Comedy Central’s Betrayal: Out Of Context Commercials That Make Me Sad


Last night, after resigning myself to the fact that the cold my wife had given me was not going to let me out of the house, we decided that we would stay in and pop on the boob tube for our Saturday evening’s entertainment.  We don’t spend much time channel surfing these days and our television watching is typically limited to the programs we have discovered that have been added to our DVR list.  But we decided to “spice it up” a bit and scrolled through the guide until we noticed that – as luck would have it – “Dinner for Schmucks” was about to start on Comedy Central.

Sure, we were about to watch a movie that would be frequently interrupted by commercials but were okay with stepping outside our comfort zone for a couple of hours.  😉  But what we experienced in that context was a repeated betrayal after betrayal.  Every other commercial cycle (which happened about every 10 minutes), instead of the usually light fare that would appropriately follow Steve Carrel’s idiotic humor and Paul Rudd’s dumb mug, we would see something like this:

or this:

What media buyer in their right mind thought that being a Debbie Downer on COMEDY CENTRAL would be a good idea?  Was the intent to disrupt our frivolity in a way that would make us feel ashamed and compelled to pick up the phone and donate money?  Were we to have our heart strings tugged at while we were trying to distract ourselves from life for a couple of shameful hours?

All I can say is that my wife and I both feel betrayed by Comedy Central.  If I am going to subject myself to not using my DVR and watching TV in real time, then at least put appropriate ads in to break up the noise.  But don’t bombard us with moral dilemmas (although in all fairness the movie was a morals play in disguise…but at least it used a heaping spoonful of honey rather than a funnel and castor oil) and cries for help.  Save that for Lifetime Television For Women and leave us to enjoy the context we chose.Not to sound insensitive or that we don’t care about the plights facing our world.  We absolutely do.  But every now and then we need an escape and that’s what media choices like Comedy Central are for.  So, media buyers:  consider your context and proceed with sensitivity and respect. There are many places to sell consumer guilt – but please leave the humor-focused media out of it.  I promise the next time you catch me watching a rerun of Seventh Heaven you will have my donation.

Categories: Anthropology, Art and culture, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Marketing, Participant Observation, Television and Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Comedy Central’s Betrayal: Out Of Context Commercials That Make Me Sad

  1. Sherri D'Anna

    I couldn’t agree more! I’ve had this conversation with my friends and family on numerous occasions. When I watch comedy central, I make sure the remote is close by and I have a backup channel to flip to when those depressing commercials appear. I too feel betrayed and I’m surprised CC apparently doesn’t see the conflict.

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