Splitsider’s Summer Comedy Preview: TV
Summer is typically an unusual season in the TV world, as all the broadcast series go on hiatus, cable networks air some cool stuff, and, as of late, the major networks do some weird experimental stuff that mostly doesn’t end up working. This summer is no different, with cable favorites like Nathan For You, Louie (currently airing), and Comedy Bang! Bang! returning while NBC is bringing back Last Comic Standing and experimenting with a couple international comedies and Fox is debuting an improvised game show.
Check out our guide to the new and returning TV comedies set to debut throughout the next few months:
Marc Maron’s self-titled IFC comedy Maron is returning for a second season with an extended 13-episode order. Maron is making his directorial debut on one episode this season, and guest stars for the new run of episodes include Conan O’Brien, Tig Notaro, David Cross, Sarah Silverman, and more.
Thursdays at 10 on IFC
Comedy Bang! Bang!
Scott Aukerman’s IFC faux-talk show Comedy Bang! Bang! is set to debut following Maron’s premiere, with the first half of the show’s 20-episode third season airing this summer on Fridays after Maron. As usual, Comedy Bang! Bang! will feature a high-density of famous guest stars, with the list this year including Fred Armisen, Bob Odenkirk, Alison Brie, Zach Galifianakis, an earthquake-battling Nick Offerman, and a Star Wars-talking Patton Oswalt.
Thursdays at 10:30 on IFC
Last Comic Standing
After four years off the air, NBC is bringing back Last Comic Standing this summer with new host JB Smoove. Last Comic Standing has always had a mixed reputation in the comedy community, but the show will be a little different when it returns. The reboot will feature established comedians acting as mentors to the contestants a la The Voice, and open auditions were not held this time around, with auditions instead coming from industry recommendations.
Thursdays at 10 on NBC
Comedy Central’s The Half Hour
Comedy Central is giving 14 standups their own half-hour specials this summer, with the Comedy Central Class of 2014 consisting of Adam Newman, Chris Distefano, Chris Gethard, Damien Lemon, Fortune Feimster, Joe Wengert, Joe Zimmerman, Kurt Braunohler, Mark Normand, Michael Che, Rachel Feinstein, Ron Funches, Tommy Johnagin, and Yannis Pappas (full schedule here).
Fridays at midnight and 12:30 on Comedy Central
Nathan For You
One of our most anticipated shows of the summer, let alone the entire year, is Nathan For You, which is set return to Comedy Central for its second season. Nathan Fielder’s docu-reality comedy series kept getting better and better over the span of its short 8-episode first season last year, and now, with a longer order (10 episodes) for season two, Nathan For You will have more room to do what it does so well. The series received a ton of publicity this year from shooting an episode about opening an LA coffee shop named “Dumb Starbucks” to test parody and free use laws, so that’s at least one episode to look forward to.
Tuesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central
Derek Waters’s Drunk History returns this summer, with a new set of comedians getting inebriated and recounting a whole new set of historical events while a whole new set of famous people act them out.
Tuesday at 10 on Comedy Central
Hosted by Australian comedian Rove McManus and based on Australian program Slide Show, Riot is a new competitive comedy series produced by Steve Carell that pits two different teams of comedians against each other every week. The show’s teams must compete in a series of improvised challenges, which all take place on a stage at a tilted 22 degree angle. Guests for the first season include Steve Carell, Cheryl Hines, Michael Ian Black, Rob Delaney, and more, with Jamie Denbo, John Ross Bowie, and more serving as the regular cast.
Tuesdays at 9 on Fox
The Maya Rudolph Show
NBC is giving SNL alum Maya Rudolph a Lorne Michaels-produced variety show special, which will double as a pilot for a potential series. The one-off Maya Rudolph Show, a mix of sketches and music, will feature a ton of guest stars, including risten Bell, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Craig Robinson, Sean Hayes, Chris Parnell, and Janelle Monáe as musical guest.
Monday, May 19th, at 10 on NBC
The fact that NBC is burning off its new sitcom Undateable in the summer isn’t exactly a good sign as far as its chances for renewal go, but the show’s comedian-filled cast will be doing a standup tour to promote it. Created by Adam Sztykiel (Due Date) and produced by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town), Undateable stars Whitney‘s Chris D’Elia as a guy who sets out to help his friend’s friends, a group of losers known as “The Undateables.” Standups Ron Funches, Brent Morin, and Rick Glassman also star.
Thursdays at 9 and 9:30 on NBC
Welcome to Sweden
Amy Poehler is producing Welcome to Sweden, a Swedish sitcom NBC is importing to the US this summer that was created by and stars Poehler’s brother Greg. Greg Poehler plays a guy who moves to Sweden after falling in love with a Swedish woman, based on his similar real-life experiences. Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, and Gene Simmons all wound up guest starring in the first season.
Thursdays at 9 on NBC
Working the Engels
NBC made this half-hour sitcom as a co-production with a Canadian broadcaster, the first time a US and Canadian broadcaster have ever teamed up for a show. Starring SCTV‘s Andrea Martin, Working the Engels follows a woman and her family dealing with the loss of her husband and trying to keep his law business afloat to make ends meet, despite not knowing enough about the legal world to do so. Martin’s SCTV cohorts Eugene Levy and Martin Short will be guest starring on the show during its first season, and hopefully, there’ll be more and more SCTV folk popping up if the series continues.
Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC
The Hotwives of Orlando
Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Kristen Schaal, Tymberlee Hill, Andrea Savage, and Danielle Schneider star in this parody of Real Housewives shows for Hulu. Created by Schneider and Dannah Phirman, The Hotwives of Orlando comes from production company Abominable, the TV parody kings behind Childrens Hospital, NTSF:SD:SUV, Burning Love, and more.
Airing on Hulu
Aaron McGruder, creator/showrunner of the Peabody Award-winning Adult Swim show The Boondocks, left that series before the current season to work on a new show, Black Jesus. The series follow Jesus Christ spreading his word in modern day Compton and stars Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto V) as Jesus. Charlie Murphy, Corey Holcomb, and John Witherspoon play supporting roles.
Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s first series since Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! ended its run in 2010, Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories is a horror anthology show starring and created by the duo. Bedtime Stories aired a Halloween special last year, but the regular series premieres at an unspecified date this summer.
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
Comedians Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani are hosting this new Comedy Central standup showcase, based on their Los Angeles live show of the same name, which they’ve been hosting at the NerdMelt Theater since 2011. The Meltdown is being produced by Ben Stiller and Emily Gordon, and the pilot was directed by Lance Bangs. It’s rare for a standup show on TV to be based on a live show, but if The Meltdown turns out as good and popular as the live version, it could become a trend.