Having a sense of humor is pretty much a job requirement at Comedy Central. So it’s no surprise that president of content and orginal programming Kent Alterman’s dry wit not only infects his conversation but also the vibe of his bright Santa Monica office, giddily cluttered with tchotchkes from his career as well as the net’s cult hit shows. “Call it an oxymoronic reflection of a commitment that the office is mine,” he says. “It’s a little bit of a mix of intention and haphazardness.” That eclectic decorating style lends the space — and its owner — its quirky charm.
Plenty of light streams into his office from the windows that line two walls, but the real energy radiates from the canvas prints of his two children, taken back when they were just toddlers. “They’re now 8 and 5, but the essence of who they are is still embodied in those images,” says the proud papa.
Talk about using a Bible as a weapon: Among his knickknacks is a holy book diecut in the shape of a gun. He found the collectible in a gallery in New York. “In a way, you can say it’s like a great joke,” he says. “It has an economy of execution — in a glimpse, it tells you everything you need to know.” Of course, he had to do some fast-talking of his own to get it through TSA: Let’s just say the security officers at JFK were not amused.
“We’ve taken risk and gambled on talent that has really paid off,” he says. Among his success stories is “Broad City,” which just ended its second season. It was after the first that this cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. “That was a nice moment of recognition that ‘Broad City’ had entered the greater social cultural landscape,” he says. “The shows we try to develop are around talent who have a strong point of view, and it’s gratifying to see how much they’ve resonated with critics and audiences.”