A comedian makes it big with a stand-up act
or a Sketch Show
, so naturally the executives make him or her the star of a standard Sitcom
, a rather different style of comedy. Sometimes it works; sometimes it fails badly.
A lot of it depends on the effort put into recreating what made the comedian famous in the first place. Many comics have quite a bit of vulgarity and bite in their routine, and when translated to prime-time TV a lot of that can be lost. Other times, the sitcom plot was decided upon long before the comic arrived and it has little resemblance to the routine.
And sometimes the sit com character will be more well liked than the comedian. This can lead to disappointment if a fan of the show watches the standup routine.
Very often, the comedian's character will share his first name. Expect a Danza
or two. Sometimes the show will be named after the comedian's last
name despite it not matching the main character's.
May involve one of a Double Act
or Comic Troupe
Almost all Dawn of Television Era sitcoms evolved from similar programs on the radio (many including much if not all of the original cast) who got their employ on radio from successful careers on Vaudeville. The others were borderline sketch shows in which the bits became progressively longer, usually produced by having Vaudevillians do their acts in front of a camera. It seems to be pretty well split between American sitcoms and a British Series
A title the likes of The Eponymous Show
is probable, but by no means the rule.
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- The Abbott and Costello show was produced by having the film and Vaudeville stars give their performances in camera-equipped area.
- Absolutely Fabulous, starring Jennifer Saunders — expanded from the French and Saunders sketch "Modern Mother and Daughter".
- All-American Girl, starred Margaret Cho.
- Paul Rodriguez's short-lived AKA Pablo.
- The Bill Engvall Show, starred Bill Engvall. Another short-lived example. You'd think they would've learned from The Jeff Foxworthy Show, considering both are in the same comedy troupe.
- Both Bill Bailey and Dylan Moran moved into Black Books from successful comedy careers.
- Moran had previously been in the Sitcom How Do You Want Me? before taking the role in Black Books.
- Blue Heaven was an early sitcom vehicle for Frank Skinner, who started out as stand-up and is now best known as a TV host/presenter/affable bloke.
- Bob Newhart: The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob, George & Leo
- Greg Giraldo's short-lived ABC show Common Law (NOT the 2012 USA Network show of the same name.)
- The Cosby Show, starring Bill Cosby.
- Steve Coogan's stand up character Alan Partridge was spun off into Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge and Im Alan Partridge.
- The Critic, an animated prime time series starring Jon Lovitz.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm, as Larry David was a standup comic before he became known as a TV writer.
- Don Rickles: C.P.O. Sharkey
- The Detectives, starred Jasper Carrott. Expanded sketch from his Stand-up and Sketch Shows.
- The Drew Carey Show
- Ellen DeGeneres had two sitcoms on different networks, These Friends of Mine / Ellen and the short-lived The Ellen Show.
- Everybody Loves Raymond, starring Ray Romano.
- Everybody Hates Chris, starring Chris Rock.
- Fawlty Towers, starred John Cleese from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
- Questionable whether this qualifies. Cleese always considered himself a writer first and a performer second.
- Sean Lock's 15 Storeys High.
- Full House did so well that it singlehandedly destroyed Bob Saget's reputation for working blue.
- Um yeah. It was kind of jarring watching the dad from Full House make a cameo in Half Baked talking about how he sucked dick for coke.
- Another short-lived American example: The George Carlin Show.
- George Lopez's eponymous series.
- Grace Under Fire, based on Brett Butler's stand-up routine.
- Home Improvement evolved out of Tim Allen's stand-up routine. It wouldn't be surprising if fans of the family-friendly sitcom who weren't familiar with his stand up were shocked at how dirty his routine actually is.
- The Honeymooners, starred Jackie Gleason. An expanded sketch from his Variety Show.
- The Jeff Foxworthy Show is a shorter-lived American example.
- Kenan & Kel, with Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, previously of sketch show All That. Probably the most notable Kid Com version of this trope.
- Maybe, maybe not. Amanda Bynes also made it big on All That, and was rewarded with...another sketch show, The Amanda Show. However, that sketch show produced a duo that could rival Kenan and Kel: Drake & Josh, with Drake Bell and Josh Peck both former cast members of The Amanda Show (and arguably spawning the current crop of Dan Schneider shows).
- King of Queens stars stand-up comic Kevin James.
- Lead Balloon converted Jack Dee's miserable stand-up persona into a sitcom.
- Louis C.K. briefly starred in Lucky Louie. More recently, he starred in Louie where he plays himself.
- Martin, starring Martin Lawrence.
- Joel Hodgson did standup prior to creating Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Not Going Out starring Lee Mack.
- Also starring Tim Vine, who continues the bad puns from his stand-up act.
- Hugh Dennis went on to feature in Outnumbered.
- Peep Show starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, previously known for their sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look.
- It's actually the other way around, and Mitchell and Webb are more of an inversion. While the two did have a sketch show in 2001 called The Mitchell and Webb Situation, it was aired on an obscure channel and vanished into obscurity. When Peep Show aired in 2003, they were pretty much unknowns. But Peep Show took off and became a cult hit, launching them into the public consciousness and therefore allowing That Mitchell and Webb Look to be commissioned.
- Please Like Me, starring (and written by) Josh Thomas.
- Porridge and Open All Hours, both starred Ronnie Barker from The Two Ronnies.
- Chris Barrie and Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf. Though Barrie had done a bit of TV before this show.
- Roseanne, one of the biggest examples (no fat joke intended). Come on!
- Sanford and Son was the first of several of these for Redd Foxx, including The Redd Foxx Show and The Royal Family.
- The Sarah Silverman Program is basically Sarah's stand-up persona converted in to a sitcom.
- Sean's Show was a No Fourth Wall sitcom vehicle for Sean Hughes.
- Seinfeld was the most successful example to date, primarily because it went so far outside the standard Sitcom setup. It's also rare in that it made the character's profession a stand-up comic as well, being that it originated as a TV Special on stand up comics focusing on Seinfeld. The early seasons often included clips of Jerry doing his stand-up as segues between scenes or as if his character had written a bit based on his experience during the episode.
- Sorry!, starred Ronnie Corbett from The Two Ronnies.
- The Steve Harvey Show was Steve Harvey's second, and better-known sitcom. His first, Me And The Boys aired on ABC and was cancelled after a few episodes.
- It also featured another Sit Comic, Cedric the Entertainer.
- Terry And Julian takes camp comic Julian Clary and puts him in an apartment with a straight bloke. Hilarity Ensues.
- Titus, based on Christopher Titus' one-man show, Norman Rockwell is Bleeding (his first comedy special, which touched on living with a highly Dysfunctional Family and his life as a screwed-up person living in a world of "normal" people). Is considered one of the more successful examples of this trope as far as translating a one-man show into an ensemble comedy (even though it was canceled due to Executive Meddling).
- The Vicar of Dibley, starring Dawn French of French and Saunders.
- Welcome Back, Kotter, featuring the kids Gabe Kaplin talked about in his stand up routine.
- Whitney, starring Whitney Cummings.
- The Young Ones partially evolved from writer/performer Rik Mayall's stand-up character and the acts of the other performers. Although it's so busting with skit-based digressions and defiant of continuity, the non-sitcom backgrounds of the writers is very much embraced.
- Paul Rubens is an odd example, having turned his unexpectedly successful adult stage parody of children's television shows into an actual Saturday morning kid's show.
- An episode of American Dad! had Francine given one of these shows after her successful stand up revival.
- This almost happens to the protagonist (a radio shock jock) in The Fisher King. Twice.
- On the above-mentioned Seinfeld, the boys are developing a sitcom based on Jerry's routine.