Is Tosh.0 Morally Superior to America's Funniest Home Videos?

James Parker contrasts the mean-spirited Comedy Central show with the old family favorite.

Watch ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos and you'll see host Tom Bergeron chuckling as kids whack their grandfathers in the groin with pinata sticks. The audience chortles good-naturedly along with him.

In contrast, the laughter on Comedy Central's Tosh.0 is snide and mean-spirited. "As each clip is replayed," writes James Parker in the December 2012 Atlantic, host Daniel Tosh "tries, in a supremely idle way, to say the most merciless and terrible thing he can possibly say about it." Tosh's unabashed sadism inspires Parker to quote Samuel Taylor Coleridge's description of a “devil at the very end of hell, warming himself at the reflection of the fire in the ice."

In this video, Parker contrasts scenes from the two shows. Along the way, he argues that Bergeron's genial jibes are even more insidious than Tosh's demonic joy.


Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is The Atlantic's digital features editor. More

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor, began her association with the magazine in 2002, shortly after graduating from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She joined the staff full time in January 2006. Before coming to The Atlantic, Jennie was senior editor at Moment, a national magazine founded by Elie Wiesel.

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