Trope Workshop:Smarmy Host

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This page has been tagged as needing a better description since before the TV Tropes fork. Moving "back" to the Trope Workshop in order to get that better description.


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 with a big helping of flaming narcissism on the side. 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 as they keep the catty remarks and poorly-concealed insults flowing.

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 at his own expense. In this case, he's a Jerk With a Heart of Gold whose smarminess makes him almost come off as a non-criminal Lovable Rogue. In more fantastical settings, expect this character to commentate Gladiator Games and other dangerous blood sports while treating the horrible violence and loss of life as little more than joke fodder.

Usually, you can expect a lot of overlap with Slime Ball and Smug Snake.

This page needs a better description. You can help this wiki by expanding or clarifying the information given.


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 talent 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.

Film

Live-Action TV

  • Guy Smiley, the scenery-chewing, boisterous host of such game shows as This Is Your Lunch and Here Is Your Life on Sesame Street, is famous enough to have his own Wikipedia page.
  • 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.

Video Games

  • In the Batman Arkham video games, particularly in Batman: Arkham City, the Riddler presents himself as a smug gameshow host as he forces Batman to save other people from his death traps or solve tedious and frustrating puzzles for his own amusement. He never shuts up, often making snide remarks and belittling Batman for being dumber than him, only to throw undignified temper tantrums when Batman keeps outsmarting him.

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.