"Tosh.0" a snappy mash-up of viral videos, stand-up

Wed Jun 3, 2009 11:27pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Comedy Central's "Tosh.0," a weekly clip show devoted to viral videos, plays like a weird hybrid of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "The Soup," but it succeeds on the strength of host Daniel Tosh, a talented stand-up comedian who isn't above poking fun at the show's premise even while gleefully introducing a fresh batch of clips. He's self-deprecating and quick-witted enough to keep the action breezing right along.

What's more, the show's simple setup -- Tosh in front of a green screen, riffing on videos -- allows for an unfiltered performance, and it's augmented with taped remotes that really let Tosh shine.

The premiere -- Thursday (June 4) at 10 p.m. -- kicks off with Tosh cycling through random viral videos after imploring viewers to stick with the series and let it hit a groove. These moments have the potential to be the show's weakest because, though Tosh's commentary is enjoyable, it looks just like "Soup" and feels like the same jokes everybody makes online when they watch these videos themselves. The show finds its feet when Tosh introduces special segments, like when he replays a video a few frames at a time and expands on the joke narrative.

The best of these special segments is Web Redemption, in which Tosh visits someone who gained infamy in a viral video and gives them the chance to atone for their foolishness. In the opener, he pays a visit to Mark Hicks, better known as the Afro Ninja, who was immortalized for spectacularly biting the ground during an attempted backflip stunt combo complete with nunchucks. Tosh hangs out at Hicks' house to lift weights and dangle his feet in the swimming pool before letting Hicks re-enact his stunt and try to get it right. The segment capitalizes on the weird notoriety of being a viral video star, but Tosh's fun never turns malicious. He's happy just to goof around, letting his situation, and not his subject, become the punch line.

There probably aren't too many places the series can go, but that's the nature of viral video. It's always basically the same (someone is either getting hurt, vomiting or preaching), but it's usually good for a quick laugh, and that's "Tosh.0." Overall, it's a snappy clip show and a fun addition to Comedy Central's late-night lineup.

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