TELEVISION: BEYOND THE ONE-LINERS

COMEDY CENTRAL HAS A NEW SHRINK AND A NEW HIT

WHEN COMEDY CENTRAL was born in 1991, the result of a merger between HBO's Comedy Channel and MTV Network's HA!, it was a cable network in search of an identity. Its mix of anonymous stand-up comics telling jokes about gender wars over toothpaste caps, reruns of old sitcoms like McHale's Navy, and a smattering of new programs (like Sports Monster, an unfunny spoof of sports wrap-up shows) was hardly exciting. Comedy Central should have been hip and edgy--a Seattle to the broadcast networks' Des Moines. Instead it fell Grainbelt flat.

Lately, however, Comedy Central has moved beyond lame one-liners and developed...

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