Comedy Central courts controversy with animated Jesus, dope and sex [Updated]
Comedy Central, home of equal-opportunity offender "South Park," doesn't plan to shy away from touchy subjects in its development slate, announcing an animated series about Jesus Christ slumming it in New York, a live sex-chat show, a comedian's guide to white people and questions from stoners.
[Updated at 2:40 p.m.: A previous version of this post said these series were scheduled rather than in development.]
The network's been in the hot seat recently for airing a heavily redacted version of "South Park" in which the prophet Mohammed was part of the two-episode story line. Viewers saw a lot of pixilation, amid some Muslim extremist threats against the show's creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
Not backing down from controversial issues, though, Comedy Central is developing "JC," a half-hour animated comedy in which Jesus Christ wants to get away from his videogame-obsessed dad and live in New York like a regular Joe. Expect religious and social satire.
The cable channel -- long home to animation, sketch comedy and reality shows with a goofball bent -- also announced "Live Sex Show," a TV kin to radio's "Love Line," with comedian Bert Kreischer and Maxim model Layla Kayleigh. Also on the sex front, there's "Intercourse with Whitney Cummings," following the comedian's misadventures in dating.
Buddy shows with varying degrees of debauchery include an update of "The Odd Couple" with stand-ups Kevin Hart and Bill Burr; "Rich Dicks," based on a "Funny or Die" Web short; and a series with an unprintable title about two slacker 20-somethings who scam little old ladies.
"Highdeas" will ask those questions that no one who's sober ever asks, like, "What is white chocolate milk, really?" "This Show Will Get You High," which actually isn't about dope, features the Upright Citizens Brigade in its patented sketch comedy. This time, though, it travels around the country. "Untitled Andre Hyland Project" does involve stoners, who bicker in this mockumentary-style show about who ate all the Cheetos (and related gripes).
Not to be outdone by the sex and drugs, and tapping into the trend that the '80s are the new black, there's "Steel Panther," a loosely scripted show that traces the attempted comeback of a '80s heavy metal hair of the same name.
In the 22 new projects announced this week, Comedy Central also mixes in celebrity-centric animation ("Supermax," which puts famous faces behind bars together), puppets (police procedural "The Fuzz," which also includes humans), and cartoon spoofs ("Joe Squad").
-- T.L. Stanley
Photo: The Upright Citizens Brigade in "This Show will Get You High." Credit: Steve Jennings / Comedy Central.