The Man Show is crude, cheap, anti-intellectual and as nakedly, unabashedly sexist as anything that has aired on American television in the past twenty years. Please note that I didn’t say that’s a bad thing.
The program, which aired on Comedy Central in the late nineties and early oughts, is basically a televised version of Maxim magazine. Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla (who’ve moved on to ABC and will replace Howard Stern, respectively) host from easy chairs on a barroom set fully equipped with an oompah band, lots of beer and a bevy of comely “juggies” dancing around in sexy outfits.
Most episodes begin with a filmed segment in which, say, the twelve year-old “Man Show boy” opens a beer stand on the street, continue with a studio bit involving said juggies (“strip club etiquette”, for example, in which Kimmel notes that you can tip the dancers with the money you printed using your computer), and end with an audience Q&A segment in which Carolla and Kimmel trash-talk their (approximately 90% male) audience. Over the closing credits, bikini- and lingerie-clad models jump up and down on trampolines.
A lesser program would defend its sexist elements by saying it’s “ironic” or a “parody” of men’s attitudes toward women. (Andrew Dice Clay – remember him? – made that excuse more than once.) Not The Man Show: Kimmel and Carolla, bless them, are completely unapologetic about their sports bar behavior, and they act just like most of us guys act when our wives and girlfriends aren’t around. Scratch that: they act like we’d act if our wives and girlfriends weren’t around – and we had a camera crew, a cool set and lots of hot dancing girls at our disposal. It helps that the sarcastic Carolla and the deadpan Kimmel have such chemistry with each other and their audience. (I haven’t seen any episodes of The Man Show made after they left, but if the comments at jumptheshark.com are any indication, the show never recovered.)
This Man Show boxed set includes every episode from the 2001-02 season, plus a handful of unused sketches and, of course, bonus footage of dancing juggies and girls on trampolines. (No audio commentaries, unfortunately.) It’s all a lot of fun, and since it’s on television instead of the printed page, it requires even less intellectual effort than reading Maxim.