Television review

Who gets the last laugh? It might not be viewers

 

Akron Beacon Journal

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.

Hosted by Donald Faison ( Scrubs), it’s 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 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 Tuesday’s premiere, the three comics are Kunal Nayyar ( 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 for the pranks, they include people’s cars getting “accidentally” sprayed with human waste, vehicles disappearing from a car wash, men thinking a woman is coming on to them only to have her husband show up, and an envelope full of cash going missing. In each case, the prank is performed on several people, with their reactions intercut for the short comedy segments.

As I said, the show is occasionally funny as the prank victims’ exasperation or embarrassment increases. My problem is with the relentless on-camera amusement. Crowd laughter, presumably from the studio audience, is loud and frequent. The celebrities are also shown laughing at their own cleverness. The video playing gives Faison and guests another chance to show their amusement. The ha-ha overkill becomes numbing, and what might pass for genuinely funny stuff gets lost.

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