- Comedy Central
By Emily Bodden, Daily Arts Writer
Published March 1, 2013
Ben Hoffman doesn’t deserve his own television show. Yet “The Ben Show” debuted Thursday, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. How the show has made it to a debut is a mystery.
The Ben Show
Thursdays 10 p.m.
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The format doesn’t really make sense. As a combination of “Tosh.0” and “Da Ali G Show,” “The Ben Show” cannot compete. It lacks the humor that Daniel Tosh, while majorly offensive and a bit of a dick, manages to find in his commentary on the clips he presents. And Ben Hoffman is no Sasha Baron Cohen of “Da Ali G Show.”
Each episode follows Hoffman as he attempts to perform a task interspersed with unrelated clips. For instance, in the first episode, the plot follows Hoffman as he decides whether or not he should buy a gun. The whole premise is ridiculous and doesn’t elicit laughs. Hoffman asks for advice from a variety of sources: a gun shop owner, his dad and a penis enlargement specialist. But he’s neither sincere nor sarcastic enough for it to work. Instead, each interview seems forced and uninspired.
While Hoffman boasts some impressive credentials, he doesn’t deliver. He’s had bit parts in “New Girl,” “Drunk History” and “Arrested Development,” and has written for some other Comedy Central shows. So, the potential is there, but it’s just too deeply buried beneath bad jokes and poor taste to expose itself.
There is confusion about the actual dynamic of Hoffman and his guests. The interviews don’t possess natural flow: He jokes with some of the guests, telling them to compliment his last sketch, but instead of coming off as endearingly geeky, his jokes are agitating after the first time they’re said. It’s unclear if the interviews are scripted or if they’re just that uncomfortable.
Hoffman’s dad is the sole beacon of hope for the show. In every episode, he and Ben Skype to discuss that week’s goal. His father appears to be in his sixties and dons thick glasses that cover half of his face. He’s sweet and a saint for having to deal with his son’s shenanigans. With every prodding, he simply laughs and shakes his head. His father sometimes even plays along. If anyone on “The Ben Show” deserves to have his own show, it should be Hoffman’s dad.
That being said, the only laugh earned in the first two episodes occurred in the first episode (“Ben Buys A Gun”), but was then cheapened by a similar sketch in the second. The scene involves a person, who’s probably classified as morbidly obese, walking along a crosswalk. With every step, Ben plays a deep note on a tuba. While childish and (quite honestly) dumb, the sketch appeals to immaturity and social inappropriateness. It lasts less than a minute, which might prevent the viewer from realizing how cheap of a laugh it provokes. If only the entire show could be as short.
Perhaps the entire series will follow this pattern as well and get canceled. This show doesn’t cater to immature 12-year-old boys, nor is it brimming with intellectual wit for the more sophisticated audiences. Hopefully Ben Hoffman finds his funny or else a second season might not be in the cards.