With the rise of social media in recent years, a new species of users has crawled out from the shadowy depths of the Internet, turning the web into the “wild west” of sorts for aggressive and insolent verbal slinging. While perusing the comment section of any article on a news site, the unremitting stream of mindlessness and vitriol that flows even on the most basic stories proves that the comments section is by far the closest thing to hell the Internet has ever seen.
The anonymity, ease of access, and various networks made available for users all over the world have unleashed not only stupidity through a poorly spelled or incoherent cesspool of inanity in the comment section, but clever comedy ripe for the picking by bright minds who know otherwise.
With a focus on breaking down snarky comments found on popular websites, E!’s newest series The Comment Section dissects how viewers and Internet commenters react to the week’s biggest news stories. Hosted by smooth-talking funnyman and the ever so charming, Michael Kosta, the half-hour satirical commentary show runs in the same vein of E!’s third highest rated show on the network, The Soup hosted by Joel McHale.
“Our job is to mine through all of this horrible, terrible stuff and create a television show that is somehow entertaining and funny, which it is entertaining and funny. I promise,” Kosta said in an interview with E! Online.
Opening up with a monologue at the top of the show, Kosta shares some of the most talked about stories of the week with viewers, and then dives into the deep end of the Internet’s murky pits. Digging up some of the most ridiculous (and often times, offensive) comments found just by scrolling down a webpage, the host proceeds to skewer the best of the worst comments for our entertainment, and delving deeper into news stories with segments like, “Tat News,” “Kosta Doin’ Business” (video at left) or “Go To Bed Angry,”
Since its premiere on August 7, one of the segments entails Kosta inviting a TCS correspondent to comment on reactions of a news story. Both funny and insightful, it is almost reminiscent of The Daily Show where host Jon Stewart would invite his correspondents to share their two cents on a news story. (In this case, who cares about the news story? We want to see the comments!) This segment, authentic on its own thanks to the content and host, works well as both Kosta and his weekly correspondents feed off each other’s humor effortlessly.
In addition to the various segments highlighting terrible comments igniting sharp-witted discussions, Kosta interviews guests from the entertainment and social media industry each week and chats with them about their work, while getting their take on news stories.
Now it might sound senseless to comment on comments in a half-hour television program, but The Comment Section does it impeccably good with a refreshing, unique twist on a simple idea. If terrible commenters of the Internet can fire up negativity and brush it off as a personal freedom, then The Comment Section has the right to display these individuals on a larger level for mass entertainment, while poking fun of their comments on a broadcast medium.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this month, Kosta explained with the ease of social media at our fingertips, many people in today’s culture have no filter.
“There’s no restraint,” Kosta says. “And it’s just so extreme. In real life people are pretty moderate, they live in the gray area that is life, but in the Internet comment section it’s black or it’s white.”
Injecting quick-witted humor with provocative content, Michael Kosta is the perfect host for the show. There is also a grand ‘je nais sais quoi’ quality about the 35 year-old Los Angeles based stand-up comedian as well. It could be his deadpan and sardonic sense of humor, the Bill Murray-ness of his overall attitude, or the fact that he is incredibly sharp at bringing a fresh style to the network. Either way, Kosta is one funny dude and comes off very relaxed and natural.
With the Internet being such an ugly place, Kosta isn’t trying to fix the comments section or even get people to stop being so mean—oh no, quite the contrary. He really only wants to point out the bad comments and have us laugh at the growing stupidity found on the web when we scroll down a news story, and maybe along the way be our fetching tour guide through the interwebs of hell.
Growing from the perfection and hilariousness that is The Soup, The Comment Section is produced by Joel McHale and co-executive produced by Kosta. Without feeling like a spin-off of McHale’s program, the delightful Kosta brings a perky and congenial personality to The Comment Section, creating his own signature on the E! network. This personable attribute mixed with the show’s originality makes it exceptionally easy to watch and enjoy.
The Comment Section has good pedigree and potential to grow into a cult-favorite like The Soup. With Kosta at the helm of the show and an abundance of rich material being produced every day, The Comment Section stacks up to the late night mix of comedy and commentary, and is a must-see this season.
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Watch The Comment Section every Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET on E! Check your local listings.