Comedy Central Productions
In 1989, Time Warner's HBO unit expanded into basic cable with "The Comedy Channel", the first cable channel devoted exclusively to comedy-based programming. Similarly, Viacom launched "Ha! TV Comedy Network" the next year.
After both channels took a hit, the two compromised and created "Comedy Partners" in 1991, merging both channels into "CTV: The Comedy Network", which was renamed shortly after to "Comedy Central" (in order to avoid confusion with Canada's CTV network).
In April 2003, Time Warner sold their half of Comedy Partners for $1.23 billion, resulting in Viacom owning 100% of Comedy Central; the network was then made part of the MTV Networks (now Paramount Media Networks).
CTV: The Comedy Network
(April 1-June 1, 1991)
Logo: On a black background, we see a humorous image of an animal or person superimposed on another stock image in a usually frilled or stamp-like frame with the words "CTV: The Comedy Network" written below in Kabel Ultra Bold.
Music/Sounds: A stock music sting.
Availability: Extinct. Found on old tapes of reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during that era, which still contain the commercial breaks.
1st Logo (November 1991-July 1994)
Logo: The Comedy Central logo (a purple-blue globe showing the Americas, with tall buildings on the North American part and a black marquee reading "COMEDY-CENTRAL") is placed on a pile of rusty tires on a junkyard. The marquee spins around twice.
Technique: Simple computer animation.
Music/Sounds: Penn Jillette saying "This has been a presentation of Comedy Central!"
- It's seen on the CC-era of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) starting in the latter half of season 3 ("Star Force: Fugitive Alien II" is the earliest known episode with it) to the first few episodes of season 6 on VHS tapes (the rest of the season uses the next logo).
- Also seen on several other Comedy Central shows from the era.
- Most episodes of MST3K on PlutoTV and DVD releases have this and the HBO Downtown Productions logo removed; however, they can still be seen on the episode "The Rebel Set".
2nd Logo (July 1994-June 5, 1996)
Logo: On a black background, we see the 1992 Comedy Central globe (now tilted to its side and having the text in white and in a different font) in blue-black emitting blue circles, with crude drawings of buildings (similar to the ones on the globe) moving around below and a giant moon on the left showing a reverse version of the globe spinning rapidly.
Variant: On season 7 of MST3K, the logo fades in and is silent.
Technique: A mix of live-action and 2D animation, produced by PMcD Design.
Music/Sounds: Penn Jillette saying "This has been a presentation from Comedy Central", along with some men scatting and whistling the network's generic tune from the time throughout, and ending with a man shouting "HEY!"
Availability: Seen on season 1 of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist on DVD and VHS, and the majority of seasons 6-7 of MST3K on VHS. This logo and the HBO Downtown Productions logo are retained on at least one episode of MST3K on PlutoTV, "The Starfighters".
3rd Logo (June 5, 1996-November 30, 1997)
Logo: It begins with a shot of a credit card being inserted into what is presumably an ATM. It then switches to a shot of an ATM screen, with text in green being displayed from top to bottom in a computer-type font. The text reads "THIS HAS BEEN A PRESENTATION OF:", followed by the Comedy Central logo in green, and "THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE" under the logo. The last line "blinks" a few times, becoming highlighted in green with the text in black.
- An edit exists on the first three episodes of South Park where the "credit card" animation is kept in, but the ATM screen is cut as it abruptly switches to the next logo.
- Similar to the next logo, South Park episodes on their website have a copyright stamp added to the logo, along with the Comedy Central URL.
Technique: A mix of live-action and CGI.
Music/Sounds: The whirring of the credit card being inserted and the "beeping" sounds, like a real ATM.
Availability: Uncommon. It's seen on Comedy Central shows of the period.
- The Rhino VHS and DVD releases of early South Park episodes retain this logo (it is removed on the season 1 DVD set) along with seasons 2-4 of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
- The credit card animation was retained on some early episodes of Win Ben Stein's Money when it was aired on GSN.
4th Logo (August 13, 1997-December 1, 1999)
Logo: On a background with wavy blue and gray lines, a slightly revamped version of the Comedy Central logo in blue and yellow appears at the bottom of the screen, at first being distorted, but quickly sharpening up. The transmitter on the top of the logo "activates" and then many yellow rings with the words "this has been a presentation of" inside begin to emerge from the transmitter. A white copyright stamp is shown below, along with the "comedycentral.com" URL.
Trivia: Comedy Central's logo was slightly redesigned during this period by the design firm Attik, gaining a smoother look; most notably, the small hyphen from the "COMEDY CENTRAL" marquee was removed and the buildings are now clearly on the United States, with South America placed further down on the globe.
Variant: Sometimes, the logo has no copyright stamp; only the URL in black. South Park episodes that did not have it later had it added below on the southparkstudios.com versions.
Technique: Simple computer animation. This was done by H-Gun Studios in Chicago, Illinois.
Music/Sounds: An "interference" sound followed by loud synth "bong" sounds as the "rings" come out from the transmitter, or the closing theme of the show.
Music/Sounds Variant: A variant with different synth "bong" sounds was seen on the South Park episode "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut".
- It first appeared on the first three episodes of South Park as part of the variant for the previous logo (see above).
- The South Park first season DVD removes this logo on all but "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", while the second season DVD features this logo intact.
- Preserved on DVDs and VHS tapes of season 5 and the first six episodes of season 6 of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, earlier episodes of Bob and Margret and Comedy Central Presents episodes from the era, although the first episode is plastered by the 6th logo.
5th Logo (January 1999-January 21, 2001, February 13, 2002)
Logo: On a background with what looks like bubbles floating around, the Comedy Central logo, now in black-and-white, zooms in from the center of the screen and glows. The text "THIS HAS BEEN A PRESENTATION OF..." is above it, and the copyright stamp for the show (usually "© [YEAR] Comedy Partners, Inc. All Rights Reserved") is below. This logo has seven different color palettes:
- Silver background with red and silver bubbles
- Blue background with dark blue bubbles
- Green background with green and dark green bubbles
- Red background with dark red bubbles
- Gold background with gold bubbles
- Purple background with purple bubbles
- Blue background with purple bubbles
- On South Park episodes on Comedy Central with compressed credits, the "zooming-in" portion of the logo is removed.
- In later years, the URL "www.comedycentral.com" was seen at the bottom.
- A copyright stamp was added on the South Park episodes shown at "southparkstudios.com".
- A variant on Upright Citizens Brigade exists where the logo quickly switches between the blue/dark blue, silver/red, and green/dark green palettes.
Technique: Computer animation.
Music/Sounds: A low "WHOOSH" as the logo zooms in, followed by a hip hop and techno drum fanfare (used on Comedy Central's bumpers at the time) or the closing theme of the show.
- On Strangers with Candy, a techno theme is heard (also used on Comedy Central's bumpers at the time) with something that sounds like a car's tires screeching.
- On Comedy Central Presents, the last part of the RickMill Productions logo's theme plays over the logo.
- On Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, Win Ben Stein's Money, and South Park, it's the sound of muffled slushing and bubbling.
Availability: The silver/red/silver, blue/dark blue, green/green/dark green and red/dark red variants are uncommon. The yellow, purple, and blue/purple ones are rare.
- First seen on season 2 episodes of Comedy Central Presents and last seen on the Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist episode "Lerapy".
- The blue variant was seen on South Park episodes from this era up to "Probably", but given constant plastering from the next logo, it can now only be seen on "Prehistoric Ice Man" on the second season DVD (the first South Park episode to use it, the rest of the episodes on the DVD end with the previous logo).
- Nearly all of the colors can be found on DVDs of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist episodes from the era.
- It also appeared on Craig Kilborn/early Jon Stewart-era The Daily Show episodes and Comedy Central Presents episodes from the era.
- The blue version can also be seen on the DVD of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, at the end of Comedy Central's Canned Ham: The Dr. Evil Story (a fake documentary tying in with the film).
6th Logo (October 2000-May 28, 2004)
Logo: Over a shaded orange background, we see lots of yellow circles zooming in toward the camera. Each circle has a different close-up of the 2000 Comedy Central logo (much like the original, but looking more abstract, with different buildings and a different font) and the text "THIS HAS BEEN A PRESENTATION OF" scrolling to the right. When the circles move away, we are treated with the end product: the updated Comedy Central logo in the center with "THIS HAS BEEN A PRESENTATION OF" above in black, and "comedycentral.com" below in white, and circles moving behind the logo.
Trivia: This logo was designed by Imaginary Forces, who gave the original design a major overhaul to freshen the network's brand image: the continents were simplified to a speech bubble-like shape, the buildings were "melted" into the globe, and the marquee was removed in favor of the enlarged text in a different font. Most notably, the transmitter was removed from the middle building, which was said to "communicate the 1950s broadcast era" by network managememt.
- On later seasons of South Park, this logo starts with the finished product on numerous episodes, bypassing the circles. A copyright stamp for Comedy Partners is included. A few episodes keep the animation as usual, but still have the copyright notice plastered over all the animation. This variant also appeared on Comedy Central Presents.
- Versions where the background is blue or green instead of orange exist.
- Current reruns of South Park keep this logo intact; however, it's part of the split screen credits. Therefore, the logo is sometimes extended to fit with the length of the commercial (in case it is too long). This is done by having the logo play as normal with the last bit of the circle animation going on a continuous loop when the finished product appears.
Technique: A mix of 2D and 3D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: A funky bass/guitar sounder that loops itself, not unlike the ones heard on Comedy Central's commercial tags at the time. It depends on the variant.
Music/Sounds Variant: Sometimes, if the logo is plastering older Comedy Central logos, the original logo's audio will still be heard.
Availability: Common. Seen on programs from the time, such as South Park and Comedy Central Presents.
- The audio variant can be heard on later prints of the un-aired South Park pilot, as well as the remastered prints of early seasons of said show.
- The blue background variant appears on the TV movie Windy City Heat, and on Gerhard Reinke's Wanderlust.
- The green variant appeared on Beat the Geeks and Let's Bowl!.
7th Logo (2004-2005?)
Logo: On a yellow-orange gradient background, we see several graffiti designs in different styles moving and a grunge-like Comedy Central logo, then it zooms in to the logo in the center with "this has been a presentation of" above, and "comedycentral.com" below.
Technique: Graffiti-style computer animation by INTERspectacular.
Music/Sounds: A hip-hop/techno tune.
Availability: Seen on the pilot of Crank Yankers coming from the 2004 DVD release.
8th Logo (2004-2005?)
Logo: On a red background, we see a close-up of the Comedy Central logo, which zooms out as the camera cuts to the text "THIS HAS BEEN" and "A PRESENTATION OF" sliding next to what looks like melting graffiti. "THIS HAS BEEN" flickers, and the screen then cuts to another close-up of the Comedy Central logo as the text slides in at an angle, and the white parts of the logo briefly flash to black. The text flickers again and we see the logo appear in white once again. Everything flickers, as the logo changes its position and flickers between black and white. This all continues until it cuts to black.
Variant: There is a version that has the word "PRESENTATION" misspelled as "PRESENTATON".
Technique: Computer animation. Like the previous logo, the logo is designed by INTERspectacular.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous logo, or sometimes a different hip-hop tune is used.
Availability: Rare, as this logo was limited to DVD releases of Comedy Central shows at the time. Notable releases with this logo include seasons 4-6 of South Park, season 1 of Drawn Together, as well as season 2 of Reno 911!.
9th Logo (2005-December 31, 2010)
Logo: On a lime green background, we see an extreme close-up of a white grunge-like Comedy Central logo with the holes in the letters "O", "R" and "A" filled in, skewed to the right and flashing a bit. It then suddenly cuts to a normal version of the logo next to a green, white, and blue cloud with the text "PRODUCTIONS" in a grunge-like font with all holes filled in. A copyright stamp with the year of the South Park episode's release next to it appears below in white.
Technique: Simple computer animation. Again, the logo is designed by INTERspectacular.
Music/Sounds: A rough guitar tune.
Availability: Rare. It used to be seen on syndicated reruns of South Park, among other Comedy Central shows such as The Sarah Silverman Program, but it has been deleted on most syndication prints now. It is still used in the UK.
10th Logo (January 1, 2011)
Logo: On a robin's egg blue background, the camera zooms into the upper right corner of the new Comedy Central logo, which features a black letter "C" inside a bigger reverse black "C", revealing the text "COMEDY CENTRAL" in a white angular font, with the new logo in the upper right corner of the text. We zoom into the new logo, revealing the "COMEDY CENTRAL" text, but with the word "CENTRAL" upside-down. The new Comedy Central logo squeezes into the middle of the text.
Trivia: Comedy Central introduced the new logo (designed by The Lab) on December 9, 2010 and debuted it on January 1, 2011.
Technique: Simple 2D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the rebrand montage. The song is an instrumental excerpt of "Wham Bam" by Clooney, which is a part of the Extreme Music library and has been featured in many promos for other Paramount-owned networks (like Nickelodeon and VH1).
Availability: Seen only on the 2011 Comedy Central rebrand montage.
11th Logo (September 25, 2012-April 14, 2015)
Logo: On a black background, we see the white words "COMEDYCENTRAL". Then, the two "C"s from the previous logo pop in while the word "CENTRAL" is in upside-down.
Technique: Simple 2D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.
Availability: Rare. It can be seen on Brickleberry.
12th Logo (2012-2019?)
Logo: On a dark gray background, the two "C"s from the last two logos briefly wipe in while flickering. Then, the words "COMEDY" and "CENTRAL" (with "CENTRAL" upside-down) appear on the left and right side respectively. The final result has a robin's egg blue color similar to the background of the previous logo. A copyright stamp appears below.
Technique: Simple 2D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: Three electronic xylophone notes, followed by two high synth notes. A noise sounding like a TV tuner interference can also be heard in the background.
Availability: Appears on international (including Latin American) prints of Comedy Central programs.
13th Logo (May 4-September 7, 2020)
Logo: We see the text "COMEDY CENTRAL PRODUCTIONS" with the words stacked on top of each other in white. The network's "C" logo occupies the space next to the former two words.
Variant: This logo often shares the screen with other logos.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.
Availability: Rare. Only seen on the new series of Reno 911!, as all other shows from Comedy Central began using the MTV Entertainment Studios logo instead.