Give 'Em a Grade: Comedy Central's New Shows
It's only April, but Comedy Central has just wrapped its fourth new show of 2013. Four new shows, four seasons, all done! In less than four months! Other networks are still wiping the sleep boogers from their eyes, while Comedy Central is working harder than the buttons on the back flap of J-Lo's pajama pants.
But are any of these new shows any good? Actually, yes! But how good, like an A grade? Or four out of five stars? A drawing of a guy falling asleep in his chair? A splattered tomato? Let's keep it simple and GIVE 'EM A GRADE!
THE JESELNIK OFFENSIVE
Debuted/Ended: The insults began February 13, and they ended last night, on April 23.
Star: Standup comedian Anthony Jeselnik, known for his less-than-PC humor and pissing people off on Twitter.
Show style: Talk show with weekly panels comprised of his friends, including Patton Oswalt, Doug Benson, Aziz Ansari, Kristen Schaal, and Jeff Ross. The discussion covers current events, often in offensive ways that will make your grandmother spit-take her Earl Grey.
Highlights: No matter how many racists, misogynists, and necrophiliacs you hang out with, Jeselnik always goes "there," where no decent human being should ever be. The bits where he invites audience members to engage in racist competitions are excellent (video below), and his guests include some of the best alt-comics in the business.
Lowlights: Pardon me while I put a stick up my ass, but the guest panels are edited to smithereens, resulting in a choppy highlight reel. Yeah, it bothers me!
Tim's final grade: B-minus, with other sensitive types probably giving this an F-minus.
Debuted/Ended: Kroll jumped onto TV screens on January 16, and his eight-episode debut season wrapped on March 6. He's already been renewed for Season 2.
Star: Comedian Nick Kroll, who currently stars in The League, and has appeared on just about everything from Community to New Girl. And given the amount of appearances Jon Daly (Happy Endings, Comedy Bang Bang, The Life and Times of Tim) makes, it could have been called The Daly Show except Comedy Central already has one of those.
Show style: Stoner-friendly sketch comedy, with bits that are loosely connected and recurring characters crossing over from sketch to sketch, like a baby Mr. Show.
Highlights: Anything with El Chupacabra, Wheels Ontario, that Europe hostel thing (below), Armond, Pony Tales, and many more.
Lowlights: Lots of other stuff, but even the bad sketches take on some weird hilarious existence of their own.
Tim's final grade: Inconsistent, but an A when it's on and a C when it's off, which means a B!
THE BEN SHOW
Debuted/Ended: Ben did stuff starting February 28, and stopped doing it on April 18.
Star: Comedian Ben Hoffman, who worked on Sports Show with Norm MacDonald.
Show style: In each episode, Ben decides to give something a try (like buying a gun or getting a tattoo) and consults everyone from his father to strangers about it. His real-world interviews are broken up by unrelated sketches featuring songs about internet video trends, Todd Bridge's animated stories of being a crackhead, and fake auditions for fake movies.
Highlights: The show's transitions between sketches, which are performed by random people on the street or recent interviewees; YoBitchuaries! (video below); Hoffman's improvised interviews; his bits with Norm MacDonald; and his painfully awkward stares.
Lowlights: Some of his sketches are all like, "whaaaaaat?" For example: the Retweeter, the Facebook Liker, the Barfer, and the barbershop quartet that sings porn titles.
Tim's final grade: C, with lots of potential to improve.
NATHAN FOR YOU
Debuted/Ended: The advice began February 28, and went out of business on April 18.
Show style: Part prank show, part stunt show, Nathan For You finds Fielder using his business degree to offer tips to struggling small businesses that are hoping to turn things around. Like convincing a frozen yogurt shop to make a poo-flavored yogurt to drum up curiosity.
Highlights: Fielder's awkward deadpan camera presence is surprisingly confident, creating a new television personality that will become a cult favorite. There's really nothing else like it on television. His special "The Claw of Shame" bit—in which he attempted to escape from handcuffs while a robotic arm on a timer threatened to pull down his pants in front of an audience of children in the presence of a cop who would arrest him as a sex offender—was pure genius. But the surprising part of the show is how much it reveals about people, both good and bad.
Lowlights: Not much.
Tim's final grade: A. I have a new hero.
Have you checked out any of Comedy Central's new offerings this year? What'd you think?
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