Smarmy Host

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A related trope to Kent Brockman News and Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight, this is the game show or sport event counterpart. You know the type, slicked hair and an equally slick personality. They'll crack lots of jokes of the Witty Banter type, but you always suspect they're really a Jerkass, and you're often proved correct in that assumption.

When used in an actual broadcast, this tends to go best when said host is schooled enough in Self-Deprecation to realize that he comes off as this, and uses it to make more jokes.

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Examples of Smarmy Host include:

Anime and Manga

  • In a Non Sequitur Episode of Ergo Proxy, Vincent and co. end up trapped by a Proxy who acts as a gameshow host and has this personality to a T, and delivers exposition in the form of quiz questions.
  • In an episode of Martian Successor Nadesico, the various female characters on the show participated in a fashion show to be the new captain captain for a day, and Jun and Nagare acted in the role of commentators. The latter fit into this role like a glove, being a rather jerkish Casanova.


Live-Action TV

  • Guy Smiley from Sesame Street.
  • The Joe Schmo Show had a cast of Reality TV archetypes, with the hosts' being that of "smarmy host".
  • Frequently mocked on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, including various real-life targets such as Noel Edmonds.
    • One episode had a Double Subversion where Laurie played one of these and Fry was a highbrow author who lost patience and gave him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about his personality, intellect and method of interviewing; the audience was laughing at this, and then halfway through he "forgot" his lines and it was revealed that the characters themselves were rehearsing the interview, the purpose of which was to stir up publicity and make the author look edgy and impressive.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has a lot of sketches based on this trope.

Western Animation

  • Chris on Total Drama Island to humorously sociopathic levels
  • Beaux Handsome in Word Girl. There's also Seymour Orlando Smooth. One of the villains, he's not only smarmy, but skeezy—a corrupt host who rigs all of his game shows so that none of the real contestants have an actual shot at winning. Oh, and he uses his dazzling white teeth to stun his opponents.

Real Life

  • Talk show host and former sports presenter Alan Partridge.
  • On December first, 1976, the notorious broadcast of Thames Television's Today show aired in the London region, featuring Siouxie Sioux and members of The Sex Pistols. During what was apparently thought to be pre-show banter, host Bill Grundy, apparently drunk, made a rather explicit pass at Sioux. The resulting wordplay, which included guitarist Steve Jones swearing at Grundy, resulted in the famous "The Filth and the Fury!" headline in The Daily Mirror, and effectively ended Grundy's career.