Comedy Central One-Season Wonders You Should Really Revisit
Over the years, Comedy Central has grown from a gimmicky cable channel to a legitimate television giant. There were some missteps along the way, but there were also a lot of great Comedy Central shows you forgot about, ones that didn't last nearly as long as they should have. Some of the best canceled Comedy Central shows actually only lasted a single season, even one starring an all-time top 100 comedian.
Shows of all varieties fell victim to the dreaded season one cancelation, including one of the best animated shows in Comedy Central's archives, but most were live-action, either sketch shows or mockumentaries, or some combination of the two. In many cases, these shows felt like they could have found a really solid groove had they been given a second chance, but the higher ups were just too quick with the guillotine.
These are the best Comedy Central shows that only lasted one season, but the good news is that some of them, made in this precious digital age, are still available to stream. Others, though, are lost to the ages. Prepare to shed some tears and grab a drink to pour some out for each of these lost gems.
Most topics on Not Safe revolved around sex. It was a talk show format with gimmicky games sprinkled in, as well as some pieces in which Nikki would go into the real world to interview people. The best segment was the one in which Nikki hooked people up to a lie detector test, including her not-classically handsome co-worker, whom she then asked if he wanted to sleep with her. Even better was when she hooked her parents up to the polygraph and asked them probing questions about their sex life.
Some people think H. Jon Benjamin is only good for his velvet voice, but that's not necessarily the case. He's actually funny, not just his voice. So a lot of people were excited when he got his very own Comedy Central show, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, which indeed seemed very Jon Benjamin-y. In it he played a "reporter" who drove around New York (mostly) to deliver news to unsuspecting people. There were also fictional sketches, like the time he fell in love with the daughter of the tiny Don in Little Little Italy, a miniature Little Italy where the people are only a couple inches tall.
TV Funhouse got its start as a recurring SNL segment, which was so popular Comedy Central decided to turn it into a series. If you don't remember it, perhaps you're familiar with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (voiced by show creator Robert Smigel) whose career predated and survived the canceling of TV Funhouse after eight episodes. In addition to Triumph, the show had a number of puppet characters behaving in very adult ways as they interacted with humans.
Michael & Michael Haves Issues was an exercise in meta-humor with the two titular characters, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, playing fictionalized versions of themselves as somewhat vitriolic costars of a sketch-comedy show. It was sort of a less zany 30 Rock, but really only revolved around two characters.
Stella was the name of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Wain's sketch comedy group, and their eponymous show was somewhere between their act and a sitcom. Despite the three stars always being dressed in suits, they were actually man-babies living in a New York apartment together. There were actually a lot of big name guest stars in the show's short run: Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Sam Rockwell, Topher Grace, Tim Blake Nelson, Alan Ruck, Janeane Garofalo, Elizabeth Banks, and Edward Norton. Stella (the group) has had a pretty large following since the '90s, so it was extra surprising this show didn't make it any further than it did.
The premise of the animated Shorties Watchin' Shorties was two rowdy babies voiced by Nick DiPaolo and Patrice O'Neal watching standup and reacting to it. It was essentially a modern Mystery Science Theater. The standup routines featured on the show alone should have been enough to keep it alive - with huge names like Bill Burr, Brian Regan, Brian Posehn, Chris Hardwick, Mitch Hedberg, Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, and Lewis Black - but DiPaolo and O'Neal's reactions only elevated the humor.