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 Liza Koshy is a YouTube comedy channel composed of short videos created by Koshy. Koshy plays different self-created characters, takes viewers shopping or driving with her, and posts satirical how-to videos. The language and topics can veer into second-grade territory: periods, underwear, body parts, poop, "boobs," "booty," "pissed," "bunghole," "pee pee." Koshy also uses words like "freaking" and "fricking" instead of four-letter words. There are also some mild sexual jokes. "Don't make me spank you with my Vans," she says, pretending to be a skater boy talking to a girlfriend. Some jokes also circle around drugs, with Koshy referring to "420" (pot slang) and making jokes about someone selling "sugar" (with air quotes) before advising kids "Don't buy the 'sugar!'" Otherwise, Koshy's videos are silly and fun, nonthreatening and relatable. She talks openly about her multiracial heritage and background (and calls herself "a little brown girl with big dreams"), and encourages viewers to laugh at life and accept themselves as they are.
What's the story?
If you've ever used a hairbrush as a microphone and delivered a comic monologue into your bedroom mirror, LIZA KOSHY's comedy will look familiar. Goofy and absurd, Koshy tries on accents and characters, instructs viewers on the finer points of taking the perfect selfie or putting together a "bro" costume for Halloween, and has everyday adventures: a walk around her neighborhood, a trip to the grocery store, a cooking segment in her kitchen. In fact, unless Koshy is taking her camera along on an outing, most of her videos are filmed in her kitchen or bedroom, familiar backdrops that add to the channel's homegrown feel.
Is it any good?
Silly, playful, and lots of fun in a way that will appeal to tweens, Liza Koshy's YouTube channel will make kids laugh without making parents worry. The laughs are good-natured and poke fun at pretensions and absurdities instead of people -- tweens could do worse for a role model than the confident, good-humored Koshy. Koshy has the expressive face and comic timing of a true absurdist, and her comic targets are as relatable as she is. In one particularly popular segment, she goes to a local dollar store to find bargains. "This tastes like 'Made in China,'" she says, licking one plastic package. "See it says 'Made in China,' 'Hecho en China' here on the back -- I'm not being racist!" She then picks up an enema and advises viewers "Now, anything you're going to stick up your butt, you don't want to get it for just a dollar."
In other popular videos, she plays "Helga," Koshy's "cousin" from a "foreign country" who has an Eastern European-esque (?) accent. "What's one word that best describes your mother?" she's asked. "Mom," says the deadpan Helga. "Would you rather be buried or cremated?" "I'm not dead yet!" answers Helga. It's junior-high humor, but it's nonthreatening, and Koshy comes off as a funny friend kids would like to hang out with. If the slightly naughty jokes and language, or the "mock-the-foreigner" humor in some of Koshy's skits passes your family's standards, this channel is fun, frothy humor for young viewers and a much gentler bet than many humor channels.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why videos like those on Koshy's channel are more interesting to teen and tween viewers than televised skit shows like Saturday Night Live. What do the YouTube shows offer that network TV doesn't? What are the differences between the two?
How has Liza Koshy's humor changed over time? Has the humor matured as she has? What age did Koshy originally appeal to? Has that changed?
Families can talk about why Koshy frequently plays a character as opposed to appearing as her real self. What's the difference? Would she be as funny or able to do the same things if she weren't in character?
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