Tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of Comedy Central, formed April 1, 1991 via the merger of HBO’s The Comedy Channel and Viacom’s competing Ha! Along with breakout series including The Daily Show, South Park, Chappelle’s Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele and Broad City, Comedy Central has ensured stand-up specials remain at the programming forefront. Former Insomniac host Dave Attell, whose Comedy Central Presents, album Skanks for the Memories and hour Road Work special are among the network’s 25-year highlights, explains why specials are so important for both developing and longtime comics.
Up until that point it was really just doing a TV spot on a late-night talk show, Letterman or Leno. Comedy Central Presents was another thing. That was the first long-form, 23-ish minute option. It was definitely a cooler vibe in terms of pressure. There weren’t the same standards as the networks.
Then they started giving out the hour specials. Up until that point, HBO was what everyone was pulling for, and really no one else was in the business of the hour special. So that was cool, because a lot of us don’t rate an HBO special. That’s a very select group of specials. Continue reading