Thursday, December 06, 2012
Recently on something called TruTV a new singing competition premiered -- KILLER KARAOKE. I figured – how perfect! Idiots have to sing karaoke while lowered into pools of ice water filled with snakes or while an involuntary body wax is being performed on them. A sure sign of the end of the world? You betcha, I'll pull up a chair.
So I grabbed my notepad, put on KILLER KARAOKE, and a strange thing happened. I started laughing not because the show was so wretched but because I was actually being entertained. Yes, KILLER KARAOKE is a showcase for utterly brainless buffoons, much like WIPE OUT but it is more. I don’t know any of the people involved so this is just speculation based on what I saw but KILLER KAROKE is also a brilliant parody. It’s a spoof on the relentless inanity of the genre, and like all good spoofs it doesn’t give itself away. They play it straight. And 90% of the morons who watch the show believe it’s straight. But there were certain tip offs to me to suggest there was something else going on here. Kinda like the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Kids enjoyed them at face value but there were lots of adult gags that went right over the little tykes’ heads. Same with the Phil Hendrie radio show.
Here was my first clue: The host is Steve-O from JACKASS fame. Not exactly Alex Trebeck. He introduced himself by saying, “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, but boy can I do destruction.” I sensed a little tongue-in-cheek.
Then he brought on his first contestant, Melissa, who said she sang in prisons. Steve-O asked her: “Did you ever sing for prisons in Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, or California?” When she said no he replied: “So I didn’t get a chance to catch any of your shows.” Okay, I laughed.
Since the beginning of television there have been game shows where contestants have had to do ridiculous stunts. BEAT THE CLOCK and TRUTH OF CONSEQUENCES to name just two. Goofballs would have to hop through obstacle courses with a fish in their pants, hilarity like that. KK just ups the ante. And then having the contestants sing while bombarded by cream pies and live scorpions, well who wouldn’t laugh at a heartfelt rendition of “You Are So Beautiful” punctuated by screams?
Other stunts were less successful. The body waxing stopped being funny real quick and the guy stepping into maggots, or whatever those were lost its charm.
I think a big mistake is that the show is an hour, not a half-hour. The joke becomes repetitious. And of course you hate yourself for laughing – for whatever reason you laughed.
The irony of course is that they try to terrorize contestants while they sing karaoke. There are a lot of people I know who would be scared shitless just to sing karaoke – even if it wa just on a stage for four drunks. You don’t need snakes to traumatize them for the rest of their lives. Just the track for “My Heart Will Go On.”
KILLER KARAOKE is on Friday nights on this TruTV (whatever that is). I hope the show goes long enough that they can have a CELEBRITY KILLER KARAOKE edition. God, I would love to hear Rosie from PREGNANT IN HEELS have to sing “Rolling In the Deep” while hanging upside down in a cage filled with birds.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM