Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Salute to TV writers: ‘SCTV’

I’ve been a fan of sketch comedy going back to “The Carol Burnett Show” and Flip Wilson.

And I’m grateful to have witnessed the dawn of a New Age for sketch comedy... thanks to “Saturday Night Live” and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

Key members of that troupe (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray) came out of the Second City improv companies in Chicago and Toronto.

Soon, some of their old Second City cousins got their own show: “SCTV.” (It blows my mind that Belushi had performed onstage with Joe Flaherty, and Aykroyd had done scenes with John Candy, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara.)

As part of my continuing salute to television writers, I’m streaming audio of a 5-minute sketch from the second season of “SCTV” (1978). It’s a game-show parody called “High-Q,” and it was written by Catherine O’Hara. To this day, cast members consider this one of their funniest sketches.

Click here to hear it.

The scene is available on the DVD collection “SCTV: Volume 1, Network 90.”


Dan Coyle said...

One of the funniest, and best, TV shows ever. I still go into convulsions when I think of Merv Griffin: THE SPECIAL EDITION. Johnny LaRue was my hero.

HSJ said...

Thank you so much for your support of the WGA strike. I was an indie-filmmaker back in the day, so I'm an inactive member, but I still strongly believe that a significant, viable union is absolutely vital to sustaining the art and craft of writing for the screen, stage and beyond. Perhaps now more than ever. Yes, of course we have reality tv and YouTube to keep us busy. (I myself edit 2 blogs featuring video http://SoGood.tv and http://ForUS.tv) But to paraphrase, the story is the thing, and they don't write themselves. Keep up the fight. Thanks, Heather

eeaster said...

Hey Man, you forgot to mention (or smartly neglected) that sketch show, Fridays. Darrow Igus and a once funny Michael Richards.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Not to mention Larry David, rocking the Jewfro.

But see, Eric, I never found "Fridays" particularly funny. There was always a smugness to it, as they tried to out-hip "SNL" by pumping up the drug humor.

Schottzie03 said...

Martin Short is a vet of both series...and he kills me.

Thanks for a great series of salutes to TV writers...

John B. said...

Speaking of SNL - - Remember SCTV's parody "Thursday Night Live?" The first time I saw it I thought it was just a bad parody of SNL. The I realized that the premise was: what if a bunch of out-of-it Canadian dorks (Guy Caballero & the crew) tried to do a rip-off of SNL? Brilliant!

SCTV really hit its stride when Martin Short joined the cast & they did stuff like CCCP-2, 1984 TV & the like. My altime fave SCTV bit was when William B. Williams walked out on the Sammy Maudlin Show to start his own show, only to have it flop, then walked out on his own show!

Good times, good times. Thanks for the memories!

dez said...

"That blowed up real good!"