March 01, 1993 12:00 PM

MTV (Saturdays, 11 a.m. ET)


The music video channel has come up with its own version of America’s Funniest People. Viewers are encouraged to send in letters about odd experiences. These are arranged into themes (school, dating, pets, the strangest person I’ve ever met) and then dramatized in cheap, exaggerated, often gross skits.

The problem so far is that the anecdotes are astoundingly mundane. (“I know this guy who like works out all the time.” Remarkable! “My econ professor came to class one day with his zipper wide open.” Get out! “I guess the coolest thing I ever did is…my friends and I in high school?…we climbed up on a roof and stayed up there for a whole weekend, and nobody could like do anything about it.” Too bizarre!) The banality of the stories does serve to make the amped-up interstitial palter of host Jon Stewart seem clever. The funniest part of the show is the dis-disclaimer that runs at the beginning: “The stories you are about to see are true. The names have not been changed so that your friends can make fun of you tomorrow.”

Maybe once the show has been on for a while and the mail starts pouring in, the material will gel richer. It would almost have to. For now,

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