New Awards to Premiere on Comedy

Sep 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Two years after the American Comedy Awards were discontinued, Comedy Central will reinvent the humorist salute with the first “Commies.”
The show, scheduled to tape at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Nov. 22 and air on Comedy Central Dec. 7, will include traditional categories such as Funniest Movie and Funniest Actor, as well as more skewed prizes such as Most Unintentionally Funny Moment in a Drama and the Just Shoot Me Award for the “comedy program that’s been on the air too long.”
Lauren Corrao, senior VP of original programming and head of development at Comedy Central, said the network was eager to resuscitate a venue for awarding comedic performers.
“Comedy is extremely difficult to do well, and a lot of great comic performances are often overlooked by the other awards,” Ms. Corrao said.
The American Comedy Awards were produced from 1986 to 2001 and utilized a traditional awards show format. The show aired for many years on ABC until moving to Fox from 1998 to 2000, then jumped to Comedy Central in 2001. Ms. Corrao said the Commies will take a more satirical approach.
“I think that when Comedy Central got the American Comedy Awards, it was in its last couple of years and there seemed to be a diminished excitement,” she said. “We want to rejuvenate the awards. At every point along the way, every element needs to be funny-whether a music act or an award or a presenter. We’re hoping to bring the funny to all those traditional elements.”
The show will make Comedy Central the latest network in the Viacom family to create a signature awards show. Though the irreverent categories seem to suggest inspiration from MTV’s video and music awards, insiders said the project was in development before Viacom bought out Time Warner’s stake in the channel.
The Commies telecast will consist of award presentations peppered by music acts, clip packages and stand-up comedy. Winners in most categories will be chosen by viewers voting on the Comedy Central Web site. “Miss America” and “Teen Choice Awards” veteran Bob Bain will executive produce. The trophy itself will be shaped like a bobblehead.
Though Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” would be an obvious choice for host, Comedy Central said the host slot has yet to be determined. After last week’s Emmy Awards, however, Ms. Corrao confirmed the Commies will definitely not have 11 comics sharing hosting duties.
“It’s so funny because when I heard they were doing that, I thought that it might not be a bad idea,” Ms. Corrao said. “Then I was sitting there watching it and saying, `Oh my God.”’