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Thinus Ferreira

Old laughs on new Comedy Central?

2011-12-06 07:34
MultiChoice has announced the addition of Comedy Central to the DStv offering, but the biggest joke could turn out to be the channel itself.

While Comedy Central will start on DStv on December 6 at 19:30 in 47 African countries and will be for DStv premium subscribers only, the bulk of the content viewers will see will actually be old.

Of course anyone who's ever been to a wedding reception and had to sit through dry MC'ing jokes knows: Nothing sounds as stale as an old joke you've heard too many times before.

A feather in the cap of the new Comedy Central is that viewers will be seeing two great half-hours, four days a week of the critically acclaimed The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

Both shows – satirical and highly humorous send-ups of the mostly American driven news cycle – will be on the Comedy Central schedule.

From Tuesdays to Fridays The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will be on at 20:30 and 21:00 respectively, with a repeat at 00:00 and 00:25.

While old age home jokes are a favourite go-to for comedians for a quick laugh, the last thing the really great ones ever want to be accused of is recycling old jokes. And that seems what is going to be coming viewers' way on Comedy Central.

Besides the satirical news shows, the rest of Comedy Central's schedule is no laughing matter.

Recycled shows

While Comedy Central in America is perceived as an edgy and sought-after brand, and a localised British version of the channel also exists, and it will be interesting to see whether MTV Networks Africa running the new, unique – or so-called "bespoke" African version - of Comedy Central isn't actually going to be damaging the brand with all the recycled and old material being dumped on subscribers.

In the breathless press release announcing the Comedy Central addition to DStv, MTV Networks Africa said: "Comedy Central will be overflowing with non-stop, provocative comedy content including stand-up and sketch comedy, satire, offbeat comedy TV series, classic sitcoms and comedy specials".

The truth is that Comedy Central will be overflowing with non-stop repeats and rebroadcasts of shows viewers have seen many times before – and not all of them actually classics. The Golden Girls, Cheers and The Simpsons are classics. According to Jim... not so much.

While late-night stand-up theatre specials do appear on the Comedy Central schedule, these are few and far between and mostly on Fridays and Saturdays, with only one or two repeated for a month (Live at Gotham, Brian Regan: Epitome of Hyperbole).

Rounding out the real Comedy Central schedule is this: Massive blocks of rebroadcast programming with multiple episodes of shows such as According to Jim, Gary Unmarried, That 70s Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun – even Northern Exposure (yes, that show where they flung the piano through the sky when television in South Africa was still dubbed into Afrikaans and the show was called Goeiemore Alaska).

Furthermore Comedy Central viewers in Africa will get to see 8 Simple Rules, My Wife and Kids, Trailer Park Boys and (if you haven't yet seen it on MTV, MTV Base and Vuzu) The Hard Times of RJ Berger.

At least South Park, indicated as the new 15th season, is punted as new first-run programming that will also be on Comedy Central – one of the few really new shows on the 24-hour schedule – although it's doubtful that it will be enough to stave off upset subscribers who might feel the need to kill Kenny.


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