The Sleazy Glory of Who Wants $2.69?

Rob Hutton
3 min readFeb 3, 2021
Fan art by Eagle Scout Brandon Pederson

Martin Urbano is the most miraculously uncancelled man in comedy. Every week, he goes live on Twitch and talks about his fondness for the works of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, his good friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and Allen Dershowitz, his assorted criminal enterprises, and of course his interest in pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and everything else under the problematic sun. What’s more, he does it to the delight of a fandom known for being progressive and sensitive, once described as “obscenely nice.”

The show in question is called Who Wants $2.69? (say it out loud), a comedic game show b̵a̵s̵e̵d̵ ̵o̵f̵f̵ ̵W̵h̵o̵ ̵W̵a̵n̵t̵s̵ ̵t̵o̵ ̵b̵e̵ ̵a̵ ̵M̵i̵l̵l̵i̵o̵n̵a̵i̵r̵e̵ using an entirely unique and original format. Contestants are asked shockingly hard questions about bug sex, famous criminals, and assorted general knowledge, usually with a longwinded comedic introduction. To help them, contestants can beg for Martin’s “blessings”, which can include everything from a “Plea Deal or No Plea Deal” mini-game to an opportunity to phone a friend (and get them to send Martin money.)

Urbano is, of course, joking about all the sex crime stuff (I hope so, anyway), but it’s the kind of joking that has drawn furious criticism to many would-be edgy comedians. Howstever, his routine has become beloved by the left-wing Planet Scum audience — the very “woke mob” which Martin decries on-air. On any given week, you can find The George Lucas Talk Show raising money for the National Bail Fund the day before Who Wants 2.69, and Robby Hoffman sensitively explaining non-binary identities three days after on the same Twitch channel. Perhaps the closest thing that ties it to the rest of the network is the sense of improvisatory chaos, of elaborate rules immediately falling apart, that carries through so many of the network’s programming, and its predecessors The Chris Gethard Show and Chris Gethard Presents. To illustrate this continuity, and because I wanted to, I made an alignment chart.

This is science.

Maybe the reason Who Wants $2.69 works is that the joke is always on Martin, and the various predators of society, rather than the victims. Maybe it’s because Urbano uses the show to highlight injustices ranging from the continued career of Chris Brown to the whiteness of Oscar winners. Maybe it’s that over time Martin’s inability to give straightforward hints or really speak extemporaneously has become the main joke. Maybe it’s that catchy music that plays at the end of the show. Or maybe it’s just because Martin Urbano is such a charming devil. In any case, it’s one of the highlights of my week, and one of the few shows that captures all of my attention in these extremely distracting times.

So if you ever find yourself wondering what country has the lowest age of consent, or which inappropriate songs the Kidz Bop Kidz have sang, tune in on Monday nights. You can also watch the other Planet Scum shows, but I’m not writing articles about them until they offer to pay me.