In an unaired episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the queen of all media shocked comedians from across the country and world as she awarded each of them with their own television series. “You get a show, and you get a show — everybody gets a show!”
OK, that didn’t happen, but it does seem like more and more comedians are locking their own TV gigs lately. Anthony Jeselnik debuted his talk show-style series last week. Marc Maron will make an anticipated move to television on IFC this spring. Even Amy Schumer discusses an upcoming sketch comedy show in our interview with her (page 27). Add Ben Hoffman and Nathan Fielder to the list, because they kick off Comedy Central’s new Thursday lineup this week.
The late night show setup has been done and talking about funny clips in front of a green screen is an art (ha) perfected by Daniel Tosh and Joel McHale, so these guys went with a shtick to sell their respective shows. In The Ben Show (10 p.m. Thursdays, Comedy Central), the Kentucky-born Hoffman takes on life goals — think milestones like forming a band, discovering religion or obtaining firearms — to accomplish with guidance from his family, strangers and a therapist. Canadian comic and business school grad Nathan Fielder helps struggling small businesses in Nathan For You (10:30 p.m. Thursdays, Comedy Central) by employing ridiculous tactics to entice (not really) more customers. Perhaps a timely dig at the business “takeover” type shows that often end up being staged or cause more harm than good? Or maybe just a chance to produce poo-flavored frozen yogurt.
WEDNESDAY FEB. 27
Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9 p.m., NBC) – A musical couple makes headlines for a physical abuse scandal, but the victim won’t speak out against her abusive boyfriend. Otherwise known as “The Chris and Rihanna Episode.”
Workaholics (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – The guys visit Adam’s grandpa in a nursing home; Adam must prove his manhood to the old dude.
Kroll Show (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Rich Dicks crash their ride; a couple falls in love while ice skating; radio host El Chupacabra talks a depressed rock star off the ledge.
THURSDAY FEB. 28
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The teams assemble fashionable looks for fabulous senior citizens. Appropriately, Joan Rivers guest judges with daughter Melissa.
Freakshow (9:30 p.m., AMC) – There’s nothing wrong with adults who want to show off their extreme abilities or biological rarities, but what about children? This week: the two-headed baby.
FRIDAY MARCH 1
Portlandia (Season Finale, 10 p.m., IFC) – Portland experiences a city-wide blackout when the mayor’s office neglects to pay the electric bill.
SATURDAY MARCH 2
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Kevin Hart hosts; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform.
SUNDAY MARCH 3
The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Rick and Carl head to their old hometown to go on a weapons run with Michonne, but are greeted by some intense surprises. Walking Deadheads, prepare to freak out.
Shameless (9 p.m., Showtime) – The Gallaghers go to court! Fiona tries to get the house, pull full custody away from Frank and become the kids’ legal guardian. Meanwhile, baby Hymie’s real father, Tommy Wong, approaches Sheila for his child and Jimmy’s Brazilian wife requires more attention.
Girls (9 p.m., HBO) – Hannah tries to bottle her e-book anxiety while her parents visit (Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari are back!). Marnie is surprised to find Charlie is behind a successful app company; Adam gets set up in AA.
MONDAY MARCH 4
The Following (9 p.m., FOX) – Carroll and his attorney make a convincing case against the FBI to get him transferred to a new facility, but Hardy knows it must be part of a potentially dangerous ploy.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern