Comedy Central is a television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated. This channel is specific to audiences within the United Kingdom and Ireland. The channel is aligned with the original US version of the channel. The channel started as Paramount Channel in 1995, before rebranding as the Paramount Comedy Channel in 1997 and again as Paramount Comedy 1 before finally becoming Comedy Central on 6 April 2009.
Comedy Central is well known for bringing popular American shows to the UK, such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, South Park, Friends, Scrubs, King of Queens, Two and a Half Men, Sex and the City and Everybody Hates Chris. In the past it aired others such as Trailer Park Boys, Happy Tree Friends, Drawn Together, Burberry and Seinfeld. Also recently the channel has started Airing Bad Education and Russell Howard´s Good News The channel prides itself on its stand up content with 40% of all programming on Comedy Central being stand up with talent such as Lee Evans, Jack Dee and Al Murray.
This wide array of programming (which is also reflected in live events supported by the channel: Edinburgh and Beyond, Comedy on Tap and Paramount Comedy Festival, Brighton) attracted Magners as a sponsor of all stand up content on Comedy Central and their live events.
The channel also prides itself on supporting new comedy talent. The channel was instrumental in the early careers of comedic talent such as Sacha Baron Cohen, Dom Joly, Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Most recently, the channel has been involved in commission a strand called Shortcuts, an on-air and online venture to promote new comedic talent.
In the past, it has frequently had a large back catalogue of Channel 4 comedies in its schedule, such as Father Ted, Spaced, Drop the Dead Donkey and Paul Merton: The Series, and some BBC classics such as The Young Ones, Monty Python´s Flying Circus and Not the Nine O´Clock News. Some of these programmes continue to be aired today, and recent acquisitions include Not Going Out and The Kenny Everett Television Show.
Comedy Central has recently shown new episodes of Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men, Scrubs, The Sarah Silverman Program, 30 Rock, The Office: An American Workplace, Everybody Hates Chris and South Park. Comedy Central recently acquired the rights to Friends, which previously aired on Channel 4 and E4, but marked the first time for Friends to be shown in HD in the UK. The series began airing on 1 October 2011.
The channel frequently airs weekend marathons which consist of one or two shows being on-air for the majority of the day. They often contain loose themes and are on occasion sponsored, such as the "He Ain´t Funny, He´s My Brother" marathon which ran on the night of 24 November 2007. This night consisted of episodes from shows with a strong brother relationship theme and was sponsored by the film The Darjeeling Limited to promote its nationwide release.
Comedy Central also broadcasts comedy, animation or action films, including South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Dumb and Dumber, Jerry Maguire, The Mask, White Chicks, Scary Movie 3, Teen Wolf, 13 Going on 30, Bad Boys, Bad Boys 2, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me and Happy Feet.
The channel has begun showing movies on a regular basis, typically from 10:00 pm onwards.
Until late 2011, Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra continued to air in 4:3 in standard-definition, although many shows had already converted to 16:9 widescreen format, they were cropped to remain in a full-frame screen and later some were letterboxed. The shows on Comedy Central HD air in 16:9, though those in 4:3 are pillarboxed to fit the frame of widescreen. This practice was extended to the standard-definition channels when they began broadcasting in widescreen.
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