The premiere of This Week at the Comedy Cellar on Comedy Central

In case you missed it, because like me, you stayed up all Friday night watching the Dodgers outlast the Red Sox, This Week at the Comedy Cellar premiered last night late-night on Comedy Central.

At least six stand-up comedians appeared onscreen telling jokes before the full opening credits rolled, and some 25 comedians in all got in on the action in the first 21-minute episode.

Comedy and TV trivia buffs may well recall that Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn made it to Comedy Central in the early 2000s, in part, due to Quinn and others hoping to take the table talk among stand-ups in the Cellar’s upstairs Olive Tree Cafe and replicate it in front of a live studio audience. For This Week at the Comedy Cellar, they go straight to the source for multiple short segments of comedians riffing on headlines.

But instead of Quinn or a host introducing topics, brief TV news sound and video bites set up the conversations.

This week’s jokes on and offstage revolved around the attempting political bombings, Halloween, Megyn Kelly’s blackface remarks, Elizabeth Warren’s genetic heritage, the new royal pregnancy, the migrant caravan in Mexico, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, and even the Saudi killing of a Washington Post columnist.

No Louis CK drop-ins at the Cellar recorded for this episode. Although Dan Naturman did tell a joke referencing Sarah Silverman’s comments on CK this week. “I never understood that kink, masturbating in front of a woman,” Naturman wondered onstage, setting up his premise: “Isn’t masturbation something you’re supposed to do when the woman’s not there?”

Here’s a clip that starts with a Dan St. Germain joke, that while news developments Friday made it inaccurate, also unintentionally made his premise perhaps even stronger should he continue using the bit.

Another highlight: Joe Machi on Halloween, saying: “Halloween is supposed to be scary. No one is scared of slut.”

In its own way, This Week at the Comedy Cellar is almost reminiscent of Laughs on FOX, except it’s not slowed down by a host (save a brief appearance by executive producer Ray Ellin in the final segment) and all of the comedians onscreen already had TV credits. That final segment, “Comic Spotlight,” also might look familiar to viewers of Last Call with Carson Daly. Except there aren’t many viewers of Last Call, despite it being on the air since the turn of the millennium.

It’ll be fun and interesting to see how This Week at the Comedy Cellar evolves as they get more episodes under their proverbial belts.

Watch the premiere of This Week at the Comedy Cellar online at Comedy Central.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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