->''"It's been one week since they had the fight \\
With the Siamese twins and the transvestite \\
Five days since that awful brawl \\
They still haven't gotten the blood off the wall \\
It's been three days since the bitter feud \\
between the KKK and that gay Jewish black dude..."''
-->--'''Music/WeirdAlYankovic''', "Jerry Springer"

An unscripted show with real people, where the point is to point and laugh, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian%27s_fallacy "Gee, those people are stupid!" or "Gee, those people are jerks!"]] Everybody in the cast is either a moron, a {{Jerkass}}, insane, or all of the above. The audience sees these people humiliate themselves in public, and is comforted that [[ExpectationLowerer no matter how messed up their own lives may be, at least there are people whose lives are even more messed up]].

Sometimes, the cast includes a NoRespectGuy, who is [[OnlySaneEmployee relatively decent]] but kind of a stick in the mud. The audience winds up snickering at them just as much as at the rest of the cast.

With these shows, the single most important job is that of casting director. The host doesn't need to do much; just wait for the cast of losers to show up, sit back, and enjoy the comedy. The art of casting them reached its heights (or depths) in three genres: talk shows, RealityTelevision, and {{Game Show}}s. The final element is putting the cast under as much stress as possible (hostile studio audiences for the talk show, cramped conditions and hunger for Reality Television, and seizure-inducing sets for the Game Show) so they ''really'' crack up.

Since these are real people involved in unscripted pain, there are people who [[DudeNotFunny can't help but sympathize with them]]. This is often rebutted with the claim that because they're "dumb enough" to have it filmed, they deserve to be laughed at, even though they are all essentially events that [[DidntSeeThatComing the victim could not have predicted]].

A variant of the Point and Laugh Show is found in books and the Internet. Instead of rounding up losers as the television shows do, the variant uses the far more efficient technique of listing anecdotes of losers who have yet to appear on TV.

These are almost always GuiltyPleasures, and usually use BigotVsBigot. Compare SadistShow and ImmoralRealityShow.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Talk Shows ]]
* The TropeCodifier of the Point and Laugh Show, and probably the best known example, is ''[[Series/TheJerrySpringerShow Jerry Springer]]''. Bring on the cross-dressing dog fetishists. Bring on the albino midgets. Bring on the homicidal glue-sniffing trailer trash. Bring on the [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs homicidal glue-sniffing cross-dressing albino midget dog fetishist trailer trash]]. It's an old-school circus sideshow freak attraction for the new millennium.
** ''The Steve Wilkos Show'' is a tad saner, replacing the sideshow freaks with drug addicts, deadbeat parents, and domestic abusers. It still fits well within this, of course. It's also a "point and watch while an [[BaldOfAwesome intimidating bald guy]] tears jerks a new one show".
** Springer goes the extra mile and has the ''audience'' mock the people on stage, in addition to his own DeadpanSnarker lines.
* Phil Donahue may be the TropeMaker. He started out more high-minded (for that matter, so did Jerry) but switched to a Point and Laugh Show with time.
* Morton Downey Junior pioneered the trash-talk format.
* Laura Bozzo in Peru, and now in Mexico, makes Jerry Springer look like a prude. Any of the reincarnations of her show is essentially this. Of special mention is her show ''Laura en América''.
* Sally Jesse Raphael.
* Montel Williams, although for years he was much more high concept and focused more on helping people.
* Ricki Lake. This even gets referenced in Music/TheOffspring song "Pretty Fly For a White Guy" in the chorus with "if you don't rate/just overcompensate/at least you know you can always go on Ricki Lake."
* Bill Cunningham
* Cristina Saralegui's show ''El Show de Cristina'', although it cooled down with time.
* [[Series/{{Maury}} Maury Povich]] (who also started out more high-minded, but chased the LowestCommonDenominator fast).
* Jenny Jones started off fairly normal like Jerry Springer was in the early days and had more or less the same format as Oprah for the first two seasons, but declining ratings led to the show getting a HotterAndSexier Re-Tool, though nowadays it's mostly remembered as being the only Point and Laugh Show that led to one guest ''murdering'' another one later.
* Semi-averted with Oprah Winfrey, who also rounds up freaks and somehow manages to seem more classy than her rivals.
* Parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Freak Strike", where the genetic freaks demand that talk shows display freaks who are actually true, genetic freaks, and not "[[AcceptableTargets just stupid trailer-trash from the South]]".
* Brits may be more familiar with ''Vanessa Feltz'', ''Trisha Goddard'' and, most notoriously, ''Jeremy Kyle''.
* ''Series/DoctorPhil'' will frequently bring in guests who have no serious problems, just to gawk and criticize their lifestyle, like men who have many piercings and body modifications, or plural marriages.
* The French show ''C'est mon choix'' ("It's my choice") was the same kind of thing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Reality Television ]]
* ''Series/TheRealWorld'' is the Trope Maker for this sub-genre of the Point and Laugh Show. Cram Bigot Vs. Bigot into cramped space until they're ready to kill each other, and you're good to go.
** Curiously, in its early seasons ''The Real World'' was a much tamer and more optimistic show, based around placing several people of vastly differing cultural backgrounds into a space together and observing what sorts of conflicts emerge, with an underlying message of mutual respect and tolerance. MTV's NetworkDecay probably contributed to the show's SeasonalRot.
* ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' is the Trope Codifier, where the cast are always a group who would never last 10 minutes working in the same office, let alone a real survival situation. One of the keys to the show's success is that the contestants have a strong incentive to keep their most obnoxious teammates around and vote off the decent ones...you want to be up against a bigger jerk than yourself in the finals.
** The more GenreSavvy contestants, having realized what the producers want, send in audition videos that make themselves look bad. Season 3's Kelly claimed that her main hobby was "manipulating men," but she turned out to be a decent person (by Point and Laugh Show standards, anyway). She later explained that [[LogicBomb she wasn't a manipulative person, but knew that if she lied and said she was, it would get her on the show]].
* ''Series/BigBrother'', especially the British version. One reason given for the first American season's failure in the ratings is that the audience, not other contestants, voted people off. As a result, the most obnoxious people were voted out early...and the whole point of the show was killed.
* ''Series/ImACelebrityGetMeOutOfHere''
* ''Series/JerseyShore''
* ''Series/RoadRules''
* Any other Bunim-Murray Productions show.
* ''Chains of Love''
* ''Married by America''
* Parodied by the SadistShow ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'', where the characters frankly aren't much worse than the real people they're parodying.
* ''Hot or Not?''
* ''Series/TheBachelor''
* ''Series/TheBachelorette''
* ''Series/JoeMillionaire''
* A variant is the live-courtroom show. ''Series/ThePeoplesCourt'' tried to be high-minded, but it was eclipsed by ''Series/JudgeJudy'' and its [[FollowTheLeader imitators]], where you weren't sure whether the plaintiff or defendant deserved to lose more.
* ''Divorce Court''.
* The [=truTV=] show ''Series/BaitCar'' -- the show's ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin and treats the audience to people stealing a car that the police deliberately leaves on the street. Once the car is a short distance away, the police turn off the car and arrest the thieves. HilarityEnsues when said suspects lie or give a painfully straight answer about why they stole the car.
--> '''Police Officer''': Why did you steal the car?
--> '''Car Thief''': I was gonna go get me some bitches, man.
** Special mention goes to the short-lived ''Snap Judgment'', where the host seemed to be daring the MoralGuardians to force him off the air. Eventually they did, and he moved on to hosting a serious talk show.
** The same network's ''Speeders'' or ''[=truTV=] Presents: World's Dumbest...'' fit here as well.
* Also in the "not-quite entrapment" genre of true crime shows is ''ToCatchAPredator'', except here, we point and laugh (and be morally outraged by) ''paedophiles''.
--> '''Charlie Brooker''': Despite the subject matter, I'm have little doubt that the whole thing is surreptitiously played for laughs
* ''Series/WifeSwap''
* ''Series/{{Supernanny}}'' has this sometimes, with parents who are {{Extreme Doormat}}s and let their children hit and slap them, and parents who are the opposite and punish their children so much that it doesn't mean anything anymore.
* Inverted unexpectedly in ''Series/TheJoeSchmoShow''[='=]s first season, when the Joe turned out to be such a genuinely nice guy that the producers decided that they would essentially turn the concept on its head two episodes into production. It had started out as a "How much can we humiliate this guy who thinks he's on a standard house-bound reality show" show, with all but one person being actors and pretty much every Reality trope ever being brought into play. It turned into "How many Housebound-Reality tropes can we throw at this guy before he becomes GenreSavvy?". The second season was more of a mixed bag. One of the schmoes caught on and had to be replaced, and in general, people felt that neither of the other two were as likeable as Matt. Despite this, the producers still tried to portray them in a positive light and succeeded to some degree, with Amanda noting in an interview that she wanted money, but not at the expense of hurting someone else, and Tim coming across as a happy-go-lucky guy who could be quite tender at times.
* ''Series/HellsKitchen'' falls into this during the later seasons as many of the contestants seem to be either incredibly stupid, obnoxious, or a combination of both.
* [[NetworkDecay Most of TLC's current lineup seems to be this]]. ''My Strange Addiction'' and ''My Crazy Obsession'' are both shows on that channel, along with specials about extremely overweight people and extreme couponers. ''My Strange Addiction'' is especially controversial for lumping harmless quirks and (with their cosplay episode) ''perfectly ordinary people'' in with those who do stupid, unsanitary, or otherwise dangerous things, with little if any distinction between the two.
** Despite being mostly reenactments, ''Series/SexSentMeToTheER'' can be seen as falling into this category. While the show does have a real cautionary tale behind most stories, the main appeal of the show is the humor to be found in people landing themselves in painful and awkward situations during sex.
* ''Series/HereComesHoneyBooBoo''
* ''AmericasFunniestHomeVideos'', but since the videos are expressly submitted by the families who filmed them it's only in good fun (possibly the only optimistic take on this trope).
* ''Series/CanadasWorstDriver'' does have serious intentions for trying to make bad drivers somewhat better, but most of the time it ''is'' played for laughs (especially when you see the infamous Water Tank Challenge).
** Considering all of the other ''X's Worst Driver'' shows ''are'' specifically point-and-laugh shows (''America's Worst Driver'', for example, took bad drivers, put them through time trial obstacle courses requiring extreme precision, and then blew up the worst driver's car), this one stands out for its educational angle.
* ''Series/{{Cops}}'' shows, well, [[CaptainObvious cops]] dealing with people so imbecilic that it's a wonder they haven't died in freak nail clipper accidents; and people whose emotional control is one step removed from "poo-flinging monkey".
* ''World's Wildest Police Chases'' and its brethren are what happens when the ''Cops'' subjects described above get hold of a multi-thousand pound automobile.
** By contrast British equivalents, such as PoliceStop and PoliceCameraAction, generally avert this, trying to be more serious exposes of bad driving with the aim of informing and educating viewers on driver safety and the like.
* ''Series/PennAndTellerBullshit'' can often serve this purpose in its (sometimes questionably argued) deconstruction of... well, proponents and practitioners of ''Bullshit''.
* ''My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding'', to the point where the producers were sued for libel by the UsefulNotes/{{Roma|ni}} families appearing on it because they'd employed [[DocumentaryOfLies some rather selective editing to boost ratings.]]
* ''Series/IWannaMarryHarry'', a ''Bachelor''-esque dating show in which twelve women are led to believe they're vying for the affections of Prince Harry. The truth is that he's just an average Joe who sort of looks like the prince, but most of the women fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
* ''Series/{{Bridezillas}}''
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Game Show ]]
* The TropeMaker for the Game Show version is probably the original broadcast of ''TheGongShow''. A horde of HopelessAuditionees made fools of themselves until they were gonged out by has-been celebrities. It's hard to say whether the celebrities or the Hopeless Auditionees look worse. The more Genre Savvy auditionees did novelty acts instead of acts that required talent.
** A similar, more recent version was 30 Seconds to Fame, where the HopelessAuditionees had to survive 30 seconds without getting voted off the stage by the audience.
* ''Series/AmericanIdol'' may be the TropeCodifier. The Hopeless Auditionees are often more popular than the ones with actual talent, and the early episodes that show pre-screenings are some of the biggest draws. The producers have long since realized that they get their best ratings by lying to the real hopeless cases, letting them think they're good, and sending them all the way to Simon Cowell. Among the fans, votefortheworst.com tries to get the Hopeless Auditionees as far as they can go.
* ''AreYouSmarterThanAFifthGrader'' Generally, the answer's no, but [[FridgeLogic considering how many people are going to remember gradeschool trivia (assuming the subject was even taught in their school)]], it's definitely to be expected. But then, the contestants [[GenreSavvy know what they're getting into]].
* ''The Blame Game'' (''I've Got a Secret'' meets ''JudgeJudy'' and ''Jerry Springer'' for coffee)
* ''The Chair''
* ''{{Cram}}''
* ''Series/{{Distraction}}''
* ''Dog Eat Dog''
* ''Series/EstateOfPanic''
* ''FearFactor''
* ''{{Series/Greed}}''
* ''Series/RemoteControl''
* ''Series/StreetSmarts''
* ''Strip Poker''
* Although ''Series/{{Jeopardy}}'' and ''WheelOfFortune'' are not strictly part of this genre, there is a large sub-fandom who enjoys the show because they can feel superior to the losers who punt the easiest questions. DaveBarry pointed out that while he knew the lights and noise distract you, he was sure he'd never mess up as badly...until he appeared on ''Wheel of Fortune'' himself, and found himself a deer in the (literal) headlights.
** There is also a sub-fandom who aren't really a fandom, so much as a {{Hatedom}} for particularly smart and smug contestants who always win. Ken Jennings, who had the biggest winning streak in ''Jeopardy!'' history, got the biggest Hatedom of them all.
** The recurring ''SaturdayNightLive'' skit "Celebrity Jeopardy!" is essentially a fictional version of this.
* This is ninety percent of ''Repo Games'' raison d'etre. Perhaps a few people watch it for the trivia, but the ''real'' draw is seeing poor people in awful neighborhoods get the twenty-thousand dollar cars they haven't made a payment on towed away because they don't know basic trivia. Who the awful person is in this scenario is up to you.
** It doesn't help that the questions vary ''wildly'', ranging from "What is the capital of Mexico?" to "Who was the billionaire 3rd-party candidate in the 1992 presidential election?"
* ''[[{{Series/Wipeout2008}} Wipeout]]''. A mild example, as the humor is derived from {{slapstick}} and all the contestants know perfectly well that they can expect some pratfalls. So while the laughs are on them, it's quite good-natured. (And in fact, sometimes if you find an episode on YouTube, you may see the contestant on there saying how ''fun'' the course was or how funny their Pratfalls are.)
* ''SilentLibrary''
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]
* ''The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said'' and its many sequels, by Ross Petras, were ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Petras' series and its [[FollowTheLeader many imitators]] lost much of their reason for being with the rise of the internet, when lists of dumb quotes became freely available to all.
* Similarly, there is a whole genre of pop gonzo history (found in such places as the ''UncleJohnsBathroomReader'' series and ''A Scandalous History of the Roman Emperors'') that consists entirely of "look how stupid and/or obnoxious this historical figure was!" Like the dumb-quote books, the Internet has been a problem for them.
** This genre may be OlderThanFeudalism, as some of the ancient Roman historians (especially Seutonius) delighted in reporting the most petty court gossip they could find and ignoring big policy questions.
** It's also worth noting that most of these books are crammed with fabrications, urban legends, and other lies. The worst are lists of FamousLastWords, which are about [[BeamMeUpScotty 90% fake]].
* The book ''Non Campus Mentus'' is the most famous of several books that list bad answers on high school students' papers, featuring how Magellan "circumcised the globe" and the famous "Abe Lincoln was born in a log cabin that he built with his own two hands."
** This, in turn, is a genre OlderThanRadio, starting with the 19th-century ''English as She Is Taught,'' which had students who thought "aborigines" meant a mountain chain in North America. When MarkTwain reviewed it, he quoted the student who thought that "there are many fossils in theology departments" and added that sometimes they do get one right.
* The ''Website/DarwinAwards'' series, although many of the lists circulating as "Darwin Award Winners" are false lists containing urban legends. The real lists are [[http://www.darwinawards.com/ here]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Any one of those circulating e-mail lists of "true stupid things people said" (many of which aren't actually true).
* Rinkworks.com's "things people say" section is the internet version of Ross Petras, with the exact same quotes.
* Something Awful, Encyclopedia Dramatica and their ilk feed on this sort of thing. Indeed, this is actually where the former gets its name, pointing and laughing at 'something awful' a member finds on the Internet.
* Website/NotAlwaysRight
** Now has several {{spinoff}}s, most notably Website/NotAlwaysWorking (focuses on bosses and co-workers, where the original focuses on customers).
** The developers have since expanded, adding ''Not Always Learning'' (focusing on school, college, teachers and students), ''Not Always Romantic'' (focusing on relationships), ''Not Always Related'' (focusing on families), and finally ''Not Always Friendly'' (focusing on friends and random people you might see on the street). They have also started including many anecdotes about surprisingly nice, rational, and/or otherwise sane customers/coworkers/etc., but their focus is still mostly about stupidity and incompetence.
* Etiquette Hell
* CakeWrecks
* Website/{{Cracked}}
** Funnily enough, [[http://www.cracked.com/article_17142_5-ways-common-sense-lies-you-everyday.html one article]] actually acknowledges how bullshit most people's assumption that they would have done something differently are.
* [=PassiveAggressiveNotes.com=]
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ig_Nobel_Prize Ig Nobel Prizes]] are about silly or weird things deduced ForScience, with occasional forays into straight parody (such as the Ig Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the inventor of the KaraokeBox, "thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other"). In their defense, the awards are split about evenly between "Wow, that's stupid!" and "Huh... never thought about looking at it that way", and most of the award-winners are genuinely flattered (said inventor accepted the prize in person).
* [=ThereIFixedIt.com=]
* [=PeopleOfWalmart.com=] used to be this. [[UnfortunateImplications Now it's "how dare fat people go out in public!"]] most of the time.
* Website/FundiesSayTheDarndestThings, or FSTDT.
* WebVideo/WhatTheFuckIsWrongWithYou
* {{MST}}s are this for {{Fanfic}}s.
* In a similar vein, WebVideo/{{Retsupurae}} to the SturgeonsLaw of {{Lets Play}}s, Flash animations/games, Kickstarters, and so on. It should be noted that it doesn't generally get too scathing unless the [=LPer=], or Flash animator, or Kickstarter-er is really, ''really'' stupid, bad at their job, or a complete {{jerkass}} (or all three).
* Radio/TrueCapitalist Radio. The only reason people listen in is to laugh at Ghost raging over the trolls that call him.
* ''This Troper'', a satirical series of dramatic readings by YouTube user CrazyGoggs chronicling the saddest and most disturbing contributions to ThisVeryWiki, back when we had TroperTales and FetishFuel. Its exposés served as a driving force in the eventual deletion of those sections.
* ''Website/TextsFromLastNight'', depending on whether you want to look at "good night" or "bad night" texts, will either have you feeling envious [[ThisLoserIsYou that you never go out]], or thoroughly, thoroughly relieved.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Show Within A Show ]]
* ''Ow! My Balls!'' in ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}''.
* "Town Talk With George" in ''Film/{{UHF}}'', a straight parody of Geraldo Rivera's old talk show, complete with an opening of Al Capone's glove box ("Aha! ''[[MundaneMadeAwesome ROAD MAPS!!]]''") and George taking a chair to the face during a brawl.
* ''Fame Or Shame'' in ''GrandTheftAutoV'' is essentially ''AmericasGotTalent'' with an extra helping of this trope. In the main game, Tracey goes and auditions by dancing like a whore, is encouraged on by the host Lazlo, and makes a huge fool of herself. However, [[OverprotectiveDad Michael]] and [[SociopathicHero Trevor]] are there to... er... save the day?
* "Why You Ackin' So Cray-Cray?" from ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' seems to be this, what with being hosted by a SassyBlackWoman who shoots down dysfunctional guests with [[TitleDrop the eponymous catch-phrase]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* With a heavy dose of ValuesDissonance : [[BedlamHouse Bethlem Royal Hospital in the 18th century]]
[[/folder]]

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