No laughing matter


Want to write for one of these? Good luck, kids!


By Caitlin Kelly

Hey, what’s more fun than punching down?

Apparently, nothing, thanks to the appalling lack of judgment by executives at Netflix who have ordered eight episodes of a TV series to — wait for it — “prank” job-seekers.

You know, like yanking away the cat toy just as it pounces.

Gaten Matarazzo, a child actor starring in Stranger Things and way too many commercials, signed up for this steaming pile of garbage.

A reaction from :

You know him as one of the kids dealing with the Upside Down on Netflix’s Stranger Things, but if you see him coming now–you should be the one to run. Gaten Matarazzo is producing and starring in a new prank show, Prank Encounters, and Netflix just ordered eight episodes. Deadline describes it as follows:

Each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.

Do you know what I have to say to this? No, no, no, and no.

Sure, we love to laugh at people’s misfortune–America’s Funniest Home Videos–made a fortune off people falling off step ladders and tripping over the dog. But, there’s a key difference here: people in that show submitted their own videos–they were laughing at themselves. This show sets people up for public entertainment with unasked for humiliation.

And it does it in a very vulnerable time of life–job hunting.


Looking for a job, or part-time work, or freelance work, is emotionally and intellectually exhausting — certainly if you are over 40, 50 or beyond when age discrimination already severely limits options for many people.

Just cancel the whole thing.

And, while we’re at it, for anyone interested in the brutal and absurd economics of freelance writing — witness the endless virtue-signaling, wagon-circling and knife-sharpening of late over an American magazine writer, now on staff at The New York Times Magazine (basically writers’ Everest, the coveted and unattainable peak of pay and prestige) and her crazy pay scale.

Some people have leaped to her defense — she works so hard! — while others simply wonder how so many other hard-working and talented writers are now, instead, desperately grateful to get paid even 25 percent of what she said she earns.


It’s a madhouse.


Work truly can be a four-letter word.

18 thoughts on “No laughing matter

  1. Susan Dunphy

    Obviously, the people who created this series never lost a job in their life. I’ve been laid off twice and can tell you that there’s nothing funny about the situation.

  2. Lynn Blin

    The Netflix show is outrageous. It’s taking people who are already vulnerable, building up hopes, and then making them butts of a pitiful an pitiless joke. It’s more than lighthearted embarrassment humour which was the idea behind Candid Camera- it’s shame humour. Embarrassment is temporary- shame is permanent.

      1. Well, there’s this bizarre American way of cheating called gerrymandering; there’s voter suprression; there’s Russian interference and….millions of voters who ADORE this pathetic excuse for a man.

        We are very worried…with 22 (!) Democrats running for President and NO party clarity on what platform will actually WIN….moderate bullshit or moving to the left with stuff like single payer healthcare. The Democrats are so divided I have little faith they will win.

      2. OMG! I don’t follow American news all that much, a bit here and there but I thought he would get booted out. I used to feel that there was a lot to learn from Americans but it’s been quite a long time since I’ve felt that way and if he’s re-elected, well, the US is going to be a mess. My husband has said that he won’t visit until the DT is gone.
        And gerrymandering? Stephen Harper tried to do that and WAS booted out, rightly so.
        So sorry to hear this.

      3. It is both a question of how insanely devoted his base is…despite his persistently low popularity stats AND (again) the goddamn disarray of the Democratic party…There are a few Presidential hopefuls pushing HARD to the left with issues like single payer healthcare (radical change many of us are desperate for)….versus old white men like Joe Biden who take $$$$$$$ from wealthy donors and likely won’t make any changes.

        It is a very frightening time here….but I see no way to approximate in Canada the life and work we enjoy here.

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