There are times when the new series "Who Gets the Last Laugh?" is at least a little amusing. But I became ever more skeptical the more the show insisted on its own hilarity.
Premiering at 10 o'clock tonight on TBS, the show is the latest in TV's very long line of hidden-camera shows. The gimmick here is that in each episode three funny celebrities plan and oversee the pranks being played on regular people. The studio audience decides which of the three celebs came up with the best prank, and the winner's favorite charity gets $10,000.
In the premiere, the three comics are Kunal Nayyar of "The Big Bang Theory," Bill Bellamy and Jeff Dye. The second show features D. L. Hughley, Danny Masterson and Cheri Oteri, while the third has Aries Spears, Natasha Leggero and Andy Dick; as still more evidence that the reality-TV talent pool is getting drained, both Dick and Hughley are also in the current cast of "Dancing With the Stars."
As for the pranks performed by a recurring cast of players, they include people's cars getting "accidentally" sprayed with human waste, vehicles disappearing from a car wash, people getting pulled over and subjected to increasingly absurd interrogation (yes, there are a lot of car-related stunts), men thinking a woman is coming on to them only to have her husband show up, and an envelope full of cash going missing.
As I said, the show is occasionally funny as the prank victims' exasperation or embarrassment increases. Although the setup has the celebrities relaying instructions to their pranksters while remaining in hiding, Hughley -- with the car-wash bit -- improves his segment by finding a way to participate via phone.
But my problem with the show is the relentlessness of the on-camera amusement. Crowd laughter, presumably from the studio audience, is loud and frequent. The celebrities are also shown laughing at their own cleverness, both while in hiding and on the show's set as the videos play; the video playing also gives host Donald Faison and other celebs a chance to show their amusement. The ha-ha overkill becomes numbing, and what might pass for genuinely funny stuff gets lost in it.
Cooper, Jackson double winners
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bradley Cooper and Samuel L. Jackson were double winners at the MTV Movie Awards
Cooper won the first Golden Popcorn prize of the night for his performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" and returned to the stage to accept best kiss honors for his smooch with Jennifer Lawrence in that film.
Jackson claimed two awards. He and Jamie Foxx won best WTF moment for their scenes in "Django Unchained," and Jackson joined members of "The Avengers" cast to accept the best fight prize.
The MTV Movie Awards are as much about the anticipated movies of the upcoming summer season as they are about the winning films of last year.
The show included unseen footage from next month's "Iron Man 3" and the world premiere of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" trailer. Stars from other summer films-- including Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto from the "Star Trek" sequel and Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez from the "Fast & Furious" franchise -- appeared on stage during the ceremony.
Other presenters included Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Snoop Dogg/Lion and Kim Kardashian.