Sometimes, the main difference between stand-up comedy on HBO and stand-up comedy on Showtime seems to be that HBO lets you know it’s coming. Their promotional efforts are everywhere. Showtime, you blink, you may miss it. Which is my way of saying a new comedy showcase began last week on Showtime called Comics Without Borders, hosted by Russell Peters. With Peters attached, the first instinct is to think this will feature an array of comics from other lands to get their proper introduction to American audiences. But the show takes the other interpretation, that here, the comedy can and will go anywhere. No borders.
On last week’s debut (available On Demand), Peters told the audience at El Portal in Hollywood that his show will put a spotlight on comedians who need to be on TV more, regardless of their past experience. Unlike other half-hour comedy showcases, Comics Without Borders actually gives each stand-up enough time for audiences (both live and at home) to get to know them, preceded by a minute or two backstage introduction in which the comic just talks. In other words, two comics per half-hour instead of three, four or sometimes even five. In the debut: Justin Worsham from Modesto, Calif., and Dean Edwards from Brooklyn, NY. For Worsham, this was his TV debut, and he joked about babies, what parents do to their toddlers, and how he and his wife interact and sleep. Edwards had a short stint on SNL. In his return to television, he didn’t mind dishing on the differences between Eddie Murphy and his brother, Charlie, poking fun at Charlie’s need to share "true Hollywood stories," as well as impersonations of Jay-Z and Denzel Washington. Almost to remind you that SNL could’ve used him better when they had him (or take him back if they’d like).
Comics Without Borders airs at 10 p.m. Thursdays on Showtime.