Thursday TV: David Steinberg’s ‘Inside Comedy’

Examining humor can be a deadly business. But it can also be the basis of some pretty amusing conversations, as was “The Green Room with Paul Provenza.”

The newest talk show about comedy, on the same network, is “Inside Comedy” (Showtime, 11 p.m.) from David Steinberg, the longtime comedian and writer turned director.

He has an awful good time sitting across from comedians in a variety of settings. His first interviews blends excerpts from an interview with Don Rickles in an L.A. restaurant and Jerry Seinfeld in the backyard of his Hamptons home. Steinberg isn’t a great interviewer; he seems more delighted to be in the company of his colleagues.

New tonight is “Fat Chef” (Food, 10 p.m.), a weight loss show for those who cook for a living. “American Idol” (Fox, 8 p.m.), in its fourth episode this week, originates from auditions in Portland, Ore.

Suze Orman and Will Arnett pop up in a new episode of “30 Rock” (NBC, 8 p.m.), which has been pretty good so far this season. On a new “Parks & Recreation” (NBC, 8:30 p.m.) Leslie organizes a bowling league.

There is yet another Republican Presidential Debate (CNN, 9 p.m.) tonight from Florida with Wolf Blitzer moderating.

Even after last weeek’s 100th episode, Leonard and Penny are still dating on “Big Bang Theory” (CBS, 8 p.m.). Surprised to see “Rob” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.) is even still on.

Aside from a new episode of “The Firm” (NBC, 9 p.m.), everything else on the networks are reruns, perhaps holding their new episodes for February sweeps, which starts a week from tonight.

There’s an emergency road trip north to Staten Island to pick up Vinny, who has gone AWOL on “Jersey Shore” (MTV, 10 p.m.).

“The Fireball of Christ” (National Geographic, 8 p.m.) is not a new Nic Cage movie; instead it’s a special about a possible comet that appeared in 312 AD

The 16th Winter X Games (ESPN, 9 p.m.) begins in Aspen.

J.B. Smoove may be the new face of Comedy Cnetral. In addition to specials like his most recent “J.B. Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It” (Comedy Central, 9 p.m.) he’s the new host of the standup series “Russell Simmons Presents the Ruckus” (Comedy Central, 10 and 10:30 p.m.), from the creator of “Def Comedy Jam.”

Wonder what’s new with the “Snake Man of Appalachia” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.).

It’s a double feature of the live action “The Flintstones” (ABC Family, 7 p.m.) and “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” (ABC Family, 9 p.m.).

The work of director Jack Cardiff is featured on Turner Classic Movies, with “Intent to Kill” (8 p.m.), “The Lion” (9:45 p.m.), “Young Cassidy” (11:30 p.m.), “The Liquidator” (1:30 a.m.) and “Dark of the Sun” (3:30 a.m.).

In college hoops, it’s North Carolina State at North Carolina (ESPN, 7 p.m.), Indiana at Wisconsin (ESPN2, 9 p.m.) and Gonzaga at Portland (ESPN2, 11 p.m.). In the NBA, it’s Celtics at Magic (TNT, 8 p.m.) and Grizzlies at Clippers (TNT, 10:30 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa: Nick Jonas, Rachael Ray, Cat Deeley. The View: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Mignano, Melba Wilson. The Talk: Anne Heche, Bradley Bayou, Tori Spelling. Ellen DeGeneres: Jimmy Kimmel, Melissa McCarthy, Earth Wind & Fire. Wendy Williams: Tom Green, Dr. Lisa Masterson, Dr. Gadget. Rosie O’Donnell: Joe Rogan.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Regis Philbin, John Fogerty (rerun). Jay Leno: Jim Parsons, Meghan McCain, Tom Morello with Ben Harper (rerun). Jimmy Kimmel: Andre Agassi, J.B. Smoove, Seal . Jimmy Fallon: Queen Latifah, Miranda Cosgrove, John Mulaney (rerun). Tavis Smiley: Kathleen Turner. Carson Daly: Wale, Ellen Brill, Portugal, the Man. Jon Stewart: Tilda Swinton. Stephen Colbert: Drew Barrymore. Conan O’Brien: Cuba Gooding Jr.,Jon Heder, They Might Be Giants. Chelsea Handler: The Meatball Shop Guys, Liz Carey, Bobby Lee, Josh Wolf, Ross Mathews.

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