A comedy tonight? Good luck!

Learn more about the fall TV season's new comedies, using this handy clip 'n' save chart!


Heather Havrilesky
September 5, 2008 3:00PM (UTC)

There aren't that many comedies coming to the small screen this fall, and we can't begin to explain why. After all, no one has explained anything about this bizarre fall season to us thus far, down to the utter dearth of preview screeners for new shows. We have seen a handful of these comedies, though, and not surprisingly, a few of them aren't all that funny. CBS's "Worst Week" plays like a less funny "Meet the Fockers," while Fox's "Do Not Disturb" is a paint-by-numbers workplace comedy set in a fancy hotel with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

That said, CBS's "Garry Unmarried" is unexpectedly funny, despite its dorky title, with a great cast, a solid premise and a steady onslaught of good jokes in the pilot. BBC America's "Gavin & Stacey" is charming enough, but the scene stealers are the show's creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, who play friends of the lead couple. Those still mourning the disappearance of "Chappelle's Show" will have to settle for either HBO's absurd sketch show "Little Britain" or Comedy Central's "Chocolate News" with David Alan Grier, both of which look promising but range from hilarious to slightly uneven (as most sketch comedy shows outside of "Chappelle's Show" tend to).

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FX's "Testees" and HBO's "Summer Heights High" both sound highly entertaining, too, but it looks like we'll have to wait for their premieres in October and November to know for sure. Slim pickings? Yes indeed, but at least we don't have to endure 15 crappy, soon-to-be-canceled sitcoms about bickering families.

Comedy Cast What it's about See Also The Big Question Premieres
CBS's "Worst Week" Kyle Bornheimer, Erinn Hayes, Kurtwood Smith, Nancy Lenehan Hapless idiot burns girlfriend's house down, almost kills her father, but still must tell her parents their daughter is pregnant and engaged to him, a hapless idiot "Meet the Fockers" meets hell Who wants another clichéd tale of a goofy guy who can't get anything right? 9/22/08
Fox's "Do Not Disturb" Jerry O'Connell, Niecy Nash The inner workings of a high-priced hotel run by a nasty, un-p.c. boss and a host of wacky oddball underlings "Just Book Me a Room" Don't the merciless boss, the frustrated middle manager and the slacker underlings just remind us of our own pointless jobs? 9/10/08
HBO's "Little Britain" David Walliams, Matt Lucas Over-the-top sketch comedy show based on the British hit "Obnoxious British Kids in the Hall" How can something so stupid, vile and juvenile make me laugh? 9/28/08
Comedy Central's "Chocolate News" David Alan Grier Over-the-top news-show parody that focuses on issues concerning African-Americans "In Living Color" meets "Chappelle's Show" Why can't they just bring back "Chappelle's Show"? October '08
NBC's "Kath & Kim" Selma Blair, Molly Shannon Wacky, tacky divorced mother and recently separated daughter eat bad food, complain, bicker "I'm With Stupid" Can an American version of a distinctly Australian show be funny? 10/9/08
BBCA's "Gavin & Stacey" Joanna Page, Rob Brydon, James Corden, Ruth Jones Romantic comedy about a girl from Wales and a guy from London trying to make it work together despite interference from crazy friends and families "Love in the Time of Mania" Why aren't the couple's loser friends (played by show co-creators Corden and Jones) the lead characters, since they're the funniest? 8/26/08
HBO's "Summer Heights High" Chris Lilley Mockumentary series parodying the absurdity of high school; all three characters are played by show creator Chris Lilley "The Office" meets "High School Confidential" Should we skip our high school reunion and just watch this show instead? 11/9/08
CBS's "Gary Unmarried" Jay Mohr, Paula Marshall, Ed Begley Jr. Newly single father struggles to date again and co-parent with ex who's engaged to their couples therapist "The New Adventures of Old Jay Mohr" Why does this ultra-typical sitcom make you laugh in spite of yourself? Should you blame Jay Mohr for this? 9/24/08
HBO's "The Life and Times of Tim" Steve Dildarian, Peter Giles, Nick Kroll Animated series about a guy who makes bad decisions, gets into trouble a lot "Dr. Katz" meets "Mind of the Unmarried Man" What can we gather from the fact that the first two episodes involve a prostitute and a bachelor party? 9/28/08
CW's "Surviving Suburbia" Bob Saget, Cynthia Stevenson Crazy next-door neighbors' sexy bombshell teenage daughter throws regular, happy suburban family into turmoil; zaniness ensues "'Til Death" meets "American Beauty" How does a kooky suburban family sitcom starring Bob Saget make it to the air? 11/2/08
FX's "Testees" Steve Markle, Jeff Kassel Early 30s roommates work as test subjects at a disturbing product-testing facility called Testico; created by Kenny Hotz of "Kenny vs. Spenny" "It's Never Sunny at Testico" How could a show that sounds this strange be all bad? 10/9/08

Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky.

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