(The Boston Herald – June 14, 1999)
Flexing Its Muscle
Comedy Central launches ‘Premiere Week’ with testosterone-fueled ‘Man Show’
by Bob Sassone
We are men. Here us roar. In numbers too big to ignore.
That’s what most guys will be saying anyway, after the premiere of Comedy Central’s The Man Show on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.
The show is hosted, appropriately, by two men: Jimmy Kimmel of Win Ben Stein’s Money and Adam Carolla of MTV’s Loveline. It’s part of “Premiere Week,” when the laugh network will also offer new episodes of Dr. Katz, Upright Citizen’s Brigade, South Park, Strangers With Candy, and Bob and Margaret, as well as new far such as the game show VS.
While the networks roll out reruns during the summer, Comedy Central is pushing a bunch of new shows and starting the new season early for popular shows such as South Park (the highest-rated show in Comedy Central’s history, but now off its high) and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, with has seen a ratings increase since Craig Kilborn bolted to CBS.
There are many viewers who don’t get or just don’t like the programming on Comedy Central. It’s clever, edgy, and not for everyone. But even detractors have to admit that at least the cable network is one of the few that actually has a strategy that works, a “feel” all its own.
The Man Show is a half-hour filled with everything a “real man” needs: women jumping on trampolines, monkeys, jokes about bodily fluids, advice on handling women, and a guy who drinks beer so fast it has to be seen to be believed.
Think of it as anti-Lifetime.
Or, as the hosts say, “Oprah Winfrey’s reign is about to get some stiff competition from two everyday Joes who want their TV back. She has to do a little less brainwashing and a lot more sock washing!”
Well, I don’t know if we can call ourselves everyday Joes,” Kimmel said in a phone interview, with tongue more or less in cheek. “I think Supermen is more appropriate. We’re just trying to take back the medium we invented!”
Would the two go on Oprah if asked?
“Oh, absolutely,” Kimmel said. “I would like nothing better than to go on there and straighten those women out.”
Carolla agreed. “Unlike women and some other guys, we welcome an invitation to a challenge,” he said. “If there was a show that was criticizing us or that spoke contrary to our beliefs, we would love an invitation to go on that show and give them a run for that money.”
“We were on Politically Incorrect recently with the women who wrote the book The Rules, and we swatted them,” Kimmel said. “They weren’t prepared. They were not bright women.”
And to answer the question that will be on the minds of men as they watch the show: yes, that is real beer they are drinking. Kimmel and Carolla said they had to be careful when taping the show, but the less said about that the better.
In a regular feature devoted to teaching his son, Kevin, the finer points in life, such as when to double down in blackjack, Kimmel says, “I’m a horrible misogynist, but a wonderful father.”
Are they ready for the inevitable backlash from women?
“It could never compare with the general backlash I get at home from my wife,” Kimmel said. “I hope women complain. Nothing would make me happier than a picket line around the studio.”
“People are always asking us if we’re worried about that happening,” Carolla said. “We’re more worried about it not happening. It would be a real blow to our ego if no one told us how much they hate the show.
“Also, when it comes to women, you murder half a town, you’re gonna get more marriage proposals than you can shake a stick at. All these serial killers getting sacks of fan mail! That’s how dumb women are. For every one that’s mad at you, there’s two that want to marry you. And they’re usually better looking.”