Stand-Up to Sitcom: Comedians Who Got Their Own Shows, For Better Or Worse

Chelsea Handler

Forget Underwater Welder or Repo Man — stand-up comedians have the hardest job on the planet.
They have to fight to make people laugh, their livelihood depends on it, and when a joke doesn’t land, they may as well just walk straight off the stage to the bar.   So when you find a truly great comic, what happens?
They get a TV show, of course!
From Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman to Louis C.K. or Rob Schneider — more comics are popping up on the small screen, but it’s getting harder to decide if we’ll see more Whitney‘s or more Seinfeld‘s.
But as we learned last week with the premieres of “Are you there, Chelsea?” and “Rob,” not every comedy club star is destined for sitcom success…

For those of you who know the stand-up of Whitney Cummings, it's a raunchy, vulgar and fairly hilarious look into what women are really thinking in life and relationships. The NBC show based on Cummings' stand-up is none of those things.

WINNER: Roseanne (9 seasons; 1988-1997)

Roseanne Barr raised the well, bar, for both male and female comedians on television.

The show ran for nine seasons because of Barr's brash sense of humour, the smart casting of John Goodman as Roseanne's husband Dan and the working-class environment that was missing from television in those days. Shows like 'My Name is Earl,' 'Raising Hope' and 'Shameless' owe Roseanne a drink.

It seemed like the perfect combination: Sarah Silverman's ironic, awkward humour and Comedy Central. But after only three short seasons, 'The Sarah Silverman Program' was cancelled. Even though it was a good show!

In fact, Silverman was even nominated for an Emmy for the role. But when it reportedly came down to a disagreement over the show's budget, 'The Sarah Silverman Program' was kaput.

But don't weep for Silverman, NBC has just greenlit a new pilot for the comedian that should air come this fall. Let's hope the Peacock network will let Silverman continue to give a sarcastic, ironic take on all things race, religion and bigotry.

And considering NBC's track record with ratings, let's hope they give the show the time to really shine.

Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hit the Golden Globes last weekend...

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