The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday March 28th

UNC Grad Makes Bid for Fame With His Own Comedy Show

UNC graduates normally shoot for the big time by heading to New York or L.A. Troy Griffin, on the other hand, decided to stay home and bring the big time to Chapel Hill.

A May 2000 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Griffin has found success as producer and host of "Random Insanity," an irreverent variety show on Chapel Hill's cable access People's Channel. The show premiered in December, and has quickly established its bad self -- in a good way, of course.

"I hate to label it," Griffin said of his show, "but it's like a cross between '(The) Tom Green (Show),' 'Jackass' and 'The Man Show.'"

Like those go-for-broke comedy shows, "Random Insanity" will go to any length to get a laugh. Segments for the show come from just about anywhere. A stuffy Thai restaurant has become a DJ funk party, a critical lens has been turned on a best buns contest at the beach, and -- most memorably -- a toenail has been pulled out of a toe by someone's teeth.

Nudity and profanity are not obstacles on the quest for "Insanity." "We're not setting out to be profane," Griffin said of the show. "It's a TV show ... I'm trying to put together a show people will watch."

Inspiration for "Random Insanity" came before the success of "The Tom Green Show" and "Jackass." "I had this idea years ago, so at first I was pissed," Griffin says. "But they've opened the window, and my show's different enough that it won't be labeled a copycat."

The idea to do the variety show was in the front of Griffin's mind his senior year at UNC, when he worked and learned at the "Carolina Week" news program, which airs on Student Television.

"I took in as much information as I could there, because I knew I wanted to do the cable show," Griffin said.

It was the professional atmosphere of "Carolina Week," not the news aspect, that attracted Griffin. "I learned a standard of professionalism from that show as far as quality and putting it together," he said.

But while his work with "Carolina Week" was able to reach the entire audience of UNC students, his new show does not, since neither UNC nor Carrboro's cable services carry Chapel Hill's People's Channel. "I'm trying to get it on in Carrboro and added to STV," he said of the cable crossover problem. "It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

Griffin is sticking to his guns though, and producing an episode of "Random Insanity" every week to air Saturday nights at midnight. He's starting at the bottom and working up toward his life's aspiration: working with Oprah Winfrey.

"She embodies everything I believe in," he said. "She's taken her thing and helped millions of people."

"Random Insanity" is just a step on the way to Griffin's true ambition. "I want to be able to help change people's lives, and hopefully, this'll get me noticed."

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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