Watch The History of Comedy

This eight-episode CNN docuseries profiles the comedian who were instrumental in the evolution of American stand-up comedy. Each episode focuses on a particular theme, and it supports that theme with clips of comedy performances and interviews with comedians. The first episode, for example, explores the rise of provocative humor and includes such comedians as Richard Pryor and George Carlin. The series is hosted and produced by Will & Grace star Sean Hayes.

Thursday 10:00 PM et/pt on CNN
2 Seasons, 16 Episodes
February 9, 2017
Documentary
Cast: Amy Jorgensen, Robert Vestal, Bodie Neme
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The History of Comedy Full Episode Guide

  • A look at family-friendly comedy and the struggles of abiding by strict network censors.

  • The history and evolution of comedy teams.

  • An exploration of the ways the deaths of comedic legends affect their audiences and comedy in general and how that connection makes the loss more significant.

  • The history between animation and comedy.

  • Exploring the history of sketch and improv comedy and how it has evolved into a significant part of comedic talent today.

  • A look at one of the oldest forms of comedy, sexual humor, as well as how it continues to push the limits of both comfort and political correctness.

  • Examining the many different ways that comedy has lampooned and influenced politics over the years.

  • Demonstrating how effective and funny it can be when you look at something serious and just twist it ever so slightly.

  • Exploring the fascinating mind of the comedian and the difficult road that many seem destined to take -- where mental illness and substance abuse are remarkably common.

  • Tracing the origins of topical humor from the invention of the monologue to the "fake news" shows of today.

  • An exploration of the evolution of racial humor and how comedy about shared experiences can cross cultural barriers to unite people in laughter.

  • The origins of topical humor are traced, from the invention of the monologue to the "fake news" shows of today.

  • Exploring the fascinating mind of the comedian and the difficult road that many seem destined to take -- where mental illness and substance abuse are remarkably common.

  • Examining how comedians find humor in the simple daily experiences we all share to make us laugh.

  • Exploring and celebrating the greatest female comedians of all time and how they were able to succeed in every genre where humor is found despite rampant sexism and prejudice.

  • A look at groundbreaking comics, including George Carlin, Dick Gregory and Lenny Bruce, who embraced the risqu? side of comedy and risked careers, prison, and even their lives to fight censorship.

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The History of Comedy is available to watch and stream on CNN. You can also buy, rent The History of Comedy on demand at Sling, DIRECTV NOW online.