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! 

Video evidence: 

Tim's final grade: B-minus, with other sensitive types probably giving this an F-minus.



KROLL SHOW

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. 

Video evidence: 

 

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.

Video evidence:

 

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. 

Star: Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder, who's appeared on Jon Benjamin Has a Van and who wrote for Important Things with Demitri Martin

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?

Comments (57)
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Looks like I have to check out The Jeselnik Offensive and Nathan For You.
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Watched the Pilot of Nathan for you, made me think of original Ali G mixed with Trigger Happy TV, then went to youtube and watched an episode of Trigger Happy TV.

Highly recommended british sketch comedy show from ages ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NiDzzjIl1c
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The Jeselnik Offensive is funny, but I attribute that to the guests and audience volunteers more than Anthony himself. His standup is like a game of battleship...only 16% of the shots actually hit.
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The Jeselnik Offensive was hi-larious. No wonder it got voted down so much. People have no sense of humour. They're too busy feigning outrage for fear of being called racist. It's kinda ironic, actually, since they play right into Jeselnik's point.
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I just discovered him through this article and binged on the entire season. I read comments here about some roasts he did. He was hysterically funny when roasting Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen and the other comics. Check them out on youtube.
He is the only one on this list that is A+ for me. I preferred Kroll when he was on The League. I don't know the ben/kate (?) show and will stick to the saying "if you can't say something nice then don't say it"...but I reserve the right to change my mind:-)

I love Jeselnik's offensively funny humor. I don't take any of it personally since it is his job to be funny. However I can see how some people may be offended. JT had a good comments about the format of the show needing some tweaking but Jeselnik is hot and makes me laugh. Plus I like dark humor that doesn't shy away from traditionally taboo topics
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We need shows like these, mainstream comedy shows are really quite boring!!!!
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This article shows just how lame TV is in March. Who cares...
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Yeah, what kind of loser wants to watch hilarious, original comedy?
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Wow, all the voting is so polarized. I'm in the "A" category for all except The Ben Show. Jeselnik Offensive gets an A+ because he had my favorite guests on.
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Ben and Nathan? Who? Never heard of them. It's like they were never promoted.
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Kroll Show definetely had its moments where it broke through, but it was wildly inconsistent. Jeselnik's show is too much like Jeff Ross's. I feel like maybe CC should combine the two or something.
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I'm going to have to assume that everybody that voted Nathan and Ben less than a B are huge fans of The Big Bang Theory and thus have no right to ever judge a comedy show.
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Jeselnik: I heard his first stand up album when it came out, and it was one of the best comedy albums I've ever heard. The second was alright. Roast-wise he was fantastic in the Trump one, but I feel he had to water down his material in the Sheen one. As for the show, it feels too structured for me to enjoy it too much. Plus, I never really liked his twitter account jokes based around pop culture, and this is more or less an extension of that. I still laugh on occasion, but it needs a bit of a revamp. B-.

Kroll: I like Nick Kroll's acting career, and he seems great in interviews, but I genuinely hate his stand up personas, and I think they're lazy. That said, it works a lot better in the sketch show. My favorite ones are the PubLizity and Rich D-Bags stuff. A-

Nathan: I had no idea who he was, so at first I ignored the show, but when I first watched it a couple of weeks ago, it was hilarious. When he did that interview only saying the things the turtle said, I was hooked on the show.

Now, CC, keep what you have, and make a stand up showcase show, and I'll be happy.
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The only things I have ever watched on Comedy Central is The Daily Show, South Park and Futurama. Some people may say I have missed out on some great shows, but with so many things on TV who got the time for more.
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Well, you'll have another half hour free since Futurama's been canned.
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Missing out on "Strangers with Candy" and "The Upright Citizens Brigade" was definitely your loss (IMO, of course). But you're also right in that there's just so much to watch these days that you really do have to pick and choose and just forget about the great things that you passed on, rightly or wrongly.
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I dunno about Jelsenik. That "racist contest" is pretty funny and amazing, but I've been so pissed off and hurt by Tosh's crappy misogynist stuff that I'm afraid to watch and be burned.
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So you didn't like one comic's jokes, therefore you're not going to watch a different comic?
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That's not what I meant, just that I usually don't like when people use offending-everyone-that's-not-them as jokes, so I'm wary of watching someone who does just that, even though the try I had seems good.
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Jeselnik is an equal opportunity offender. If you're going to go the non-PC route, that's definitely the way to do it.
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that's why it such a great show--makes fun of everyone and is not meant to be taken serious (duh, it's a comedy...sheesh, some people...not you...take comedy way to seriously)
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That's what it sounds like. I just need to figure out if I can really enjoy going the non-PC route ;)
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come to the dark side
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Do you have cookies?
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After watching Jelsenik on the Roast of Charlie Sheen, I had high hopes for his show. But after watching a couple episode it just never landed for me. One of the eps I watched had Kristen Schaal, who's one of my favourite people of all time. and it still didn't cut it.
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I haven't watched the other two, but I tried watching and really wanted to like Jeselnik's and Kroll's shows because I generally find them both very funny. They also seem to have plenty of guests that I like.

Kroll started with a disadvantage for me personally because I've never been able to like sketch shows very much... and that feeling didn't change with The Kroll Show. I didn't feel like watching it past the second episode.

The Jeselnik Offensive only got two episodes out of me too. While I like his standup and some of his jokes in the show, I find it as a whole quite boring and kinda stale. I guess it has something to do with the format... or maybe it's because Jeselnik's 'persona' is kinda bland as a host.
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The people who are giving all the Fs either do it out of principle because they hate CC, they are missing the humour part of their brain or they are just want to ruin the poles.
I have to say I really like Jeselnik's show. I give it a full A+. As a fan of sharp, British stand-up comedians, Jeselnik's material works for me. Also, Jeselnik says he is inspired by Mitch Hedberg, who happens to be my favourite stand-up comedian of all time, so that gives he some extra points.
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Man, thanks for mentioning Mitch. He's also among my very most favorites and I still miss him to this day. It really made me smile when I saw him appear as one of the Jeopardy! answers (well, questions) a few months ago. It was related to the "escalators can never break, they just become stairs" joke. Sadly, none of the contestants knew his name.
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I like the Jeselnik Offensive, but at the same time I'm giving it a "C" because the second sections with the panel are often misses - "Latino Voices" is a 1-second funny joke that runs for several minutes, and "Defend your tweet" just feels forced. The show is wasteful on getting its ideas across and squanders its time.

I agree, "B" for Kroll Show. Loved the first few episodes, but it too often relies on repeating gags and characters until the wit is wrung all the way out, so the latter half was a mixed event.

No vote for The Ben Show, it was poorly promoted so I never bothered watching.

Ditto Nathan for You, no grade.

That's IT??? That's all CC had for us this season? Jeez, that's sad.
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Nathan For You is my favorite of the group
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Out of these shows, the only one I've seen is Jeselnik and I think he's hilarious and I like his face.
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Nathan for you is freaking hilarious. I haven't seen the ben show yet. Jeselnik is hit and miss for me. And i feel i need to be high to laugh at Kroll which might as well be what he went for.
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i see there is too much hate for CC Shows .. HAH !

i like Kroll Show but on top of that i like Key & Peele
Jeselnik Offensive has some funny bits but the show in general is crap
i didn't watch The Ben Show or Nathan For You and i wouldn't care about them
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Personally, I think Key & Peele is the funniest original thing CC has on right now. I was both pleased and surprised that it did well enough to get renewed. Those two guys are *very* sharp and make some top quality sketch comedy.
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Nick Kroll's show was actually pretty damn funny. None were as good as "Stella" or "Michael and Michael have Issues". They make strange decisions on who to renew at CC.
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Yeah, the keep around the popular stuff and cancel the stuff nobody watches. Isn't that strange?
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I am new to watching comedy central again after stopping South Park. I find Jeselnik, Tosh and Nathan entertaining.
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I haven't seen all episodes of the Kroll show, but there's no way the others are better. I cant believe the number of people that have failed it.
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there is 29 ppl thinking nathan for u is a fail???!!! this world has gone to shit...:(
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I enjoyed all four of these and caught every episode of each.

I love Nick Kroll and was really glad to see him get his own show. Not every single segment was a winner but it was way more hit than miss. I grew to like the annoying girl from PubLizity a lot, especially in the finale. Jon "Rich Dick" Daly also did some fine work, as did the comedian (sorry that I can't recall his name at the moment) who played the other half of the weirdo New Yorker guys (from "Too Much Tuna" and the other recurring bit in which they both appeared). I know this one already got renewed and I'm happy about that.

I watched one of Jeselnik's stand-up specials on CC about a week before the premiere of the show and found it hilariously offensive. I like his style of delivery a lot and he has a good presence on the show. The show really did have some great moments and some terrific guests, but I think it'll have to become less formulaic and find other things to do each week besides a monologue segment and two panel segments. Also, thumbs up to anyone willing to swim against the tide of political correctness, as least to some degree. I got the impression from something he said in last night's finale that this one will definitely be back for more. Even if this one does die, I know it won't be the last time we see this guy, and that's a good thing.

The Ben Show was probably the weakest of these four but it still wasn't without its charms. His blooper reel in the finale (with all the accidental abuse of the wheelchair-bound employee) was a singularly funny bit. He certainly tried a wide variety of sketches and that was fine by me. I kind of liked his depressed nature. I kinda sorta doubt this one will return, at least for very long, but it certainly wouldn't disappoint me if it did. A few tweaks here and there and it could be a winner.

Nathan For You was a delight, what with his really funny stuff delivered in a totally deadpan manner. If he ever smiles, that would a low point for the series. I'm definitely hoping this one will be back.

Overall, I think your grades were spot on, Tim.


Sadly, CC has a very long history of killing good or semi-good shows after only one short season, leading to many personal disappointments. I hope this trend doesn't continue with these recent entries. Even more sadly, their only new show that truly deserved to die a painful, screaming death was the unwatchably bad Brickleberry, which genuinely surprised me with its renewal. I guess when a cheap-to-make show like Tosh.0 delivers big ratings, you do what you have to do to keep the star happy, but hopefully the ratings on Brickleberry won't earn it a third season. Rant over.
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I FAIL'ed almost everything. Feeling like my 8th grade Geometry teacher.
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You fail at comedy watching.
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You like everything that isn't funny. We can co-exist.
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Never heard of THE JESELNIK OFFENSIVE
will have to check it out--sounds interesting
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3 episodes into it and love it~~funny!
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What, no mention about Amy Schumer's new series?

"Inside Amy Schumer" premiering April 30th on Comedy Central
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Well, her new series is starting at the end of the month, it didn't recently finish its first series.

Reading comprehension is your friend.
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The first episode can already be found on-line. It was pretty good. More specifically, the sketches are OK, but then Amy has these short interviews with random people which are less interesting.
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I really hope that's good. I've loved her appearances on Red Eye and look forward to seeing what she'll do with her own half-hour.
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PubLIZity is the best fake show ever...
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1. Kroll Show
2. Nathan For You
3. The Ben Show
4. Jeselnik Offensive
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Jeselnik Offensive is hillarious, even though it sometimes goes to places that are WAY too insensitive. So, overall I give it a B overall.

Have never seen The Kroll Show.

The Ben show is pretty funny and zany, and like the fast-paced sketches, though I agree it needs to improve, so I give it a C.

Nathan for You is pretty hillarious and creative and really a unique take on comedy, so I too give it an A.
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What's with this channel and giving complete D-bags their own TV shows? Jeselnik is even worse than Tosh. If he tries to make a cartoon show, the channel's had it.
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I was never a fan of Anthony Jeselnik, but I decided to watch his first episode, just based off of the guest and to see what the show would be about. I can honestly say it's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. I literally have been in tears at least once every episode.

Come on, the first time he did "Latin Voices". That's genius.
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Kroll Show is amazing. Even the "misses" have some fantastic parts. And I can't stop saying "It's based off our names" to my friends.

Also loving The Jeselnik Offensive. Some of the bits are sillier than I would've expected from Jeselnik's standup persona, but that's all right with me.

I've never seen The Ben Show or Nathan For You, but I'm going to have to give them a go.
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