Thursday, December 06, 2012

KILLER KARAOKE -- amusing or the Apocalypse?

As you know I like to surf my channel guide in search of the worst, cheesiest, most appalling reality shows on television. The more insipid, the more ill-conceived, the more Hugh Hefner the better. From PREGNANT IN HEELS hosted by Rosie, a woman who can’t talk to Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie giving enemas to participants of a fat camp – I scour the globe hunting down these atrocities.

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?

Some of the stunts were clearly dreamed up by sick comic minds. In one a contestant had to be a waiter in a Mexican restaurant. On one side of the stage were items to be served, on the other was Steve-O at a table. And all the while the singing waiter was getting shocked periodically. Enough to lose his bearings, drop his items, etc. The items were trays of cocktails, dishes of beans, stacks of tortillas… and watching someone try to sing “I Was Born a Traveling Man” while drinks went flying was funny. I can just imagine the writers saying, “Okay, how can we get the most bang for our buck? What are the funniest things we can have him serve?”

My other favorite stunt involved some skeesix with balloons attached to his entire body, head to toe. He was given goggles to obscure his vision and sent on a path to get from one end of the stage to the other. Except the course was filled with cacti. He’s stumbling through this maze, balloons are popping, he’s yelping, things are crashing around him, and I found it just so surreally bizarre that I laughed out loud.

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.

23 comments:

The Curmudgeon said...

TruTV is what used to be Court TV, which brought cameras into sensational trials across the U.S.

In other (possibly related?) news, my home state (Illinois) is just beginning to let cameras into the courtrooms. I don't think our Supreme Court yet knows that "Killer Karaoke" is one possible outcome of this seemingly noble experiment in community participation and outreach.

Thank you for providing this warning.

Bill said...

TruTV, as was pointed out, was the old Court TV. It is now the home of "actuality" rather than "reality" meaning that they just make up the supposed "true" events you think you are seeing and they hide the fact that it is actors playing the various roles as a "reenactment". For instance on "Caught in the Act" we are led to believe that we are watching real shoplifters get caught in the act. Except the supposed Shoplifters are actually actors (there is a casting call out for actors that look like shoplifters), and the only clue is a split second disclaimer in the last milisecond of the credits. I thought it was entertaining until I realized it was all fake.

Mike said...

This is one of ours: Sing If You Can. No need to thank us, you're more than welcome to it. Consider it payback.
The absurdity is European (Jeux Sans Frontieres); the sadism is Japanese (Za Gaman).
So you think it's a spoof? It's a fine line. The same company did once make a spoof game show on the Oriental love of gambling (Banzai).

Mac said...

I just watched snakes-in-water-tank woman on youTube and it is very funny. The way she screams in horror then returns to the song is brilliant. If this is how the world ends it's fine with me; much better than a meteorite or alien invasion.

Johnny Walker said...

We've now gotten to the point where people seem to believe just about everything they see and read. With journalistic standards dropping every day, anything that makes the audience question what they're seeing is fine by me!

Andy Kaufman, we could sure use you right now.

KarlT said...

60 minute comedies that would work better at 30 minutes would be a great post in and of itself. If you're looking for any other recent examples, I submit The Wedding Band on TBS. Lightweight, good reoccurring gag with performing pop hits in different genres, experienced cast, way too long.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Alls I watch on truTV is World's Dumbest.... Funny show.

But admittedly, when I started seeing promos for Killer Karaoke, my initial reaction was, "Man, these networks are REALLY, SERIOUSLY OUT OF IDEAS!"

Emily Blake said...

I'm still convinced this is the real-life equivalent of "Ow! My Balls!"

And we are one step closer to The Running Man.

Johnny Walker said...

Re: The Running Man

Emily, I said exactly the same thing with regard to that New York Post cover yesterday!

Cap'n Bob said...

Forgive the correction but it's Truth or Consequences. I remember that show when the host co-starred with a monkey named Beulah.

Reality shows that aren't even real have to be the nadir of entertainment.

Boo said...

Ken, do you know where this is from?

http://i48.tinypic.com/nqo755.jpg

Zirbert said...

Ken, I don't know which I hope more fervently: that you're making this up, or that you aren't.

Anonymous said...

I was part of a focus group that watched this show a few months ago and one of our biggest suggestions was making it 30 minutes instead of 1 hour. Guess they didn't listen.

Janice said...

This post reminded me of an over-the-top game show I watched as a kid in the 70's called "Make Me Laugh". While I now consider myself an enthusiast of sophisticated humor, I have to admit that this clip from the old show indeed still makes me laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9aTfJa0LQU

Pat Reeder said...

I'm sorry, but I'm not watching this until I get some assurance that they will actually be killing karaoke singers.

Mike said...

A spoof as in fake? No. A parody, played for laughs? Yes. The Banzai spoof had no contestants. As per your suggestion: Sing If You Can only had celebrity contestants.

David Whitham said...

Animal cruelty is never humorous. Those snakes, which are pets to many, were obviously in distress in that cold water

Bob Claster said...

This is very reminiscent of a show I worked on about 10 years ago for Fox called THE CHAMBER, a game show in which contestants were tortured while being asked trivia questions. Don't believe it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-QPHZNbLVE

Johnny Walker said...

Wait, so is it a hoax?

Rob said...

Been watching KK here in aus, hilarious..

So how many legal indemnitys do the contestants have to sign, or do they just film it in Mexico?

Dawn Blair said...

is anybody concerned about the poor snakes being put into 42 degrees water?

Anonymous said...

Made me laugh at first but got repetitious real quick, the same 6 stunts on every show, boo! Dont like any of the stunts involving the animals, not cool! Not funny! C'mon with all the years of Jackass you cant come up with more stunts?? leave the animals out of it. Why not just have contestants try to sing while antiquing the hell out of em or while wearing the fart bubble helmut? ? And the turntable at the end doesnt look like there is nearly enough padding around it.

Anonymous said...

You neglected to mention the caption during the episodes that mention no animals were harmed...