Cable’s Comedy Central has a promising concept with its new weekly series Politically Incorrect (Comedy Central, July 25, 8-8:30 p.m.), hosted by comedian Bill Maher. Each week, a different panel of guests combining comics and political commentators discuss current events ranging from the image of African-Americans on television to motorcycle-helmet laws. The idea is to provoke a freewheeling discussion with articulate wits, and Maher does a good job of keeping the proceedings moving briskly. It’s obvious, however, that the show succeeds solely on the strength of its panel.
I’ve seen two episodes. The first, with guests including Jerry Seinfeld and political consultant Ed Rollins, was erratic but regularly very funny; the second, whose panel included the Rev. Al Sharpton and Ann Stone, head of the Republicans for Choice committee, was sleep-inducing. Let’s hope the quality of the series becomes more consistent. I look forward, in particular, to a future edition in which the scheduled guests include tart-tongued humorist Fran Lebowitz and punk wild man Henry Rollins; if sparks don’t fly then, they never will. C+