Professional therapist

I used to love Comedy Central’s 90s-era “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist,” a weirdly computer-animated show in which standup comedians did their acts as patients on the couch of Jonathan Katz (in real life, Katz was a standup as well). I remember seeing Ray Romano as one of Jonathan Katz’s patients long before “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Jonathan Katz and the show’s creator/animator, Tom Snyder (not the talk show host, who passed away in 2007) have a new web series, “Explosion Bus,” and are promoting it, which is how they wound up as the primary guests during the same week on the two comedy podcasts I listen to most regularly: “Jordan, Jesse, Go!” on Monday, and then “Sklarbro Country” on Friday. (Both contain strong language, particularly JJGo.)

Katz has the same soft-spoken, playful personality as a guest that he had on the show. He delights in silly little one-liners, and his joy when he finds an opportunity is infectious.

I have to say, though, “Explosion Bus” is a little – awkward, and not in a good way. Katz is as funny as ever, but the premise – a group of 30-somethings on a bus traveling around the country on some sort of online talent search – doesn’t seem to work. On the one hand, the characters are traveling around in this ratty looking bus, but yet in the second episode, they’re apparently supposed to be well-known enough that teenagers at a high school have crushes on (some of) them and invite them as celebrity prom dates. It makes no sense, even in a fun or larger-than-life sort of way.

But maybe I’m overthinking it.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you

I was looking for something else and discovered that Comedy Central has begun re-running back to back episodes of the wonderful and underrated “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” at 7 a.m. (8 Eastern).

This gem of a show from the mid-1990s is crudely animated (using a computer-based technique called “SquiggleVision” which some found annoying) but somehow wins you over. Standup comic Jonathan Katz stars in the title role, and his “patients” are other standup comics or comic actors, who play themselves and basically do their normal routines while lying on Katz’s couch. “Dr. Katz” was the first place I ever saw Ray Romano, before “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Breaking up the “sessions” are Katz’s humorous interactions with his sullen receptionist and his slacker son.

My DVR is happily recording these episodes while they’re available.

Meanwhile, my Carolina brother has informed me about another of my favorite comedy series being released on DVD: “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.” While I’m also a fan of “The Larry Sanders Show,” Shandling’s acclaimed HBO series, but “IGSS” is a different animal — a wacky, fourth-wall-shattering sendup of sitcom conventions and Shandling’s own prissy-boy image.

I’d love to be able to get this some time. (My brother plans to rent the individual disks from Netflix.)

Remembering Dr. Katz

Here is a great interview with Tom Snyder — not the late-night talk show host but the creator of a wonderful and sadly overlooked cartoon series, “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.” Snyder is no prude, but his comments about Comedy Central and the Adult Swim block of Cartoon Network wanting things vulgar for the sake of being vulgar ring true.

The first place I ever saw Ray Romano was in animated form, as one of Dr. Katz’s patients, long before “Everybody Loves Raymond.”