Judging from my own Web stats, more people took the time Sunday night than Saturday to check out the debut of D.L. Hughley's new hourlong CNN talk show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. In fact, that's when I sat down to watch the full hour myself. And my initial ruling fits with my expectations expressed earlier. The monologue and the first scripted bits felt stilted, as if they were trying too hard (sorry, Donnell Rawlings, but nice try as Freddie Mack the pimp, and the CNN "truth squad" interruption was simply lame) and having Hughley deliver his monologue directly into the camera instead of to the audience lacked the same punch as his stand-up. That said, it was refreshing to hear a comedian acknowledge how the industry can be financially rewarding, as Hughley joked that Obama's plan to tax those who make more than $250,000 a year would hurt him, too! And after the first few segments, Hughley hit his stride in a series of one-on-one interviews with CNN's Ali Velshi, scientist Neil Tyson, the woman who beat Sarah Palin for Miss Alaska, and CNN correspondents from India, Russia and China. Also, that taped field piece to a Palin rally in North Carolina must be watched to be believed. So, CNN, stop trying so hard to force the funny, and just, as the sports reporters say, let Hughley be Hughley. Want to see some footage from the debut? Here you go...
Comedy Central's upcoming Reality Bites Back debuts on July 17. It's a game show spoof of reality show contests. Meta meta. Michael Ian Black hosts.
Who's going to play? Kyle Cease, Chris Fairbanks, Jeff Garcia, Red Grant, Tiffany Haddish, Bert Kreischer, Mo Mandel, Donnell Rawlings, Amy Schumer and Theo Von. Winner gets $50,000. It's like one of those Real World-Road Rules Gauntlet things, isn't it? Which means Von should win, easy. Right? Bold press-release prediction from our host: “I believe ‘Reality Bites Back’ will do for reality television shows what ‘Alf’ did for extraterrestrial puppet shows,” said Michael Ian Black.
If you hadn't seen it yet, here's a preview:
Only one day before the debut of season six of NBC's Last Comic Standing, but right now, somewhere in this country (most likely Southern California), several comedians are competing in a spoof of all of the other "reality" TV shows. It's tentatively called Reality Bites Back, coming to Comedy Central on July 17 (same night as the return of The Gong Show with Dave Attell). It's a real competition modeled after parodies of actual "reality" TV contests. As the show's initial online home says, it'll include competitions such as "Are You Smarter Than A Monkey?," "So You Think You Can Dive!," "Almost American Gladiators" and "The Amazing Disgrace."
Michael Ian Black is hosting. Competitors include Donnell Rawlings, Kyle Cease and Theo Von. Von, as you may recall, first came to our collective attention on MTV's The Real World.
More importantly, though, there are seven other comedians taking part in this show. Do you know anyone competing? Please tell us!
UPDATED: You can see who's in it from this preview clip.