What's Wrong with Comedy Central?

I have been writing about comedy for about seven years now — hi, 2005! — and, whenever I interview a comedian, almost without fail the conversation will end with something like “Don’t make me sound like a jerk” or “Oh man, I’m just now realizing how long we’ve been talking and everything I said.” There’s a lot of anxiety and even dread among comedians; that much is pretty common knowledge: the wounded self-esteems, the brittle egos, the chest-puffing aspiration. But the thing I’ve always liked most about comedians is their candor. My mother always told me that people who are into brutal honesty do it for the brutality, [...]

HBO vs. Showtime: Battle of the Premium Cable Comedies

Earlier this week, Showtime aired the premieres of Californication, now in its fourth season, and the brand new show Episodes. For years, the network barely bothered with comedy, but lately, with the rise of HBO, they’ve been trying to make shows beyond Dexter and The L Word, shows that will actually make you laugh. But how are they doing compared to their main competitor (sorry, Starz)? Let's pit Showtime and HBO's current five best comedies against one another and see who comes out on top.