‘The Hollow Men’ delight lovers of classic sketch comedy

New series on Comedy Central will benefits from fast-paced British potty humor

Starting in March, sketch comedy fans won’t need to pump themselves up with caffeine to stick out 2 a.m. reruns of “Kids in the Hall,” sacrifice prime weekend party time to catch “Saturday Night Live” or search the racks of the local Blockbuster for old Monty Python tapes to get their fill of slapstick potty humor.

On March 10, Comedy Central will introduce “The Hollow Men,” a quartet of young British comedians whose fast-paced program keeps the tradition of sketch comedy alive and kicking.

The foursome of David Armand, Nick Tanner, Rupert Russell and Sam Spedding write and perform the acts, and at least 12 skits are crammed into each half-hour show. The sketches feature completely outrageous circumstances, from doctors storing beer with their cryogenically frozen patient to an “Antiques Roadshow” spoof that features a dealer appraising the value of people brought in (grandma isn’t worth much unless grandpa is there to complete the set).

Pre-recording allows “The Hollow Men” to jump from skit to skit without the interruptions of scene changes that make live acts like SNL drag on.

Each show begins with a sketch that leaves you mulling it over during the opening credits. Several longer skits are interspersed with a series of commercial-style quickies that follow the same theme throughout the show. The program always ends with a sketch that eventually breaks into song and dance.

If SNL characters like Mr. Peepers or the recent sketch “Monkeys throwing poop at celebrities” don’t prompt even a giggle, or if the dry, satirical humor of Monty Python leaves you more annoyed than amused, this program isn’t likely to keep you entertained.

Although there are moments that border on intellectual wit, “The Hollow Men” is still classic potty humor and run-of-the-mill sexual comedy — albeit, hilarious, gut-wrenching potty humor and uproarious, sidesplitting sexual comedy. It’s funny what British accents can do for debatable subject matter.

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And while not exactly family-friendly in “Full House” fashion, “The Hollow Men” is not vulgar or tasteless. It keeps its material on same level, if not more moderate than any of the current comedy programs on late-night TV.

For fans of classic sketch comedy, “The Hollow Men” takes some warming up to, just like any new SNL cast member. But one show is all it takes. After that, you’ll have a complete repertoire of new one-liners to keep your friends entertained all week. And you’ll want to come back for more.

“The Hollow Men” premieres on Comedy Central on Thursday, March 10 at 10:30 p.m. For more information, log on to www.comedycentral.com.