Comedy Central is a cable television station that is aired in the United States, Germany, Italy, Poland and The Netherlands. It concentrates on showing comedic programming. In the early days of the station it mostly aired reruns of pre-existing materials, such as syndicated television shows and movies. The station went through a few earlier incarnations as The Comedy Channel and The Comedy Network before settling on the Comedy Central name in 1991. This also included merging with rival station HA!. Although I am not exactly sure how there is any effective difference between merging two stations and simply shutting one down, perhaps it has something to do with how the money is shuffled.
Over time however the station started showing more and more original programming, such as Mystery Science Theater 3000, South Park and The Daily Show and in doing so they quickly became one of the most popular cable stations and have maintained a high level of popularity ever since, however many critics are quick to point out that the station relies heavily on shock value and gross out humor.