Tough Crowd Post Mortem

Filed Under Late Night

I always admire the futility of Save Our Show campaigns. To me it’s better to be a cult hit than a hit hit, the near cult hits that make up “Save _____” campaigns reflect that there’s something about the show that people are missing, myself included in this case. Cringehumor.net’s savetoughcrowd campaign may not have prevent Colin’s cancellation, but it got me and hopefully a few other viewers to take a second look.

I’ve never been a big fan of Tough Crowd. It seemed pretty hit or miss depending on the guests, plus the yelling over each other made it impossible to hear a lot of jokes. But now, I can see how fans love the rawness of it. In an age where even show that trade in dark humor strive for an ultraprofessional look, something that shows everything warts and all is amazing. Other shows on Comedy Central have this aesthetic too… Insomniac springs to mind (which consistently showed Dave Attell‘s flubs, trips and bombs amid the late night living it up). I think the fact that Tough Crowd lived for two years is pretty amazing… it’s pretty much only-on-Comedy-Central stuff, even frequent guest Jim Norton gives ‘em credit for that in his blog.

That said, I don’t think the cringehumor fans show just be grateful for what they got. The camaraderie of the comedians on the show and its writers, many who like Laurie Killmartin describe it as the best experience of their lives, along with the intense devotion of its fans shows that something was lost here. It might be done, but at least Tough Crowd might be invoked with other long lamented CC Shows like Strangers with Candy, Upright Citizens Brigade and TV Funhouse. Comedy Martyrs like these kinda live on. (Hell, look at what the Comedy never-wases do.)

In fact, the faithful can continue to bemoan Tough Crowd’s cancellation. The savetoughcrowd campaign is still supplying letters and address to see CC exec. And if you’re in NY, you can check out Wednesday’s Rejection Show, which feature an all Tough Crowd guest list. Presuably, we’ll get to see some stuff Comedy Central was nervous to air, if you can imagine that (and really, if you can’t… you should go. You’d be surprised).

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