‘@Midnight’ Review – Is A Late Night Quiz Show the Right Answer for Hardwick?

Published 1 year ago by

midnight hardwick review host 570x294 @Midnight Review   Is A Late Night Quiz Show the Right Answer for Hardwick?

On the first episode of @Midnight - Comedy Central’s new internet-lambasting quiz/panel show - host Chris Hardwick went there, capitalizing on the growing perception of him as the “After-show” guy thanks to both The Talking Dead and Talking Bad by joking that the show was not about another show. But while that is true, @Midnight‘s actual target (the internet) refused to yield much inspiration for good comedy, revealing a vulnerability for a show that feels a bit like a re-packaged version of Hardwick’s old show, Web Soup.

Maybe the Internet – a place with the potential to highlight both the un-intentional magic and mayhem of human (and animal) misbehavior – doesn’t have enough juice to fuel a daily show, or reach those not “plugged in” to the digital social network. Other late night shows get to pick and choose from pop culture, current events, AND the Internet. They don’t have to address a week-old viral video (“Chinese Food”) that was likely only made to capitalize on our appetite for the absurd.

midnight hardwick review panelists @Midnight Review   Is A Late Night Quiz Show the Right Answer for Hardwick?

Comedy in a cage rarely resonates, and Indoor Kid‘s podcast host Kumail Nanjiani, stoner comic Doug Benson, and actress/comedian Natasha Leggero felt very limited as Hardwick asked them to react to celebrity tweets and come up with movie titles that sound like pooping, forcing them to throw out under-developed one-liners for arbitrarily assigned points. It is impossible for any of these panelists to really win the day, though, as the format guarantees Hardwick remains front-and-center.

This is somewhat understandable. After-all, the industrious Hardwick has the brand recognition, charm, and pre-installed cult-following that will get people to turn this show on in the first place – but while there is value in having him as a host, he isn’t funny enough to carry a late night show on his own and @Midnight’s rigid quiz show format – while unique to the US marketplace – feels like an anathema against humor.

Being different isn’t always good or funny. If this show had to be about the Internet and social media, Hardwick should have ditched the quiz show and let his guests pick apart the sometimes thin tidings provided by the web, allowing more organic comedy to develop. He chose something else, and now we are forced to hope that Twitter’s next service interruption causes 300 cheesy #FailWhale jokes and a quick cancellation.


@Midnight airs weeknights on Comedy Central @12AM ET

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. I love Chris Hardwick but I missed this.

  2. The “Super Fun Night” Barbie had me dying lol

  3. This guy annoyed me on Talking Bad and the Walking Dead aftershow.

  4. hardwick lol – I always giggle a bit when someone says his name #dontJudgeMe

  5. I turned it off halfway through, it was meh and I was sleepy.

  6. Chris Hardwick is VERY annoying… and VERY cheesy.

  7. He had a stand up act air the night before this show and honestly… I find him funnier and less annoying when he lets lose his dirty side.

  8. Hate Hardwick with the fiery passion of a Hades oven.

    Doesn’t deserve a single show he has, except his own podcast.

    Shut up, for the love of god. SHUT. UP.

  9. Really tired of this guy. He can be funny, but he sucks powerful when it comes to hosting anything. His two post-show shows have proven that. More importantly though is that I have seen him on six shows recently, and that would be too much if he were actually GOOD. Beyond a 20 minute standup routine with a few laughs, why does he get to hang out with the casts of top shows, or get handed a weekly midnight slot? Baffling!

    The show could entertain by letting comedians be funny, but the focus on points, applause relevance, and eliminating one comic as the loser make a mess of a paper-thin premise that Jezzleneck already did better. Dropping that layer of time wasting padding and pointless gameshow trappings would certainly make for a less stupid program. So would having a host that isn’t as mediocre as he is overexposed.

  10. I didn’t find it all that entertaining. Maybe if they showed part of a video and asked questions about what happens next or something relevant it might be funny, but this seemed to much of a ham fest.

  11. I thought the show was surprisingly spot-on, I was kind of expecting a rushed time slot filler since the host was the very-like able-but-perpetually-show-jumping Chris Hardwick. The format was just ‘constricting’ enough to keep the comedians on their toes and creating on the spot. Sometimes one of them would come out with an only passable response, but often the trio would pull out comedic gems, ones that were made far stronger and entertaining by the fact that they emerged in real time. It created a feeling of excitement and not knowing what to expect, even though this ‘game show’ is not really about winning anything but cackling all the way there. Hope it sticks, we need more stuff like it in this area, instead of watered down Tosh imitations like “Ridiculousness” (I’m ashamed even saying the name).

    • Also, just as a side note in regards to Josh Calkin’s post, obviously you have a particular negative view of Hardwick, before the show even started, that I don’t personally share, but I hadn’t yet considered this show in relation to Jeselnik’s. I have a similar but reversed feeling, I find Jeselnik a wholly unlikeable screen presence, and his attempts at pushing the envelope feel very desperate and unnatural for some reason. That may have something to do with why I liked this and you didn’t, and might also carry over to fans (or not fans) of that show

      • Nah. The reason why you liked this show is because you have incredibly bad taste.

  12. This review is for Chris I hope you read it…

    You are really funny and I love everything Nerdist but for my wife and I this show is a miss for us… I was expecting a talk show where you interview celebs, comedians, and nerdy type people and talk about pop culture, video games, movies, comedy, and the internet. That is what your good at. This is why Talking Dead and Talking Bad are good. They are witty and humorous. What is not humorous is talking about pooping and farts for ten minutes like last night’s (10/23) show. Please heed my warning Chris. I’m 30 years old and consider myself pretty aware of what people in there 20′s and 30′s are going to consider good. This show although it says above never been tried before, seems old and outdated. We do not need another viral video show. If you think about the pulse of the younger crowd, you can feel that viral videos are dying… It will die like everything else. There is too many people now making videos for the sake of making a video and getting hits to sell adverts. 5 years ago things were a little less staged and more spontaneous. Anyway back to my point. Anyone who pays attention can see that you (Chris) has gained a ton of popularity in the last couple years. So why not capitalize on that, and use the best thing you have going which is relatability, not fart jokes. Do a talk show Chris please.

  13. Personally I really don’t like the show. I mean I get where it can be a little funny in some areas.. but while I try to give some shows a chance, it just seems like I couldn’t like this one. Kind of like when they started giving comedy central roasters random shows. That stage was simply pitiful and hope they stick to stand up. We need more original ideas, not a twitter version of tosh.0. come on guys.

  14. As someone who loves British ‘panel quizzes’, I was slightly worried that @Midnight would feel too rushed to fit the American 22 minute format and maybe a bit too sanitised since America’s censorship laws and networks willingness to listen to ultra conservative complainants do make the news from time to time. Having watched the first four episodes now, the only real complaint I can come up with is Hardwick wiping away the scores, complete with hand motions, and even that is a super-insignificant complaint. The mix of guests has been good, the scoring system is more fun than I was expecting although you can occasionally see where the edit points are because the score is visible as opposed to say QI where they can edit as much as they want because the score often makes no sense anyway and isn’t tallied onscreen. Its fast-paced but they don’t seem opposed to occasionally pausing to explore a joke.

    I think its obvious that the show’s creators and producers are genuine fans of the format used in the UK, I just wish that Chris would explain it better, don’t refer to it as a game show because people have a set idea of what that is, and maybe allow the guests to be seated instead of standing behind The Price Is Right style lecturns. Hopefully this show succeeds and allows some other panel shows to be made in the US… How good would an American version of QI be with Greg Proops as the host, maybe have another go at making a US Never Mind The Buzzcocks with Jonah Ray and Andy Dick as team captains? Get Chris hosting another quiz or two and change his name to Carrdwick?

    • Just as long as it doesn’t lead to importing panel show no-talents like Phil Jupitus.

  15. Com’On Man! Single Out!

  16. This show is a total fail. Not funny, the host is annoying and cheesy. Come on comedy central u can do so much better. I searched for a credible site online to simply express my hate for this show thats how hard I worked to tell the world how awful it is

  17. This is the worst comedy program I have seen in a loong time. Having these supposed professional comedians trying to improvise a hilarious zinger in response to someone’s tweet is tedious, at best. You could actually see Patton Oswalt dying inside during his appearance, poor guy. Comedy ain’t easy, but it’s not rocket science.

  18. Garbage show that uses non-original recycled internet content for their comedy. Kind of like buzzfeed.

  19. I Love It!

  20. Title. I find the rotating cast entertaining and as the show goes along the comedians improve their wit. This show separates the set and method humorists like Patton Oswalt from the people who are just naturally witty, and I’ll sit through a minute of average one liners for a great one in “Cringeworthy”. I’ll probably hear two or three that get me going. Some comics can’t get me rolling twice in an hour (Bill Maher, anyone?). Hopefully it sticks around. The internet is a pretty broad topic, really, and its ever changing content will make sure there is no shortage of available material. This show could have a good 5 seasons in it.

  21. Given its success, I’d say this review got it dead wrong.

  22. This show is unbearable and so is chris hardwick. I have no idea how anyone can find this guy entertaining, this show sucks and he ruins talking dead.

  23. What a piece of garbage. They just keep handing Hardwick show after show, and they’re all terrible. I love the Nerdist podcast, except for the parts where Hardwick is talking, and this show had way too much of Hardwick talking.

  24. The show stinks & the editing is horrid.

  25. POINTS!!!!

  26. This nitwit keeps getting to do stuff and Tom Scharpling still isn’t back on the airwaves? What is this?

  27. Doctor Who sucks.

  28. Who is this dude servicing?
    How does someone this void of talent get gig, after gig, after gig.
    I cringe when I watch him .