What is Mo Rocca Smoking?

8/17/2003 8:00 PM Eastern

Court TV is no Comedy Central. But its one-hour special Smoking Gun TV attempts to break into the territory of its comedic cousin.Smoking Gun
is based on the popular Web site, which publishes arrest reports, court documents and criminal complaints. The special is hosted by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
correspondent Mo Rocca.

Smoking Gun
is quite a departure from Court TV's usual serious investigative fare. The show looks at cases from the Web site through reenactments and "scientific" examinations.

Indeed, the funniest segments are the ones that originate from "The Smoking Gun laboratories." The show's investigation into the divorce filing claim of Brooke Gordon, former wife of National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing star Jeff Gordon, that fishing is more dangerous than stock car racing, is a highlight. And its offbeat conclusion is certainly one of the funnier moments.

Some of Rocca's bits fall flat. His celebrity mugshot makeover, attempting to adopt the look of Nick Nolte's 1992 drunk driving arrest picture, drags on a bit too long and is not very amusing. The show and Rocca's comedy are hit or miss. Among the tales of stripper-related injuries, a somewhat attractive meat thief for whom Rocca explores landing a modeling contract, complaints from visitors to Mount Rushmore and Martha Stewart-related injuries are some truly funny segments. But there are moments when the shows tangential jumps make very little sense.

Maybe Rocca's comedy is best taken in the small doses meted out on The Daily Show.

Some of the livelier moments and better oneliners and sight gags come out of the scenes between the crime segments with Rocca in various places — mostly in a library — surrounded by pretty young interns. But he seems to have trouble carrying the full hour by himself.

Despite its shortcomings, the special promises to be, as Rocca himself joked, the funniest show on Court TV — at least intentionally.

But viewers might be better served with looking for his reports on The Daily Show.

Smoking Gun TV
premieres Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.

Want to read more stories like this?
Get our Free Newsletter Here!