We critics do not toss around the phrase “greatest show in television history” lightly, partly because those of us under the age of 70 have not seen every show in television history. But no other phrase will do to describe “Killer Karaoke,” a deranged series arriving Friday on truTV that is simultaneously the highest possible use of the medium and the most profound statement ever made about the human condition. Also, it’s hilarious, in an I’m-ashamed-to-be-laughing-at-this sort of way.
Yet “Killer Karaoke,” while it’s the greatest show in television history, cannot claim to have the greatest title in television history. It is edged out for that honor out by another show also having its premiere on Friday night: “Wives With Knives,” on Investigation Discovery. Who knows what we collectively did to deserve such a historic evening of TV viewing. Apparently we’re all living right.
“Killer Karaoke” is a bar bet gone haywire in which contestants, apparently of their own free will, deliver karaoke numbers while undergoing hardships of a kind not generally conducive to singing.
Not to give too much away, but snakes play a significant role in the premiere. So do cactuses, scorpions and hair removal. And there hasn’t been a funnier two minutes on television this year than the segment in which a game Georgia fellow named Michael Daniel performs the Allman Brothers classic “Ramblin’ Man” singing-waiter style while being electroshocked. If you like that sort of thing.