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Ghostbusters Reference Review - Ghostbusters 2016 At Midnight

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 22, 2020 at 12:00 PM , Categories: References
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Most Ghostbusters references are short bits that can best be encapsulated with a small video clip, as evidenced by Spook Central's collection of Ghostbusters reference videos on Critical Commons. However, sometimes there's a reference for which a small clip won't do it justice. It is for these types of references that I have this reoccurring feature here at Spook Central, the Ghostbusters Reference Review.

A WORD OF WARNING: From here on, discussion will be made of an UNCENSORED television show. Language that some people might find objectionable will be used, and the show is NOT FOR CHILDREN. Consider yourself warned.

At Midnight, officially stylized as @midnight, was an American late night Internet-themed panel game show, hosted by Chris Hardwick, that aired Monday through Thursday nights between October 21, 2013 and August 4, 2017 on Comedy Central. In this mock game show, which made extensive use of the United States' Fair Use doctrine, because the on-screen personalities provided commentary on various clips taken from the Internet which parent company Viacom DID NOT OWN, three guests would compete in a series of improv games based on these clips. The three guests on the Friday July 22, 2016 episode were Paul Feig (director & co-writer), Neil Casey (actor "Rowan North"), and Milana Vayntrub (actor "Subway Rat Woman"); all of whom were there to promote the recently-released Ghostbusters (2016) (aka Ghostbusters: Answer The Call).

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0:00 - The episode starts with the cold open in which host Chris Hardwick presents a Facebook-sourced video about Dr. Sandra Lee, aka "Dr. Pimple Popper", whom he describes as "a foxy dermatologist who posts hot and nasty videos of bursting pimples, cysts and blackheads that are of interest to two groups -- other dermatologists and very specific masturbators." The video that Dr. Lee posted on Facebook on July 14, 2016, which may have been used on the show without her permission, features squeezable pimple-shaped cupcakes that a bakery had sent to her. Chris asks his guests what video they would rather see than that one. Paul gives a dirty comment about a a sperm bank, while Neil goes classy with, "comprehensive GoPro footage of the busiest hooker at the RNC". Interestingly, Milana answers, "I would have rather watched a baby squirrel being flung directly into oncoming traffic." Years later, she would provide the voice of Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, in Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors.

1:40 - Chris throws to the show logo, and thus officially starts the show. He mentions that the show is being taped a couple of days in advance because, on Friday July 22, 2016, he will actually be at San Diego Comic Con. Then he introduces his guests, "the director and two co-stars of Ghostbusters, in theatres right now". Although Milana's character of "Subway Rat Woman" is hardly a "co-star", she does garber the greatest applause from the audience. That's not a surprise since who doesn't love cute and awesome women?!?

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3:01 - "Ripped from today's internet headlines, this is Rapid Refresh". Rapid Refresh is a game where contestants craft a funny response or choose an answer based on an Internet meme or trending news headline. The first item is "An Alternative to GhostBussing", which was a recent news item about Lyft's "Ghost Mode" which allowed riders to be driven around in Ecto-1. A screenshot from a Nerdist article about the promotion was shown. No permission needed to show that, since Chris Hardwick founded Nerdist. Anyway, Chris asks his "ghostbusting expert" guests what is something they might hear from a Lyft driver in Ecto-1? Milana, the clever girl that she is, responds with, "Who you gonna call? Get it? Like the movie. Please don't let it be Uber. I need this Lyft." Neil makes a joke about a pot-smoking Lyft driver thinking that the car is haunted, while Paul gets in another shot at the haters of Ghostbusters (2016) with, "Thanks for ruining my childhood, asshole." After the laughter dies down, he follows it up by saying, "And to be clear... they only say that to me."

4:10 - The next Rapid Refresh item is "Pranking Dead" (the show skips over "The Internet Gets Butthurt"). Chris says, "People are eagerly awaiting to find out who dies in the season premiere of Walking Dead. I, for one, hope it's the host of Talking Dead." He then mentions that Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on the show, posted a video on Instagram of him pulling a prank on fellow cast member Andrew Lincoln. The panelists are asked what the prank was, and are given two choices, one of which is rather naughty. After Paul gives a mock answer, the Instagram video posted by Norman Reedus on July 19, 2016 was shown. It is not known if Mr. Reedus gave the producers permission to show his video, but I suspect he would approve since Chris Hardwick is the host of Talking Dead, so there is a connection there.

5:36 - The third Rapid Refresh item shown, because "[Earth] [Sun] [Fire] emojis" was skipped, is "Yum in the Pink". Kotaku reports that Kirby-themed cafes are coming to Japan in August 2016 with foods and drinks based around the video game character. This article segues into a discussion of video game characters named after real-life people, such as Kirby being named after John Kirby, Nintendo's lawyer back in the '80s; and Mario being named after Mario Segale, the landlord of Nintendo's American corporate offices. Chris asks, "What's another video game character you think has a real-world origin?" Milana gives the sad and sarcastic answer, "Link from Zelda. He's named after the emotional thing I could never have with another human." Neil jokes that "Pikachu is named after a real-life serial killer, Pete Cut-You [who] used to electrocute drifters while screaming his own name". Finally, Paul gives a joke that, ironically, is flat: "Lara Croft is named after a real-life archaeologist with back-achingly huge jugs." Milana, who is rather blessed in the chest herself, yells out to the audience, "Don't laugh. It's a problem!" Have I imparted how much I adore that woman?

7:28 - That is the end of Rapid Refresh. The "#SkaterSmash" and "Audio Quiz" items seen on the board were both skipped, even in the extended version of the episode.

7:30 - Now it's time for tonight's Hashtag Wars, which is a game in which the contestants buzz in with a phrase based on the given hashtag theme. Chris mentions Comic Con again, and unlicensed photos from various people's Facebook profiles are shown: a Getty Images photo of model Adrianne Curry with other Slave Leia cosplayers at Star Wars Celebration V on August 14, 2010 that a Facebook page named "Cosplay" re-posted on June 13, 2016 (I'm sure that neither Cosplay or Viacom obtained a license from Getty to use their image), a photo posted on May 29, 2014 by Hip Hop Trooper, and "that weird cosplay you can't figure out the origin for" (the second photo on this page though the show credits it to a site named "Orzzz").

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This all leads to tonight's theme: #ComicConIn5Words. The contestants have 60 seconds to blurt out as many hastags as they can think of. Chris stars off by giving two examples.
  • Chris: "Trying to fuck Nathan Fillion."
  • Chris: "Brony after-party gets nasty."
  • Paul: "Chris Hardwick moderates 300 panels."
  • Milana: "What's a comic? Ooh, reboots."
  • Neil: "Hooked up with least famous Ewok."
  • Milana: "Woke up with Chewbacca Mom."
  • Paul: "Where's the fucking comic books?"
  • Milana: "Smells bad. Smells real bad."
  • Milana: "Met Incredible Hulk from Fresno."
  • Paul: "The greatest people in the world."
Yes, not only did Paul Feig kiss a little ass with that last one, he also went over the five word limit. Milana is clearly seen counting it out on her fingers. I just know that she wants those points taken away from Feig. She wants to win this fake game show, DAMMIT!

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9:31 - After a return from commercials, Chris promotes his Nerdist podcast live recording tonight and tomorrow night, as well as his stand-up comedy tour. Then it's time to play Trailer Trash. Chris introduces this game by saying, "Movies are like people. Most of them are shitty." This elicits laughter from Paul Feig. Oh, the irony.

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The object of the game is to answer questions based on some trailer clips being shown. I'm sure that the owners of the trailer clips were not compensated for their use in this show that Viacom is earning revenue from. I'd just like to point that out. Anyway, first is the trailer for the Ghana movie 2016 1&2. Chris wants to know when this movie was made. Neil says, "When they taught an Adobe After Effects class at an insane asylum." However, Milana, thinks that someone right there in the room made it. "I honestly don't know how Paul had time between Spy and Ghostbusters."

The next trailer is for the Japanese film House, or Hausu, Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 monstrous mansion meltdown. Chris wants to what Craigslist ad the contestants would post to find a roommate for this house. Paul doesn't know, "but I think I just found my next reboot." See, Paul, now you're on the right path. You're supposed to remake SHITTY films, not good ones.

Third up is the "stone-cold non-classic" Andy and the Airwave Rangers. In the clip shown, several characters tell Andy, "You don't want to go there." This prompts Chris to ask, "Where don't you want to go?" Paul says, "The hair and makeup trailer." Neil comes back with, "To the single-stall office bathroom after that first guy got out of it." Milana, being so damn awesome, gives the definitive answer: "Scott Baio's van." As she does throughout the show, Milana gives her answers with a straight face, only exhibiting a slight smile, because she knows that that's the best way to sell the jokes. At least one person on the panel understands comedy.

The fourth trailer clip is from Praise Band, which Chris describes as "Spinal Tap at church". Chris wants to know what the people in the movie should call their praise band. Paul's answer is "Jesus Christ, Make It Stop", while Neil is confident with "God's First Mistake", and Milana comes up with "Neil Young & Praisy Horse".

The show is now up to its FIFTH unremunerated trailer clip, which comes from After Last Season. The movie features atrociously bad acting, prompting Chris to ask, "What did the director say to get those riveting performances?" Paul comes up with "Once more, but this time with no feeling.", and Milana's answer is "You're gonna have to yell, because Mitch forgot the goddamn boom mike again!"

The sixth and final trailer clip is Thunder of Gigantic Serpent. The film was directed by Charles Lee, so Chris wants the panelists to give him a line from Lee's Oscar acceptance speech. "I'd like to thank the cancer I have and the Make-a-Wish Foundation for making this possible," says Milana, proving that although she may look cute and innocent, but she can be as tasteless as the best of 'em. Paul's answer seems downright classy in comparison: "This goes out to all the people who doubted I could shoot a movie in a public park." And with that, the Trailer Trash round is over.

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14:49 - Less than 10 minutes left on this thing, and it's time for the live challenge, entitled "Q&A-Holes". Chris introduces this game by bringing up Comic Con again, and the fact that celebrity guests at con panels are often asked questions by fans who know their work better than the celebrities do. Chris' challenge for the contestants is to come up with the worst question they could ask at a Comic Con panel. Upon the return from commercial break, Paul, Neil, and Milana are standing at a microphone in the live studio audience area, as if they were in a real con audience asking their questions to a celebrity on stage. Neil's question is really simple, but kinda gross: "Can I smell your chair?" Milana, showing why I love that Uzie woman, gets up to the mike and says, "Hi. I'm super excited to be here around all of these young people in amazing costumes. Anyway, I figured this would be the quickest way to tell everyone that I am a registered sex offender."

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As if Paul could top that, he approaches the microphone while wearing a sign that reads, "Ted Schwartz, Knife Fight, Atlantis Pictures", and says, "Hi, I'm just some random geek. I just wanted to say that, as good as your movie is, I thought it kind of paled in comparison to this awesome new movie called Knife Fight. It's made by Atlantis Studios. Everybody here might want to check it out instead of this movie... but I'm just some random geek." Chris grants 1,000 points to Milana, and 500 each to Neil and Paul.

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17:39 - The next game is "The Pop Science of Sex", which gets Milana all excited, prompting her to do a little dance. Yeah, the wrong Paul was on the show that day, I can tell you :-) Chris notices and remarks to the audience, "It was very brave for her to admit to everyone that she's a registered sex offender." Milana, the comic genius that she is, rolls with it. "I'm very vulnerable on this stage." Anyway, the topic behind the game is that dating apps publish click-baitey articles based on survey results from their users, such as The Huffington Post's August 11, 2010 article entitled "iPhone Users Have More Sex Than Android Users", Time's February 4, 2015 article entitled "People Who Use Emojis Have More Sex", and Time's April 8, 2015 article entitled "People Who Love Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Have Way More Sex Than Those Who Don't". Chris asks the audience if that was a survey of "Kraft singles"? Milana is not impressed by the lame "Dad joke" and reluctantly gives him a pity clap.

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Chris starts the timer, and the "comedians" have 60 seconds to give him as many sensationalist dating studies as they can.
  • Milana: "People great at finding G-Spots also great at finding brunch spots.
  • Paul: "Anal sex lets you remain a virgin, aka the Poophole Loophole.
  • Neil: "If the profile photo is one beautiful girl and one less beautiful girl, it's 100% of the time the beautiful girl. Just go for it, say aye.
  • Neil: "90% of men on Ashley Madison are cheating on their wives with an algorithm.
  • Paul: "Pokemon Go users less likely to neglect the balls.
  • Milana: "Shocking poll reveals that men who respect women are more likely to be liked by women.
At the end of "The Pop Science of Sex", Neil ends up in third place, which means that he has to be eliminated. His parting words were a simple and sincere, "Thank you for the opportunity." In true Ghostbusters fashion, Chris cues the traditional red light that bathes all losing contestants by saying, "Trap him!"

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20:13 - The scores are erased and the remaining two contestants, Paul and Milana, play the final round called "FTW (For The Win)". How fitting that it's Paul and Milana to the end :-) For FTW, Chris will read a question and Paul and Milana will write down their answers. Following the final commercial break, the answers will be read back anonymously and the winner will be decided by whose answer generates the biggest response from the studio audience. That person "wins the Internet for the next 23.5 hours".

Chris shows The Huffington Post's July 19, 2016 article entitled "J.J. Abrams Admits To Major 'Star Wars' Opening Crawl Error", which reports about a couple of missing commas in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. Chris tasks Paul and Milana to come up with their own Star Wars opening crawl that will make fans even more upset. Let's see what they came up with:

1. "It is a period of civil war between the forces commanded by Jar Jar Binks, and the forces of Jar Jar's more annoying twin brother, Gar Gar Binks. And they're gonna be played by girls!"

2. "Now this is the story all about how The galaxy got flipped, turned upside down And I'd like to take a minute just wait, of course I'll tell you how our hero Rey learned to use The Force."

I think it's pretty obvious whose response was #1, and thankfully, the audience chose #2. That means that MILANA VAYNTRUB HAS WON THE INTERNET! "She's the funniest person for the next 23 and a half hours." Even Paul Feig, rightfully, bows to her. While her reign may have ended 3 years and 364 days ago, Milana will ALWAYS be the funniest person on the Internet to me. You can find her on Twitter @MintMilana. How did she know that I like my Milanas in mint condition?!?

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At Midnight is NOT available to buy on DVD or Blu-ray, so you can not officially own a copy of this episode, much less the entire 600-episode series. I don't think that show owner Viacom could even put the show out on DVD or Blu-ray since the show uses UNLICENSED footage that Viacom does NOT OWN and has NOT PAID FOR. It may not even be 100% legal for Viacom to sell it streaming on Amazon (ep #92). The above time-stamped review serves as a text commentary on the 23-minute video below, which is compressed and in DVD-resolution.

Play Video
Watch the Extended & Uncensored July 22, 2016 Episode
(23:07, 852x480, 158 Mb, optional English subtitles)

PATREON-EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURE - All 65 full-size 1920x1080 framegrabs from this episode.


For the complete list of Spook Central's Ghostbusters Reference Review posts from years past, check out the References category.

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