Tournament of Laughs

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Tournament of Laughs TV Poster Image
Comedy competition has edgy content, questionable laughs.

Parents say

age 18+
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

Comedians don't typically draw on positive messages for inspiration, and Tournament of Laughs is no exception. But the intent is to fetch laughs during a challenging time, and some viewers may be inspired by the DIY nature of the videos.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tournament of Champions features a notably diverse cast from all over the world and even a puppet (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), though that may not be sustained as viewers begin to vote people off. There are no real role models.

Violence

Very little violence appears on Tournament of Laughs, and when it does it's cartoonish (such as a dog getting shot out of a cannon). However, because a lot of the sketches have to do with raising kids during the pandemic, there are many "jokes" about corporal punishment. 

Sex

Sex is a frequent source of material for the comedians, though it's mostly only referred to, not described or depicted. There is plenty of verbal and visual innuendo -- the first episode includes a sketch about a massager. 

Language

Profanity abounds and includes "s--t," "assh--e," and many uses of "f--k", though those are bleeped out. 

Consumerism

Consumerism comes up about as frequently as it would on a sketch comedy show. Comedians do material mocking specific products or commercials, but not specific brand-name items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Comedians are seen drinking and smoking, and alcohol and drug use are used as material. 

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.

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Adult Written bydonjh1948 June 28, 2020

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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 RossGilbert GottfriedMichael Rapaport, GodfreyJudah 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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