Saturday, January 15, 2011

Comedy Loop

I remember Comedy Central as a new cable channel that seemed to constantly air stand-up comedians performing their bits on stage (I had to resist the urge to write exposing instead of performing which would have made for a very different sentence and an even more drastically different cable network). This was back in the day when I was still watching MTV and MTV still actually played music videos.

This line up was all well and good. Everybody enjoys the occasional stand-up routine. You get to take a break from what you are doing, the monotony of life and laugh at somebody’s jokes.

But eventually you run out of funny stand-up comedians. I noticed a few months in that there was a pretty much constant loop of performers. If you watched for three days, you would see the same routine several times. The big surprise came when they went into the vaults and pulled out some footage that hadn’t been seen in a long time. You’d be treated to a little Andy Kaufman or get some older performances from now famous personalities (Sam Kinnison, Tim Allen and Jerry Seinfeld at the time) and then the grind of mediocre talent wouldn’t seem so bad.

As expansion was inevitable, Comedy Central developed their own shows. Many have come and gone by the droves, in fact. To me, the start of it seemed to be South Park in the mid-nineties. It was a game changer for the network. From that point on, they developed show after show, some animated, some not, some just a random comedian’s shot to have his own weekly spotlight (Chapelle’s Show: good, the ventriloquist who does the bit with a jalapeno on a stick whose name I can’t remember right now: bad).

For as far as they have come over the years and for as much time as I’ve spent watching the network, I feel the need to suggest something to Comedy Central. Reign it in a little, guys.

I think there have been a few too many attempts at new shows. You have ones that work, but then you have ones that just don’t. And the whole roasting of celebrities for example needs to slow down. So you roast Joan Rivers and William Shatner, but Larry the Cable Guy and Pamela Anderson? Who comes next? Maybe Paris Hilton or Ray Parker Jr. on Ghostbusters Theme Song fame? It honestly works better when you don’t do it so often and the celebrities are accomplished.

Now that you have some quality original programming on your station, I think you should take advantage of it. Rely on those shows more. Along that line, I have a radical new suggestion for the programming schedule. It’s never been done before, but hear me out: a loop format. I know, really thinking outside the box, huh?

But select the shows carefully. I think it should be The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and South Park. Feel free, however, to sprinkle in some Tosh.0, Futurama and some stand up maybe once in awhile. I look forward to seeing this in effect next week.


  1. I must strenuously object! I could watch celebrity roasts all day long. I don't care how big or small the celebrity. Can't get enough of people saying things that they would normally get punched in the face for, all in the name of honoring someone.

  2. I would have to argue that the precise reason these roasts appeal to you is the fact that you don't often see such jokes on television. Also, when they are made at the expense of a higher end celebrity, they are even funnier. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but it wouldn't be so special if it happened once a month. Let's not become desensitized to the hilarity of roasts, as funny as they are.