In a tight race, any bit of advantage helps. Two creators and stars of broadcast comedy pilots in contention for a series pickup, Jim Gaffigan and Jerrod Carmichael, got some good news today. Jim Gaffigan’s Comedy Central standup special on Sunday drew 1.1 million viewers and a 0.85 rating in adults 18-49, the highest marks for a standup special on the network in a year, topping 16 other specials that aired in the past 12 months. Gaffigan has a semi-autobiographical comedy pilot at CBS, a re-do of his pilot last year. The new pilot was an early standout. It doesn’t seem to be a sure thing by any stretch but today’s Comedy Central ratings are a nice reminder that Gaffigan is one of the most popular and respected veteran standup comedians working today who is yet to achieve mainstream success.
On the other hand, we have an up-and-come comedian, Jerrod Carmichael, toplining his first pilot, an presentation at NBC. The lower budget autobiographical project has been a dark horse at the network, with its chances increasing as does Carmichael’s profile. He is in the high-profile new feature comedy Neighbors, and he just landed his first HBO standup specialdirected by none other than Spike Lee, with Funny of Die producing. It will be taped at The Comedy Store in Hollywood on May 7.