“Shorties Watching Shorties,” the new Comedy Central comedy showcase, is one of those shows that probably seemed like a good idea in a meeting.

With the simple setup set up of two precocious animated babies flipping TV channels, it’s essentially an excuse to bring together a series of stand-up comedy routines and escape the traditional brick-wall backdrop.

But the two babies, voiced by the comics Nick DiPaolo and Patrice Oneal, don’t have much to say, their transitional material resting somewhere between knowing adult takes on infancy and actually being infantile. A litmus test for your enjoyment of this series may lie in whether you think a baby flipping off his sitter is hilarious.

And the routines they watch, from the likes of Jay Mohr, Denis Leary and Janeane Garofalo, have funny moments, to be sure.

But you have to close your eyes to really enjoy them. In the show’s central conceit, the bits get their own animation, as if they themselves were shows appearing on a TV channel.

To illustrate Dane Cook’s take on cheating on a mate or Leary’s on 1970s fashion is to neuter the storyteller and to tell the audience the worst thing it can hear:

We don’t trust you to get the joke.

The series debuts at 10:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

(c) 2004, Chicago Tribune.

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AP-NY-04-27-04 1221EDT

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