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Television Comedies: Who Goes Too Far To Be Funny?

Haylee Saathoff |
November 7, 2012 | 7:42 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

(Comedy Central)
(Comedy Central)

It can happen to the best of us, that cringe worthy moment where you are innocently watching television with your family and the episode takes a turn for the worst, unexpectedly subjecting you an extremely inappropriate or awkward line that makes the whole room fall silent. Sound familiar? You bet it does. For me, this took place while watching television with about ten family members, when “Tosh.O“ came on the screen. It was all laughs for the first few minutes, until the shows star Daniel Tosh uttered a racial joke so inappropriate that silence immediately fell over the room. So this got me to thinking, which comedy shows are all in good fun and which cross the line to cruel?

MILD: "Chelsea Lately"

Chelsea Handler, the queen of comedy and the host of popular comedy show “Chelsea Lately”, isn’t exactly known for G-rated humor. However, she seems to have found the perfect formula to appeal to adult humor, yet all the while taking care not to cross the line when it comes to more sensitive subjects. “Chelsea Lately” is a show that can be watched with a parent without those cringe-worthy moments, and it is also a show that both you can your parents can get a laugh out of. “Chelsea Lately” offers up a good dose of humor without crossing the comedic boundary into uncomfortable territory. Watch a clip here.

MODERATE: "The Soup"

Joel McHale, host of the E! network’s “The Soup” is known for catching us all up on the TV we missed, while tossing in some witty banter to spice up what would otherwise be a typical recap. For the most part, “The Soup” could be watched with parents and family in the room, but there are still some jokes that seem as if they are going too far. McHale certainly offers a humorous take on the television today and is helpful in recapping the funny moments that we may have missed on our favorite show, yet he still needs to learn some discretion for what may be taking a well meaning joke just a little too far. Watch a (slightly inappropriate) clip here.


Daniel Tosh and his show “Tosh.O” are the source of my cringe-worthy moment mentioned above. I will admit that on occasion this show offers some funny jokes, most often appealing to a guys sense of humor, but still only a few moments of humor are in each episode. I find myself cringing at the things he says more often than not, and that I just do not like. If the show is intended to be a comedy, why should viewers feel guilty about laughing at a joke? Daniel Tosh often makes racial and other inappropriate jokes that leave the audience uncomfortable rather than laughing and wanting more. Comments made in “Tosh.O” consistently cross the line of what is appropriate, what is funny, and even what is respectful. Though the show is fairly popular, Daniel Tosh may want to take a few hints from "Chelsea Lately" and Joel McHale when it comes to toning down his crude comments. Guard your eyes/ ears before checking out this (completely inappropriate) clip here.

Reach Staff Reporter Haylee Saathoff here.







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