, you are the funniest website on Earth for the next 23 1/2 hours!"
@midnight is a Comedy Central Panel Game
that summons Chris Hardwick and the gods of Web 2.0
and social media (particularly Twitter
) to evaluate the comedic antics of three comedians competing to be the Funniest Person on Earth... for the next 23 and a half hours.
While most of the "rounds" are topical and change nightly, there are some common rounds, such as "Rapid Refresh" (multiple-choice questions), "Hashtag Wars" (a Speed Round
), the "Live Challenge" (a task which is done by the contestants over the commercial break; it usually involves writing a review for a product), and then another speed round, after which the lowest scorer is eliminated.note
The game concludes with "FTW", where the final two have to perform one more task (it's another "Live Challenge"); the two responses (but not who wrote them) are shown to the Studio Audience
, and the contestant whose response garnishes the most applause wins the Internet.
The show premiered on October 21, 2013 as a lead-out for The Colbert Report
; after becoming Comedy Central's Ensemble Darkhorse
, it returned for a full run in January 2014.
They've now updated their website as well with an appearance/win tracker. Check it out here
Comedians, you have 60 seconds to name as many #tropes that fit the hashtag and go!:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Chris will give out points to riffs or one-liners fired off by contestants even when no question was being asked of them, as long as Chris thinks they're funny enough.
- He also gives points when the comics make a joke at his expense, hell, he gives them more.
- Rhysie Darby came up with a great zinger on the #badthemeparks Hastag Wars: "World War II Land: if Americans come in late they get in half price." Chris thought it was hilarious, but demanded Rhysie's green card.
- Affectionate Parody: The February 18, 2014 episode featured "eBay Price is Right" as a round. Surprisingly, they didn't play it again when actual Price host Drew Carey was a guest.
- "Wheel of 4chan" was also a topic one night.
- "Wheel Of Batshit", after Pat Sajak went crazy on Twitter.
- They had "@Jeopardy!" as a game once, with a full board and Chris doing an off kilter impression of Alex Trebek. The comedians had to answer in the form of a question.
- "Family Buzz Feud", complete with the theme song, the lights going crazy, and Hardwick pulling his best Richard Dawson and "kissing" the contestants.
- "Troll Your Luck" with authentic theme song, sound effects and graphics! Panelists had to troll a Twitter post from whatever celebrity they hit on the wheel, or one of their own Twitter posts if they hit a Whammy.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When showing a website by a chef who created a burger that tastes like human flesh, Chris takes more offense to the spelling of flavour.
- Audience Participation:
- Of the social media kind; viewers are encouraged to tweet their own responses for the Hashtag Wars. Heck, every Thursday, the comedians play for one of their Twitter followers.
- In a more immediate fashion, the live audience reaction is just as much a part of the show as the comedians, which is why quite a few YMMV tropes are listed here.
- Awesome McCoolname: One segment had the panel coming up with "badass names" for roles actor Michael Rooker can play in future works.
- Badass Mustache: Tom Lennon's. It's gone on his fifth appearance as a contestant.
- Bad Bad Acting: Chris and Ron Funches (especially Chris)'s deliberately wooden reading in "Fanfic Theater"
- Berserk Button: Young Mr. Hardwick doesn't like it very much when one fails to pronounce "GIF" correctly.
- Bi the Way: Bobby Lee kissed the other contestants (only one was female) and Chris upon his loss.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Contestants will take a few shots at canceled Comedy Central shows and some of Chris' other works. Chris is usually a good sport and awards points. Comedy Central must be, too, since they renewed the show.
- On one episode, Marc Maron appeared as a contestant where he received bonus points (along with a bell ringing) every time he made fun of Chris or the show.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The grand prize of being "Funniest Person on Earth for the next 23 and a half hours". Or for the pilot month finale, "Funniest Person for the next 3 months." Crosses with Audience Participation as, on the last episode of the week, the winning comedian and his/her designated Twitter follower "win the internet" for the weekend.
- Really enforced on sponsored episodes. A couple of "Tag Team Thursday" episodes had the comedians playing for a PS4 LittleBigPlanet 3 package and a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U for their Tag Team partner.
- Brick Joke: July 22, 2014: A clip from the Korean drama Everybody, Kimchi! is featured in Rapid Refresh, in which someone got kimchi thrown at them. At the end of the episode, the winner also got kimchi thrown at them as a bonus prize. As if Tom Lennon hasn't been through enough already.
- Bonus Points: Chris Hardwick might give out bonus points to a comedian who comes up with a witty riff outside a question.
- Hardwick references this trope by name on certain questions (usually a "Rapid Refresh" question) by asking the comedians for things like an alternate name for a character.
- Butt Monkey: Several.
- Pierre the Pelican, mascot for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, gets blasted a lot on the show.
- And then there's Thomas Lennon, an executive producer on the show who sometimes plays as a panelist. He took six tries to finally win.
- Catch Phrase: "Points!" and less commonly "Well played!" For the FTW round: "I'm gonna wipe away your scores—wipewipewipewipe (flails his hands at the podium displays)
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Always discussed when Executive Producer Tom Lennon plays, saying as EP, he could've changed the questions at any time but doesn't... He never wins.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Iron Sheik is frequently poked fun at, but the exploits of Gary Busey in the "O Say Can Busey" category are on a whole different level.
- Cringe Comedy: Invoked, with "Make Me Cringe" aka "Cringe Worthy", in which contestants must make Chris cringe using only three words.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Rarely, but Doug Benson did pull it off once.
- Ron Funches dominated the early part of the game in his first appearance back since winning the 100th episode, but averted when he lost FTW in a stunning upset.
- Dark Horse Victory: Happens on occasion when a lesser-known comedian upsets one of the fan favorites (Ron Funches, Doug Benson, etc.) or one of the special guest stars (Weird Al Yankovich, Drew Carey, etc.) in FTW.
- Defictionalization: Invoked. Somebody defictionalized the "16 Squirrels That Look Like Radiohead" list that was given by Tom Lennon in a round of Buzz Speed (although not on BuzzFeed itself).
- Dirty Coward: Chris blatantly admits to being this when instead of risking Ice Cube's wrath, he just declares him the winner during FTW
- Double The Dollars: After the first commercial break, the minimum points value given seems to increase from 100 to 250.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked frequently. Crosses with Cringe Comedy. If gone too far, the audience starts booing/groaning and Chris will not award points.
- One instance of "going too far" happened on the 3/26/14 show where they showed a beer commercial for the Dutch brewing company "Bavaria" which "stars" several famous dead musicians. One panelist made a joke that Kurt Cobain isn't a beer guy and is more of a "shot guy". Chris and the audience groaned loudly and the panelist was not awarded points.
- Anytime a joke where being a nerd is the punchline. One contestant even lost points for saying he was undateable because... he "bought 4,000 dollars worth of Magic: The Gathering cards."
- Making a joke about Schindlers List during Rosh Hashanah did not receive points for this reason.
- One contestant made a joke about a bald attorney having chemotherapy problems. The whole audience groaned, and he didn't get the points.
- Fake Cross Over: With Reno 911. The actors were in-character as contestants to help promote the release of the Reno 911 series box set.
- Faux Horrific: Chris spoofed the outrage that ensued about whether Hello Kitty is or is not a cat:
- Foregone Conclusion: Happens quite a bit with the responses in "FTW", as they will often contain a Brick Joke or Running Gag from earlier in the episode that makes it obvious who wrote it. For instance, Kumail Nanjiani's "#butt" running gag in the very first episode.
- From the Mouths of Babes: The "Thugs Not Hugs?" round, in which contestants must decide whether a child is about to swear or say something cute. Usually the former.
Grace Helbig: Why are babies so angry?
- Funny Foreigner: Invoked by rounds such as "KonichiWHAT?" (weird things from Japan) and "Europe Be Funny" (Which one of these was an actual Eurovision Song Contest act?)
- Genre Blindness: For Rapid Refresh, if the answer to one of the questions is "all of the above", the rest of the questions will not have this answer. Tom Lennon, an Executive Producer and writer, got caught on his own trap.
- I'm Having Soul Pains: Chris can be brought to physical pain from some of the weirder images and/or videos they show (see also the Nazi-themed cafe below)...
- Then during the #dongfoods Hashtag Wars round (after a Japanese chef published recipes for food prepared in condoms), one answer was "a la chode." Chris gagged/dry heaved for a few moments.
- Loophole Abuse: Remember those Bonus Points from being Actually Pretty Funny? Doug Benson took full advantage of it until Chris Hardwick took note of that and put and end to that.
- One comedienne asked Chris if she can get points for being "offended". Chris gave her 100 sympathy points.
- Matt Besser used hypenated words to get away with what would've been four word phrases for the category "Cringeworthy". See "Cringe Comedy" above.
- Lucky Charms Title: Which can pose a few problems for any wiki. For this wiki, you have to use AtMidnight if you want to link to this page. However, using "@midnight" to search for this page is perfectly fine.
- Meaningful Name: The show actually is on at 12:00 a.m ET, and the @ sign is usually used on sites like Twitter to indicate posts intended for someone. Alternately, since the @ is pronounced as "at", the show literally starts "at midnight."
- Subverted and lampshaded when the show was temporarily pushed back to 11:30 p.m. ET (except in Canada) to serve as a buffer between the end of The Colbert Report and the premiere of The Nightly Show: Chris remarked that they would still be declaring their winner at midnight
- Nipple and Dimed: Apparently, they can show "a cross-section of a woman with a cat coming out of her vagina", but not her breast.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The debate as to whether the abbreviation .gif is pronounced with a hard or soft "g" sound. Chris really let the haters have it, too:
Chris: You fucks online who keep saying I'm pronouncing it wrong—no, you're wrong! It's Graphics Interchange Format. I don't care what the guy who created the .gif format said, he's a fucking programmer, not a linguist; it's gif! It's not a fucking peanut butter!
- Off the Rails: Regularly. You will know if it has gotten off the rails if Chris has to pause himself after laughing too hard. Additionally, the comedians will sometimes get way off the rails in regards to the topic, usually making jokes off of each others' jokes. Chris allows it and will keep giving points regardless, as long as it's still funny.
- One episode turned into a pretend gunfight between Chris and the panelists for a while.
- Old Shame: Invoked One of the items featured on "eBay Price is Right" was a promotional package from the 1990s of host Chris Hardwick, including headshots. Hardwick was embarrassed, and all the contestants overbid.
- On the episode with Wil Wheaton, Aisha Tyler and Kevin Pereira, Chris apologized to the latter for killing G4.
- Once an Episode: Rapid Refresh is always the first category. Hashtag Wars is always the second.
- "This happened on Twitter/Deadspin/Website/YouTube/Gawker/Random Website today..." At the start of the Rapid Refresh every episode.
- One of Us: Chris' nerdiness is a big part of the show. If you had any doubt, one episode's panelists are his Dungeons and Dragons group... who happen to be Patton Oswalt, Blake Captach, and Brian Posehn.
- Only in Florida: The topic "Florida Headlines," in which comedians are asked to come up with "headlines" that fit the trope.
Matt Besser: "Illegal day care found in meth lab."
- Panel Show: The game show elements obscure this a little bit, but the rapidly-changing topics and similarly rapid answers bring to mind British shows like I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.
- Professional Wrestling: A frequent topic on the show. It helps that Chris and many of the panelists are fans. They've even had Chris Jericho as a panelist. On his first appearance back after winning the 100th episode, Ron Funches wore around a Ric Flair robe, had an "@midnight" title belt, and delivered a promo at the start of the show in the style of a pro wrestling Heel.
- Pungeon Master: Sort of a must for anyone doing #HashtagWars
- The Points Mean Nothing: Well, they do get wiped for the FTW round.
- Sometimes, the comedians gets points out of nowhere. In one episode, Chris said that fans would ask him where some of the "out of nowhere" points come from, and he admitted that they film too much to fit it into the half hour show, and some scenes where points are earned end up getting edited out.
- In the first full season, Chris started giving out the Bonus Points mentioned above more often. In the pilot month, he barely gave out any.
- On the March 5, 2014 episode, the Sklar brothers were set to compete against each other in FTW. Chris gave one of them 5000 points for a joke just before wiping the points, mentioning that it didn't matter since he was just going to wipe the points anyway.
- A couple times Chris has allowed all three comedians into the final round.
- Right in Front of Me: Chris Hardwick noted that Lt. Jim Dangle plays the game much better than Tom Lennon right in front of Lt. Dangle. Jim Dangle is played by Tom Lennon.
- Running Gag:
- Whenever the last place comedian is sent "in the red", there's usually a joke about the special powers of the red light, such as petrifying the comedian or burning the comedian.
- Starting in April 2014, multiple contestants (particularly, those wearing tuxedos) have claimed that they were appearing on another show called Tuxedo Guys. It's (apparently) a game show. As the gag has continued running, more and more (often bizarre) details about Tuxedo Guys have been added by the contestants. With Tom Lennon's victory on Tuxedo Guys, it seems to have entered full blown Show Within a Show territory.
- Tom Lennon, an EP of the show, can not win at this game.
- He finally did win on Tuxedo Guys. He was covered in slime and carrying an award statuette. He was very happy about it.
- July 22, 2014 will be a day marked in history. He finally won in his sixth appearance, and went over "Weird Al" Yankovic in FTW to do it no less. He also got kimchi thrown at him.
- November 13, 2014. He did it again, but in his Jim Dangle character.
- Sarcasm Failure: Occasionally there will be things so out there, so bizarre, or so much of a Mind Screw that he'll introduce something with a variant of "...j-just watch."
- Chris was visibly holding back the urge to vomit after reporting on a Nazi-themed cafe in Indonesia. "You're not going to be clapping for this one," indeed.
- Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: Hardwick, on his comedy tours, has done a few @midnight Live shows. Which is basically the same as the show, except bigger, longer, and uncut.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Sometimes Chris forgoes eliminating a comedian in order to send all three to FTW.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Plenty of people wear nice suits—and the occasional tuxedo—but Brandon Johnson pointed out that wearing a suit was perfect for planning to drink all day; if you passed out somewhere, people would assume they're affluent and help him.
- Sincerity Mode: When a guy was recorded losing his shit over the results of the 2014 Royal Rumble (and Chris basically said now no guy has an excuse to not have a girlfriend), he recorded another video of him losing his shit at Chris Hardwick. Chris declared that his words might have been a little hurtful, and sent the guy a replacement lamp and one of his stand-up specials on DVD (knowing that the guy very well might break them anyway).
- Speed Round: Hashtag Wars and the last game before FTW.
- The Stoner: Every time he's on the show, Doug Benson is very visibly high.
- Note that Benson is just about the only person who can play the show stoned and still win. Others, like Horatio Sanz and Reggie Watts, weren't up to the task.
- Take That: When they take shots at someone or something, they don't stop for anything short of swinging for the cheap seats.
- Chris blasted Sports Illustrated for putting Barbie on their cover. He also said that the Real Housewives seek this level of "perfection", but Barbie "has waaaay less plastic" on her.
- Take That Me: When David Spade was a contestant, one of the "Photobomb: Creepy or Cute" was of a pig-man-thing standing behind Paris Hilton. Spade says it's himself.
- Take a Third Option: When asked whether "Stoney and Bill with Sara Mornings, or AM Mayhem" was the actual title of a radio morning show, Reggie Watts answered with "Or". He got 100 points.
- This Is Gonna Suck:
- Inverted. The "Whitehouse.ugh" category, where Patton Oswalt, Blaine Capatch and Brian Posehn are tasked with coming up with fake petitions on the White House's website. Chris goes, "I look forward to to the answers you're about to give..."
- A straighter issue came when he warned the crowd to brace themselves; there was a Christian youth ministry group that put up a billboard that uses an "inspirational" quote from Adolf Hitler in an example of Godwin's Law.
- Then he discussed the 45th anniversary of Scooby-Doo. He then talks about the weird DeviantArt dedicated to them...the very mention of dA immediately has the crowd groaning and moaning in response. As well as Greg Proops covering his face in fright.
- And when he suggested a Forced Meme of "Hardwicking" goading people into doing what they think Hardwicking would entail. Chris points out that it would probably turn out badly for him.
- Title Drop: Any time the comedians try for a cheap point.
- Toilet Humor: On the week of August 4, 2014, Comedy Central held "Shart Week", a week full of poop-related programming. As such, all of the Hashtag Wars topics were also excrement-related.
- Translation Train Wreck: The WTFDA category, where food products' names are translated. The results are...disastrous.
- X Meets Y: Proudly flaunts itself as "Jeopardy with dick jokes!"