Monday, April 7, 2014

Why I love @Midnight (and it's only partly because of a pre-existing crush on Chris Hardwick)

I mean, look at this cutie!

Thanks, Chris!

Okay, if you haven't seen the show yet, it's at "11:59 and 59 seconds!" on Comedy Central (the watermarks might have given that away), and it takes all the crazy and stupid and awesome and hilarious stuff that happened on the Interwebs that day and makes it into something that sort of has the shape of a game show. Well, everything that they can cram into half an hour. The contestants are comedians, friends, writers, stars of shows Chris Hardwick likes. The categories are ridiculous. A sample:
  • Contestants have three words to make Chris cringe
  • Contestants have to come up with as many weird things to suit a given hashtag as possible
  • Contestants have to write reviews for really weird stuff on Amazon, Yelp, or whatever they were found on
  • Contestants guess which of two ridiculous things are real--usually real tweets, or fanfic and fan art premises, or quotes from crazypeople
And guys, it's so much fun. I would watch much more than a half hour of this show. They somehow manage to cram so much stuff into that half hour (minus commercials) that it never feels like I'm being cheated, and I still want to watch more!


Because Chris Hardwick is one of us who happens to have a really awesome job where he gets to rub elbows with all the stuff we love--and it doesn't make him jaded or superior or anything shitty like that, it keeps him gleeful and puts him right between us and the most awesome stuff the internet and geek culture has for us.

Because the show is irreverent in that way where you know they really love it and know all the details, but they aren't afraid to poke fun at everything people take too seriously.

Because even though Chris is supposedly the host, he's actually turning over most decisions to the audience, to the contestants and the interwebs (though tweets, mostly), and gives back to the fans some of the love and participation they give him.

Because it's probably the most self-aware internet culture has ever been.

Because it's an excuse for really funny people to stand in a room together being the way they probably are when they're gaming at home--or, at least, the way we were when I had a gaming group.

Because they actually convinced a major channel to pay for this to happen four days a week, and that means I get to watch Chris Hardwick summing up the geek experience as it happens almost every day.

Because it offers a nice, easy-to-digest way to process all the piles of new memes and spoilers and trailers and jokes and videos and rumors and really weird stuff that comes out of the internet every day.

And most of all, because it's really funny.

There are times when it gets alarming--I mean, geeks do, and that part of why they're geeks--and there are times when the jokes go a little into touchy territory, but the point is to evenhandedly poke all those kneejerk spots and show us the holes in our logic as well as the logic of the things we love, and it's done so charmingly that most of the time it doesn't hurt. It's like the best slumber party ever. It's like how a world run by geeks would look. 

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