At a glance, Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace seems like typical fare for Adult Swim, the alternative, late-night comedy channel that airs on the Cartoon Network after 9 p.m. One of a coterie of bizarre series on the channel, the show lurches from one surreal, sometimes violent, sketch to the next, and describes itself as being set in an “almost present-day, post-apocalyptic nightmare world.” But Million Dollar Extreme, which premiered in August, is also from the mind of Sam Hyde, an unapologetic member of the alt-right. Hyde crafts his comedy with the goal of shocking his young, liberal, Millennial audience while simultaneously appealing to like-minded members of a white-nationalist movement that generally supports Donald Trump.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Million Dollar Extreme has become a cultural battleground for its network since it launched. Though the show is currently off the air and awaiting a second-season renewal, some of Adult Swim’s other stars are demanding the show’s cancellation. Others are drawing attention to the network’s generally poor record on diversity, particularly with regards to promoting female comedians. Though the controversy over Million Dollar Extreme had been roiling before Trump’s Election Day victory, in its aftermath, the debate has become even more charged in the last week. Put simply: Watching Million Dollar Extreme sometimes feels like peering inside the mind of a far-right Twitter troll, as does looking at Hyde’s own feed. The question for Adult Swim is whether that’s enough to justify the show’s cancellation.