1991: Comedy Central “begins”

The name came several months later because there was already a channel called the Comedy Network in Canada. Leave it to the Executive Caste to overlook a simple detail before rebranding.

However, the date is semi-historic as the two floundering networks HA! (MTV’s pathetic attempt) and Comedy Channel (HBO’s pre-emptive strike) merged into a corporate CoDominion. I was grateful for the Comedy Channel’s programming being more dominant then. They brought more original stuff: MST3KSports MonsterShort Attention Span Theater and Onion World with Rich Hall. HA! was just old SitComs we’ve seen a million times. Seriously, would anyone under 30 in 1991 sit around to watch McHale’s Navy? Their only ace card was access to post-1980 reruns of SNL which appeals to people who don’t know comedy.

New hits would come along to define CC: South Park, Absolutely Fabulous, Politically Incorrect, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Dr. Katz, Chappelle’s Show, Reno 911!, The Man Show, Insomniac, Key and Peele and Crank Yankers. I do have to thank them for giving Futurama another four abbreviated seasons too. The numerous stand-up showcases and specials have been an incentive for stopping by when channel surfing. I don’t think HBO or Showtime produce any more given Netflix and other streaming services paying the comedians better. Then there’s the larger list of other great shows they axed too soon due to poor ratings yet I’m not sure what exactly a success is given this being a cable network. If you ever get a chance to see them, here’s what I recommend for a second chance: Strip Mall, Strangers with Candy, Exit 57, Ugly Americans, Let’s Bowl and Drawn Together.

Today I think Comedy Central should just throw in the towel alongside MTV. It’s a hollowed-out shell of what it used to be. Streaming has punched it in the throat for convenience, binge-watching, standards (swearing and nudity are allowed), better compensation to the comedians/creators and most importantly, no fucking commercials interrupting the fun every seven minutes. Cable TV is just a magnet for non-stop ads and filler. Who the hell wants to watch The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Parks & Rec when all of these are available ad free elsewhere plus you can choose which episodes you want to watch. Throw in the constant showing of comedic movies everybody saw ad nauseum on HBO, DVD or streaming with the dirty parts removed and it makes my case for CC going dark. We’d miss The Daily Show but Jon Stewart’s disciples have migrated to better homes to carry on the tradition and I’m confident Trevor and his team would find a new backer in a heartbeat.

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