Comedy fans have quite a bit to look forward to in 2011, thanks to some new (and old) television series that viewers can expect to see early next year on IFC. "Onion News Network," an adaptation of the remarkably on-point and screamingly funny web video department of satirical news outlet The Onion, will debut on cable channel IFC on January 21st. Based on a recent trailer the ONN has released for the show (below), the TV version appears to bring the same deadpan authenticity that makes it virtually indistinguishable from real cable news. To top that, the TV show even uses a former Fox News anchor, Suzanne Sena, as "Brooke Alvarez," the lead anchor of the show.
As if The Onion's first serious foray into TV comedy wasn't enough, IFC announced yesterday that January will also see the channel beginning to show reruns of three comedy series that frequently appear on "best of all time" lists but have been long absent from the airwaves: "Mr. Show with Bob and David," "The Ben Stiller Show," and "The Larry Sanders Show." The three shows will run in a 90-minute comedy block hosted by Scott Aukerman, formerly a writer and performer on "Mr. Show" who is currently best known for curating the Comedy Death-Ray brand-to-be-reckoned-with.
"The Larry Sanders Show," the HBO comedy-drama about a network talk show hosted by creator/star Garry Shandling, was well regarded when it aired from 1992-1998, but has only recently shown up in full on DVD. Its HBO brethren "Mr. Show with Bob & David" continues to have a rabid fan base on DVD (thanks in no small part to stars Bob Odenkirk and David Cross' continued successes beyond the show), but the sketch show has not been aired regularly since its end (also in 1998). The one network show of the bunch, "The Ben Stiller Show," was a precursor to "Mr. Show," using many of the same writers and actors, not to mention a pre-fame Stiller. It only lasted four months on Fox, but that was enough to garner an Outstanding Writing Emmy.
IFC is already the current home of the beloved "Arrested Development" and "Freaks & Geeks," as well as the godfather to them all, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," so the inclusion of these shows seems to cement IFC's monopoly on '90s cult comedies. That's not to say we aren't excited about comedy programming elsewhere -- in addition to their IFC show, The Onion is also launching "Onion SportsDome" on Comedy Central on Jan. 11. What we're really saying is that if you're a comedy fan, you might want to take the first half of January off.
Check out the trailer for "Onion News Network" below, and a a classic sketch from "Mr. Show" underneath.
WATCH: "Onion News Network"
WATCH: "Mr. Show"