'Crews'-ing for funnies: Terry Crews is back to host Fox’s viral video series 'World's Funniest'

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Cassie Dresch / TV Media
Terry Crews hosts "World's Funniest"

Terry Crews hosts "World's Funniest"

He's big, he's brawny and he's back with the funnies. Terry Crews, the ridiculously muscly and outrageously hilarious actor and former NFLer, returns as host of a revamped version of the hit viral video series "World's Funniest," premiering its second season Friday, Nov. 6, on Fox.

"World's Funniest?" Isn't that a Fox series from the late- '90s? The short answer is: yes, sort of.

The long answer is: it was a reality series similar in format to ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" and hosted by NFL sportscaster James Brown. (It was also technically titled "The World's Funniest!") It ran for two seasons, from 1998 to 2000, with Emmy winner and Fox mainstay Mark Thompson ("American Idol," "So You Think You Can Dance") serving as announcer.

"World's Funniest" has no connection to "The World's Funniest!," and, in fact, it actually premiered earlier this year under a slightly different name. The series, produced by Dick Clark Productions and Jukin Media, debuted in January as "World's Funniest Fails," and was inspired by the YouTube channel "FailArmy," which boasts more than 8.6 million subscribers. Crews was host in season 1, and the "Fail" part of the name was dropped for the new season because, as the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actor explained to Entertainment Weekly, it was just too limiting.

"There are so many other things that are just as funny, and they really weren't considered fails," he said. "Let's just expand this world. Let's just keep it going. We had success with the last name, but we realized that it was too restricting, and now we pretty much show anything that's funny. It was a lot of liberation for us, and I think it really is a much, much better concept."

There has also been a tweak in the way that the panel of guest comedians works, as they'll no longer be nominating their favorite videos. They will still be there to offer commentary and suggestions on which videos Crews should select as the funniest, but they won't get a final vote -- all of the decisions will be left up to Crews.

"It's pretty much whatever I decide is the funniest is the funniest," he told EW. "It's kind of weird because they gave me so much power. It's like I'm the king of my own little monarchy, my own little world. I am drunk with power right now, in a major way. So the comedians will kind of say which ones they feel are the better ones and the ones I should highlight, but in the end, it's all about me and how I get to pick 'em."

The funniest video, as selected by Crews, then receives a "Golden Terry Award" -- a statue carved in Crews' likeness, "muscles and everything." (And he has a lot of them.)

While they won't have the same role as they did in season 1, the guest panelists who come in to help advise Crews know a thing or two about funny. Tone Bell ("Truth Be Told," "Bad Judge") was a panel list in the first season and will return for the next round of videos. Emmy winner Wayne Brady, of "Whose Line Is It Anyway" fame, follows in fellow "Whose Line" comedian Greg Proops's footsteps and will be a panel list this season. Other big-name comedians joining the panel this season include Margaret Cho ("Drop Dead Diva"), Natasha Leggero ("Another Period"), Sherri Shepherd ("The View") and Dana Gould ("The Simpsons").

Baron Vaughn, Mamrie Hart and Julian McCullough as seen in "World's Funniest"

Baron Vaughn, Mamrie Hart and Julian McCullough as seen in "World's Funniest"

Crews himself also knows what it takes to be funny. Following his retirement as an NFL defensive end/linebacker in 1997, Crews started dabbling in acting. He got his start in the athletic competition series "Battle Dome" and quickly followed up with a role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "The 6th Day" (2000). From there, he shot to fame doing movies such as "White Chick" (2004), "Friday After Next" (2002) and "Idiocracy" (2006) and TV series such as "Everybody Hates Chris."

These days, aside from his "World's Funniest" gig, Crews is hosting "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," starring in the Expendables film franchise, spicing things up in a run of laugh-out-loud Old Spice commercials and cracking everybody up as Sgt. Terry Jeffords in Fox's Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning comedy series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

Despite the impressive and growing resumé, as he told EW, there's something about a show like "World's Funniest" that can't be beat -- getting an immediate reaction.

"It's so much fun watching people laugh and have fun with people," he said. "When a room full of people is laughing, there's nothing that's ever going to replace that. You can watch all the movies you want by yourself, but there's something that comes with that group atmosphere. I love it. And I think 'World's Funniest' is like a big, giant party."

Join the party with the brawniest, funniest host around when the revamped version of the hit viral video series "World's Funniest" premieres Friday, Nov. 6, on Fox.