@midnight is a Comedy CentralPanel 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 In case of a tie, Hardwick will ask the comedians to name off one last item pertaining to that final Speed Round and have the audience decides who was the funniest and eliminate the least funniest comedian. 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.
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.
More than once they've used the category "The Iron Sheik: Real or Jabroni?", where they examine tweets from Sheik's Twitter feed and the contestants are quizzed on whether he likes something (the Real) or not (Jabroni). Sheik has since voiced his approval of the skit...the only way he knows how.
Same deal with Jose Conseco: Hug or Hate. In fact, Canseco tweeted the show "@midnight hugs for you."
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.
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"
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 season 1 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.
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.
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.
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 Schindler's List during Rosh Hashanah did not receive points for this reason.
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.
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)...
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."
Milestone Celebration: A big deal was made about the show's 100th episode. Previous winners and fan favorites Nikki Glaser, Ron Funches, and Doug Benson were brought back as the contestants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And now, it apparently has a spin off: Cowboy Guys
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.
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.
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..."
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.