'Tosh.0' attracts 2.4 million viewers: The best pop culture clip show out there?

daniel-tosh-computerImage Credit: Ian White/Comedy CentralCould Comedy Central ever have known what a hit Tosh.0 would become when they launched it in June 2009? A web-clip show modeled after The Soup, Tosh.0 features comedian Daniel Tosh offering his spin on viral Internet videos, and in just one year, the program has grown from “3-year-old crying over Justin Bieber” levels of notoriety to “Charlie bit my finger — again!” levels of fame. Now, in its second season, Tosh.0‘s most recent episodes have garnered more than 2 million viewers, with the most recent airing achieving a huge 2.4 million. This is a far cry from the first season average, which came in at just above a million viewers, so it’s no surprise that Comedy Central has already renewed the program for a third season, set to debut in January 2011. Still, I’m wondering: In a television landscape inundated with pop-culture clip shows like The Soup, The Dish, and Web Soup, why is Tosh.0 blowing up?

Is it the host? Clearly, audiences are on board with Tosh’s brand of frat star/web geek humor, and while some write him off as obnoxious, he has a knack for making pop culture accessible to the uninitiated. His jokes may often be obvious, but to appreciate them,  you don’t have to be an absolute entertainment junkie –- the kind who lives to snark on the ironies of reality dating. Tosh delivers his shtick with a goofy charisma that’s irresistibly funny, and his audacious (often very crude) tomfoolery is strangely engaging.

Is it the segments? Sketches like “Web Breakdown,” in which Tosh picks apart the intricacies of a popular YouTube video, or “Web Redemption,” in which Tosh invites the subject of an embarrassing online clip to lampoon/defend themselves, are unique to Tosh.0. Other clip shows stick to television, but with off-the-wall segments like “Is it Racist?” and “Above Average Girls Making Animal Noises,” Tosh.0 boldly showcases the more bizarre, graphic, shocking content that usually is only covered online.

Is it the under-served audience? Internet geeks don’t get much love on TV. Sure, there’s the G4 gaming channel, but you have to be at least 47 levels deep in the World of Warcraft to understand what’s going on there. Tosh.0 speaks to online audiences that help videos go viral, but it doesn’t drown in its own geekiness and still feels cool to watch. By boldly offering itself to a specific niché audience (think Kathy Griffin with the gays), Tosh.0 has built a loyal fan following that’s totally l33t.

But what of the other pop culture clip shows? The Soup, the longtime E! fixture which is hosted by Joel McHale, has been averaging just under a million viewers a week. Style Network’s The Dish, which is hosted by the artist formerly known as Topanga (Danielle Fischel), is enjoying modest success as well. Then there’s the G4’s Web Soup, Versus’ Sports Soup, and VH1’s now-defunct Best Week Ever, but despite their longer histories, none of these programs are any match for the current ratings bonanza around Tosh.0.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you watching Tosh.0, or do your allegiances lie with another pop culture clip show?

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • Madd

    I’ve only watched an episode or two of this, but I just don’t find it that funny. For me the best clip show is The Soup.

  • Lou

    The Soup called… they want their format and snark* back.

    * Only there snarky host is a guy you want to have beers with. Something about this guy’s face is very punchable.

    • Tim G. (@rural_juror)

      SO very punchable. Tosh is like Dane Cook, only more obnoxious (if such a thing was possible).

  • Taylor

    Tosh.0 is funny, but it doesn’t hold a candle to The Soup.

  • jc

    Tosh.O is awesome! I look forward to each new episode… Doesnt focus on celebrities like the Soup does, its every day people doing stupid things online. I love it and am always laughing.

  • Josie

    I love the Soup, I have never saw Tosh.0 tho…maybe I’ll record an episode sometime

  • Kerri

    I don’t know what it is, (and I say this as a loyal viewer of The Soup as well) but I ALWAYS laugh harder during Tosh.0. The writing is better, the delivery is better, and I also sort of want to make out with Daniel. Which helps.

    • Brian

      You don’t want to make out with Joel McHale?

      • Madd

        Seriously. I’d make out with Joel McHale anytime. This Tosh guy…not so much.

      • Buck Mulligan

        I like Joel McHale. But I do miss Aisha Tyler. I’d make out with her first.

      • Buck Mulligan

        Wait, does anyone remember Talk Soup?

      • Angela

        Ooh. I do!

        I do enjoy “Tosh.0″, it is indeed quite funny. But I’ve been a longer viewer of “The Soup” and just tend to watch that show more often, and it gets my vote. I just love seeing them knock some people who truly deserve being knocked down a peg or 12 (namely a lot of reality stars).

        And I totally remember “Talk Soup”. John Henson, Hal Sparks, Aisha Tyler…fun times.

  • p.c.

    The DISH has become my new favorite clip show. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Chill Pickle!

  • Mavis

    I love The Soup! Joel McHale is so funny. I’ve watched Tosh.0 and don’t find it as amusing as The Soup. I am also a fan of The Dish on Style – Danielle Fishel needs to get some acting jobs! She has excellent comedic timing!

  • John

    I tried watching the Josh show but the host bored me. Maybe it was an off day. I’ll try it again. I like Web Soup too.

  • matt

    I tried watching the soup and it was pretty boring. Tosh.0 FTW!

  • jims

    There’s a lot of HD snobbery out there, myself included. I only look through the HD line-up when I channel surf. I’ve enjoyed his stand-up but didn’t know this show existed until comcast finally picked up Comedy Central HD last year. That was at the end of season 1 and it immediately earned a series pass on the dvr.

    • Buck Mulligan

      I wouldn’t call it snobbery. New televisions are made for HD, and old 420p looks like crap on them.

  • Brian

    I like Tosh enough. His web redemptions are actually pretty great, especially the “What What in the Butt” guy. But I still feel like his Tosh.0 is the Family Guy to The Soup’s Simpsons. On a good day, I’d say Tosh.0 is South Park to the Soup’s Simpsons. Bottom Line: The Soup is still the best pop culture clip show.

    • Buck Mulligan

      Best Web Redemption? Starlight Dancers.

    • Ida

      LOW setting. Check the level of lquiid in the morning before leaving for work. Add HOT lquiid in the morning to the level you started with and continue to cook until 3 PM. Suggestion: Try this on a weekend so that you are around the house to verify that your Crock Pot will cook as I expect it will.

  • Tom Brazelton

    My alliance is to Joel McHale and The Soup. The only reason it’s getting fewer ratings than Tosh.0 is because it’s been saddled with a lousy time slot on Friday nights with no lead-ins.

    • Buck Mulligan

      Alliance? What is wrong with you people? Both The Soup and Tosh.0 are hilarious. WATCH BOTH and stop trying to rate them against each other. Two different styles addressing two different subjects. Tosh.0 is like a drive-by shooting of the everyday idiot. The Soup is like wacking a celebrity filled pinata.

      • Tom Brazelton

        Allegiance. I meant allegiance. Sorry, I was in a hurry.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Tosh.0 but EW asked us to pick one, so I did!

    • Brad

      The Soup also reruns 15 times a weekend…my guess is that the ratings only count the audience for the original airing (and yes, I’m sure Tosh.0 has reruns too, but it can’t beat the reruns on E!)

  • Leslie

    The Soup FTW! Although I’ll have to record Tosh.0 sometime..
    Chris Hardwick is hilarious, but he’s just awkward and the writing is horrible on the Web Soup

    • Esperanza

      As a guy living by mesylf and working two jobs and a home based business, I don’t want to spend time cooking. Yet fast food every night gets old and expensive. This book is ideal for those of us who want to throw something together and have it ready to go when we finally get home. It begins with a description of modern slow cooking. I was still in a crockpot mindset. And he gives a lot of tips on how to properly use a slow cooker, saving me from burning up food. If you’re a chef or a fast food junkie, this may not be for you. But if you’d like more healthy, home cooked meals in less time than you now spend waiting in drive-thru lines, get this book.

  • Jennie

    I love both shows!! Which makes me wonder about the quality of my TV viewing….hm…

    • Karate Pants

      I love them both too, my viewing taste is equally questionable.

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