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‘How to Be a Gentleman’ fails at modern ‘Odd Couple’ attempt

David Hornsby (left) plays an etiquette columnist KevDillfitness center owner “How Be Gentleman.”

David Hornsby (left) plays an etiquette columnist and Kevin Dillon a fitness center owner in “How to Be a Gentleman.”

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7:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-Channel 2

Updated: November 11, 2011 5:00PM

Too bad David Hornsby didn’t pick up a book on how to write a funny sitcom instead of the 1998 etiquette guide How to Be a Gentleman.

If he had, we might have been spared CBS’ newest — and weakest — comedy.

Set in Chicago (unfortunately), “How to Be a Gentleman” is about an uptight fussbudget named Andrew (played by Hornsby, also the creator of the show), who writes a magazine column doling out gentlemanly advice.

The magazine’s new owner wants to shake things up, so Andrew — recently dumped by his girlfriend, of course — has to find sexier column topics than lamenting the death of evening wear. His quest to be less “gentle” and more “man” leads him to strike up an unrealistic “Odd Couple”-like friendship with an old high school bully played by Kevin Dillon. “Entourage” is off the air, but that’s not going to stop Dillon from portraying another mouth-breathing Neanderthal, gosh darn it.

Dillon’s crass character, Bert, runs a fitness center. Bert says he took over the gym business from his dad, who came down with “cancer of the penis.” Then Bert explains that was a joke, and his dad’s genitals are just fine. (This is about the time I noticed that even the laugh track seems to be struggling with this show.)

The sitcom even sucks the funny out of Dave Foley (of the sketch group the Kids in the Hall), who plays Andrew’s editor, and Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24”) as Andrew’s surly sister.

I hope Andrew has penned an etiquette column on how a gentleman handles getting canceled by a network, because he’s going to need it.

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