Terry Morrow: Tasteless 'Ben' gives Comedy audience what it wants

Ben Hoffman devotes his half-hour day-in-a-life sketch show to juvenile humor.

Ben Hoffman devotes his half-hour day-in-a-life sketch show to juvenile humor.

First impressions aren’t kind to the new sketch series “The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman” (10 p.m. Thursday, Comedy Central). If they were, you probably wouldn’t come back for the second.

And that’s only mildly unfortunate.

The second installment is far better — which isn’t saying much — but it is watchable and just silly enough to spur a good belly laugh.

Since Comedy Central has captured the young male demo, mainly college-age guys but often younger too, “Ben” is packed with gags about throwing up, flatulence and juvenile sex talk.

A 16-year-old boy would love it, only if his parents aren’t around (and they probably would not let him see “Ben” anyway).

The first episode seems almost cruel. There’s a bit called “yo-bituaries,” in which Hoffman asks people — like his therapist — to read obituaries and pretend as if they like reading them.

Plenty of time is spent mocking fat and ugly people. Tasteless? Certainly.

But Comedy Central, once the home of more intelligent program (“The Chapelle Show,” “Reno 911”) is giving its audience what it wants. “Ben” is it.

Score: 2-1/2 (out of 5)

Reunion hit. Bringing back former prime anchors Bill Williams and Edye Ellis along with ex-sports director Bob Kesling translated into pure gold for WBIR, Channel 10. The three were back for a “retro” newscast, marking the station’s trademark slogan “Straight from the Heart.”

Overnight ratings for the Monday 6 p.m. newscast — when the reunion took place — draw a 14.0 rating, almost double the usual rating for WBIR’s newscast at that time slot.

The number was double the ratings of WATE, Channel 6, and WVLT, Channel 8, combined.

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