Here's a secret: you can watch network television and actually laugh.
As cable networks push the boundaries on the type of humor permitted on television, the broadcast channels have become, in many ways, an afterthought. It has become fait accompli that comedy fans will be shooting up the dial each evening for their fix: to FX for the darkness of "Louie," the wild taboo-busting of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," and the animated crudeness of "Archer"; over to Adult Swim for the camp psychosis of "Children's Hospital" and race-tackling of "The Boondocks"; and to HBO for the self-loving "Bored to Death" and mass lady-loving of "Hung." But sticking to a basic TV package, believe it or not, isn't tantamount to cutting off one's funny bone (even though that lame analogy certainly was).
Over on NBC, underneath layer after layer of bad ratings news and government investigation into monopolistic practices, some of the smartest young humor on television is sneaking onto the air (and no, we're not talking about Leno and Whitney). Amongst the headliners: Dan Harmon's junior college-set, self-aware experiment in sitcom, "Community," which stars a whole host of talented, green actors; and, after Leno, Jimmy Fallon and his "Late Night" crew.
The two came together on Friday night, as Alison Brie, the 27-year old who plays the naive, nervous, quirky and lovable Annie on "Community," and Fallon, he of recent first Emmy nomination honor, sat down for an after-midnight interview. And of course, instead of talking shop or pretend awkward moments on set, they went right for real embarrassment (as Brie is so willing to do), discussing the actress's scary run-in with coyotes, and the bizarrely hilarious way she dealt with them.
In doing so, they gave you a little taste of the humor you can expect on NBC, if that cable package is getting a bit too pricey to handle.