What do people want and thus need right now? Entertainment, it could be said, caters to what we “want” by persuading us that what we need is found in the work’s offerings. Lately, with the popularity of comedy shows like The Office, humor has taken a decidedly dry turn—informed by the British yet adapted to an American audience. The style of comedy in MTV’s new show College Humor reminds me of an updated and Americanized version of early Monty Python sketches. The “Office” segments are, aesthetically, sharp and bright and digitized. An office-for-the-early-21st-century that could hold young graphic designers, a magazine’s clever crew or an otherwise innovative business group. Regardless of the profession, for MTV viewers presumably college age or thereabouts, this defines the possibility of a lighter world post-graduation: silly, fun and more play than work.
College Humor does not demand an initial investment of its audience. A deep understanding of the storyline is not required of the viewer. In fact, nothing is asked of the viewer except for the lightness of mind that appreciation of this 21st century form of slapstick humor requires. It is a step up from Jackass and other more crude comedy shows in terms of cinematography and conversation, yet still engages the audience through a toned down, hanging-with-your-friends sense.