted by Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live), who plays up the competition angle, Tournament of Laughs feels like a mix between a sketch comedy show and America's Funniest Home Videos. The comedic material is often edgy and contains profanity, cartoonish violence, and verbal and visual sexual innuendo. Since the videos were filmed during the pandemic, one of the most frequent topics is how difficult it is to raise kids; comedians make fun of kids and in multiple instances even make jokes about violence toward children.
What's the story?
To fill the void of sports programming during the pandemic shutdown, in TOURNAMENT OF LAUGHS Jason Sudeikis hosts a comedy competition between 32 well-known comedians. Competitors are seeded into a giant head-to-head bracket and face off against one another with two-minute homemade videos, which include everything from standup material to scripted sketches to song parodies. Viewers decide who moves onto the next phase of competition, voting by phone or online, until a champion emerges. Participants include Margaret Cho, Jeff Ross, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Rapaport, Godfrey, Judah Friedlander, and other successful comics.
Is it any good?
There are plenty of genuinely funny people in this world, but most professional comedians tend to need time to write, test, and refine their jokes before they can actually make people laugh. Working at home in the absence of collaborators or audiences, the competitors on Tournament of Laughs -- successful joke-writers, all of them -- are at a severe disadvantage. They're basically exposing their rough drafts, so the good jokes are unfortunately few and far between. More often than not, the sketches result in a comedian's worst nightmare: dead air.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tournament. Did you recognize any of the competitors? Who are you rooting for? Do you think the matches were fair? What were your favorite videos?
What do the comedians have to say about the pandemic? What are the things that come up most frequently? How do their experiences relate to your own experience during the quarantine?
What makes a good two-minute comedy video? What do you think it'll take to win Tournament of Laughs?
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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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