Week’s top-10 for June 27: potent bits of fact and fiction

1) “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution,” 9-11 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, A&E. This sprawls across a century of humor. The first half (rerunning at 7 p.m. Thursday) glances at the bad old days, then focuses on Dick Gregory, a teen track star who learned that Blacks’ times didn’t go in the record books. He became an activist, then a comedian, then both. It then ranges from Richard Pryor to Jimmy “J.J.” Walker. The second half visits a genial era (Cosby, Murphy, etc.) and then the sharp commentary of Chris Rock (shown here), Dave Chappelle and more.

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Best-bets for June 25: Jerrod returns; De Niro never leaves

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Jerrod Carmichael (shown here) hosted this rerun (with Gunna as music guest), returning to the network where he first drew attention. He did three short seasons (partially in summers) as producer and star of “The Carmichael Show,” drawing praise for injecting topical humor into a situation comedy. In the five years since then, he’s mainly helped produce other people’s series (“Ramy,” “Rel”) and stand-up specials. Here’s a return to the spotlight. Read more…

Best-bets for June 24: winners in soaps, dance, more

1) Daytime Emmys, 9-11 p.m., CBS. In the previous two ceremonies, there was no studio audience and (almost) no fun; things plotted along drearily. Now we get new hosts (the “Entertainment Tonight” anchors) and an audience. All five soaps are nominated, including “Days of Our Lives” and its Peacock spin-off. Up for best talk host are Kelly Clarkson (shown here), Drew Barrymore and two duos — Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush-Hager. Barrymore will be a presenter; Michael Bolton will do two songs — a new one and one for the “I Memoriam” segment. Read more…

Film captures the bumpy history of Black comedy

For decades, Black comedy has kept changing.
It went from “chitlin’ circuit” obscurity to a cable spotlight, from minstrel-show clamor to Chappelle sophistication. It went from the triumphs of Bill Cosby to the tragedy of Bill Cosby; it also went from the rage of Dick Gregory to the joy of Eddie Murphy (shown here) … and then back to rage.
Now a documentary tries to sum it up in four crowded hours. “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” debuts from 9-11 p.m. June 29 on A&E; that part repeats from 7-9 p.m. June 30, leading into the conclusion from 9-11 p.m. Read more…

Best-bets for June 23: mini-chefs, maxi-athletes

1) “MasterChef Junior” finale, 9 p.m., Fox. This has been in flux lately. The semi-finals and finals were originally set for Thursdays, then were moved to Tuesdays, June 14 and 21. But – barring another change – the final night will rerun now, just two days later. At 8 p.m., “Road to the Finale” looks at what’s happened so far. At 9, we see – or re-see — Liya Chu, 10, shown here, and Grayson Price, 11, go for the top prize — $100,000 plus appliances and a dinner with Gordon Ramsay. Read more…

Best-bets for June 22: low-budget fun, high-class farewell

1) “Wellington Paranormal” season-opener, 9 and 9:30 p.m., CW. You’d expect Americans to ignore this – a micro-budgeted New Zealand show with thick accents and unknown stars (shown here). But it’s from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waiti (the “What We Do in the Shadows” creators); filled with their slow, dry wit. Clement wrote and directed the second episode, with his “Flight of the Conchords” colleague, Rhys Darby, as a park ranger. The first episode has an invisible man – an elusive target.; the second has a woods creature. Both have funny moments. Read more…

This food show ranges from tacos to the unknown

It was almost 60 years ago that public-TV learned that food can provide good television.
At first, that was just Julia Child booming about French food. Now there’s “The Great American Recipe,” which covers … well, almost everything.
The show – 9 p.m. Fridays on most PBS stations, starting June 24 — has 10 home cooks. Their roots reflect Syria, Vietnam, Hungary, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy and more, including Southern soul food.
Some types of food showed up often during auditions. “I have never seen so many types of tacos,” said producer Jilly Pearce. Added Alejandra Ramos (shown here), the host: “We had taco Tuesday every day.” Read more…

Best-bets for June 21: honors for young chefs and an old wit

1) “Mark Twain Prize,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. After skipping two years, this comedy prize returns with a gem. Jon Stewart is honored with a cascade of warmth, ribbing and large laughs. Stewart led “The Daily Show” (shown here) for 16 years, winning 10 straight best-variety-show Emmys (which, we’re told, he kept in a cardboard box). We hear from his former correspondents (Steve Carell, Olivia Munn, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Ed Helms), fellow comics (Pete Davidson, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Kimmel) and more, including Bruce Springsteen. Read more…

Best-bets for June 20: hockey, movies and real-life tragedy

1) Hockey, 8 pm. ET, ABC. After two games in Colorado, the best-of-seven finalsl move to Tampa Bay. There, the local team (the Lightning,,shown here in blue) is used to this; it’s going for its third straight Stanley Cup championship. Getting in the way is a team (the Avalanche) that has dominated lately. After its win in the first game of the finals, it had a stunning 13-2 record in this year’s play-offs. The action will stay in Tampa Bay on Wednesday; then (if needed) it’s Friday in Colorado, Sunday in Tampa Bay and June 28 in Colorado. Read more…

Best-bets for June 19: Three drama openers and a music cascade

1) “Hotel Portofino” (shown here) opener, 8 p.m., PBS. On a gorgeous stretch of the Italian Riviera, Bella has spiffed up a little hotel. She hopes to draw her fellow Englishmen; she may even find a match for her son, a handsome lad who barely survived the world war. On the surface, this is classic PBS, “Downton” meets “Durrells.” But it’s set in the 1920s and Fascism is rising; also, Bella’s husband is a jerk, some guests are iffy and romance rarely goes as planned. At times, this six-parter is too soapy, with cliché characters; at others, it’s a sweet summer pleasure. Read more…