While waiting for The Daily Show to come on last night, I had the misfortune of watching Daniel Tosh’s new animated “comedy” Brickleberry. If that sentence and it’s strategically placed quotation marks don’t sum up exactly what I thought about the show, then let me make it even more obvious: it is not good.
I’ve never found Daniel Tosh to be particularly funny, though I tolerate his show when nothing else is on TV. He makes for good background noise, but if you actually pay attention it’s just a grown man laughing at youtube videos. This is his job. His actual stand up is decent at best, but his schtick is simple.
Step 1: Make Offensive joke
Step 2: Say you’re just kidding
Step 3: Transition into more offensive comment
Step 4: Smirk
Now, I’m not really someone who is easily offended. I’ve been on 4chan. I’ve played online games. There isn’t a lot out there at this point that will shock me. I’m not going to turn the channel because of offensive humor. However, that can’t be a shows only gag.
Brickleberry follows (or more mimics) Family Guy’s style of humor. It’s actually a pretty spot on copy of the McFarlane School of Comedy, but whereas sometimes Family Guy has some actual jokes, Brickleberry is more of a “point and laugh”. By this I mean there is not a single joke in the pilot of Brickleberry. It’s just a selection of offensive statements and cutaways to irreverent, bottom-tier sight gags where the joke is simply AIDS or racism.
A joke has a setup and a payoff. There is none of this in Brickleberry. It intends to offend, but does nothing with it. South Park operates in a similar way, but intentionally pushes boundaries to make a point. There is no point to Brickleberry, it simply says “Here is a bear cub being raped, now laugh at it!” Anyone who will defend Brickleberry and comedians like Daniel Tosh will make the inevitable argument that critics are simply oversensitive and too easily offended. These people are thirteen and their opinions do not matter.
The fact that Brickleberry is so miserably bad is probably a good thing. I have doubts it will last a season. That’s a very, very good thing. Brickleberry represents a low point of comedy, a last futile gasp of the Family Guy imitators that have been plaguing mainstream animation for a long time. That is the benefit of Brickleberry. It offers something perfect to hate on the simple principle of quality.