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TV Preview: Hank Stuever on Comedy Central's Feeble "Tosh.0"

Comedian Daniel Tosh, caught in the Web.
Comedian Daniel Tosh, caught in the Web. (By Mattias Clamer -- Comedy Central)
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By Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 4, 2009

Comedy Central's "Tosh.0," debuting tonight at 10, presumes that you're not looking at the Internet enough, or that for all the Internet you are looking at, you're not looking at the right bad stuff. So comedian Daniel Tosh and his writers are here to help with this new, Joel McHale "Soup"-style clip job, with cruel riffs and minor sketches.

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Yes, just what the Internet needs: a television show. The net result (haha) is less a clearinghouse than just more clutter, buttressed by a lot of stale references (to President Bush, to Kramer's racist screaming fit, to Mel Gibson's drunk-driving arrest).

Tosh, 34, comes off like the guy at work who won't stop forwarding you links to YouTube and Funny or Die clips, and then walks over to your cubicle to supply his own commentary. He sends us "crush videos" (for people who have a fetish for watching obese people sit or step on objects), a clip of some peppy infotainment chick getting mowed down by an enormous inflatable ball, and a glimpse of Courtney Love's incomprehensible Twitter feed.

His cuteness goes only so far, as with a barely humorous play-by-play of a Danish news clip of a guy attempting (miserably) to karate-chop a row of 100 coconuts. Later, in a sketch about the popularity of "beer pong" clips on the Web, a porn star plays beer pong using her most-developed muscles.

It's elaboration for things that need no elaborating. And it's aimed at whom? The people who don't get on the Internet a lot probably do not clamor for a show that will digest the worst it has to offer. And people who know all this already will dismiss the show with their sneering, all-purpose response: FAIL.

Stripped down, it's really just a blooper show -- something as old as Dick Clark. In a roundabout way, "Tosh.0" acknowledges how unmoored most of us (even the hippest of us) feel in the daily media flood, when a TV is a computer is an iPhone, worried that we're always coming late (by milliseconds) to the juicy stuff. It's a false frenzy. Poor Tosh has been swept into something far bigger and junkier than himself.

But he does hold his own, especially in a segment where he pays a personal visit to "Afro Ninja," a San Fernando Valley stuntman who (apparently) is Web-infamous for a clip in which he auditioned for an athletic-shoe commercial and backflipped onto his face. Tosh spends a friendly afternoon with Afro Ninja, who somewhat sorrowfully admits that his FAIL will haunt him forever. At which point Tosh offers him the chance to perform the flip again, now. (And next week's second chance: Miss South Carolina -- "like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as . . ." -- gets to answer that pageant interview question again.)

Internet redemption! Undoing the FAIL! There's an idea worth exploring.

Tosh.0 (30 minutes) debuts tonight at 10 on Comedy Central.

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