Television comedians face quite a challenge - they must appeal to a wide range of audiences, in order to stay popular and stay on air. From the time that the boobtube invaded the homes of America, comedy has been a staple - everyone wants to sit back at the end of the day and be entertained, and most of all - laugh and forget about the hard day they’ve had.Comedians use their talents and comedic timing to tell their jokes and tell their story, building their characters and making them loveable and funny at the same time - quite a feat! Despite the advances in technology, with the Internet, Satellite, LCD and HDTVs, sitcoms will always be on the small screen. Many comedians dream of having their own TV show, and out of the hundreds of thousands of entertainers entering the business these days, only a few get their big break. It is only the funniest that get that coveted spot:
Comedians on TV come in all shapes and sizes - whether you’re talking about situational comedies, the dramedy, talk show hosts, and much more recently, the political satirist. Television comedy has traditionally been the situational comedy or sitcom with big name stars like George Lopez & Bill Cosby. Some of them have taken their stand-up routines and brought them into television, like the Blue Collar comedy show, whose stars Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy have all had their own share of the TV audiences in their own shows. Carlos Mencia (Mind of Mencia) and Dave Chapelle (The Dave Chapelle Show) both mix their own stand-up routines with sketches on their own shows. Though perhaps the first person to do this was Jerry Seinfeld, who mixes his stand-up act, his own life (playing a fictional version of himself) and his experiences into his eponymous “show about nothing.”
The talk show format is a different breed of television comedy - not fictional, more entertainment, but still needing the comedic talents of its hosts. Perhaps this generation’s most famous talk show hosts are the “big 3” - David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, all of whom had their roots in stand-up and are quite a staple of late night TV. Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel are other popular network TV talk show hosts that bring their own brand of comedy to TV. However, with cable TV looking for their own comedy talk shows, comedians like Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately) and Joel McHale (The Soup) have their own successful, albeit smaller shows on E! TV But perhaps, real life is funnier than scripted TV, at least that’s what Kathy Griffin has proved on her hit reality show “My Life on the D-List”
Is politics funny? If must be if there are at least two people on TV who have successfully made their name purely by satirizing the political foibles of today’s world leaders. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is one of the biggest influences on political media today, and despite Stewart’s claim on being “just a comedian” he certainly wields a lot of influence on politics and entertainment, Many of the writers and comedians who appeared on The Daily Show have gone on to become some of today’s more popular comics - Steve Carell, Susie Essman, Lewis Black, John Hodgeman and John Oliver, to name a few. The success of The Daily Shows prompted a spin-off, with former correspondent Stephen Colbert hosting the Colbert Report, as Stephen Colbert (Cohl-berr), and ego-manica conservative as counterpoint to Jon Stewart’s loveable fool.
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