There is a funny show hidden within Funniest Wins.
Perhaps too hidden from view, and viewers. It debuted late last Friday night (with repeats overnight Saturday) on TBS and scared up less than a half-million viewers. More of you watched aspiring comedians on VH1’s I Love The 2000s — as well as programming on TLC, ID, Animal Planet, Syfy, HBO, and WE tv — than tuned in to Funniest Wins.
Creator and host Marlon Wayans may have boasted that his first 10 contestants on Funniest Wins had claimed half a billion social media views.
But after spelling out the concept of his comedy competition, we’re not given any time to get to know why this Wayans picked these 10 comedians, or why we should root for any of them.
Instead we plunge straight into challenge mode.
Stand-up comedians vs. YouTubers vs. Vine-makers.
If the first challenge — entertaining tour bus passengers — feels like a gimme for the stand-ups, then the second, pairing up our comedians for digital shorts, should be a slam dunk for our YouTubers, right? And what about these Vine comedians? What shall we do with them after six seconds?
So much has changed in the comedy game in the past decade to be sure. And yet Funniest Wins felt funniest when it was having a laugh at itself, almost more reminiscent of Comedy Central’s 2008 spoof on reality show competitions, Reality Bites Back.
Tiffany Haddish should feel most at home, then, because she participated in that show, too!
The prize here is a proverbial bag of money and a digital deal with Marlon Wayans’ whatthefunny.com.
So does it even matter if people are watching the contest play out on TV?
Should it matter if the industry considers popularity on social media on equal footing with the ability to make strangers laugh when they’re sitting right in front of you?
Or are all comedy competitions complete and utter b.s. unless you win?
One of these questions may not be rhetorical.
Dance, monkeys! Dance!
I’m going to show you what our 10 finalists cooked up for the digital short challenge and see if you can figure out who’s funniest.
Jenny Zigrino and Key Lewis
Sydney Castillo and Tiffany Haddish
Jason Nash and Manon Mathews
Billy Sorrells and Matt McManus
Ryan Doon and Christina Pazsitzky
And here is Marlon Wayans, with guest judge and mentor Orlando Jones, weighing in on one of the videos.