Friday's wasn't always brilliantly written but, unlike SNL, it was consistently funny.
Friday's was what SNL used to be, high energy, edgy and hip. SNL had become tedious and chances are that if you thought the same about Friday's you were just too young to understand the comedic references. SNL had become a media institution at that point (like Rolling Stone, which used to be considered part of The Underground Press) and if you had a media product to peddle it was simply a base that had to be touched by the star or written into the sketches.
Friday's didn't care about any of that; From the announcer's screaming greeting "Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive, from the Los Angeles basin!" to music by that day's hippest bands, Friday's showcased some of the most outrageous comedy to be found on TV. Most folks remember Darrow Igus's Rasta Gourmet - a one trick pony to be sure but a crowd pleaser every time - "Do we bake it?" "No no no no!" "Do we fry it?" "No no no no!" 'til finally "We SMOKE it!" "ya ya ya ya" exclaimed Igus' gourmet, whose only spice was Ganja.
Michael Richard's Battle Boy got sicker and sicker as he developed the character, finally taking his little Sister hostage, burying her in the ground and threatening to torture her Barbie. Most folks remember how he liked to set his Army men on fire, complete with simulated screams of agony.
I also liked Richard's hip biker record reviewer, wherein he sailed rejected albums (I usually agreed with him) into the crowd like so many Frisbees.
Mark Blankfield's DRUGS R US stoned out pharmacist made me exhausted watching it. He sailed back and forth on that ladder, popping the inventory and getting more crazed by the minute. Funniest bit was when two midgets walked into his store and he screamed MY GOD, I'VE GROWN!!! Bruce Mahler was brilliant in anything he touched, even his stupid dancing chickens was irresistible. He and Blankfiled excelled above the others in a skit called "Men mmmm Who mmmm Say mmmm 'MMMM' between mmmm Every mmmm Word." When they got going fast it was simply insane.
Another brilliant team bit that they repeated several times was The Transfibians, where three of them had "the operation" changing them into ManFishes. Their school-like movements were hysterical.
Chartoff, the show's cutie-pie, was also a brilliant performer. I don't recall any signature pieces of her's, beyond the News bit. I know she always held up her end of the log in skits - quite a feat among such an insane bunch. I do recall her doing a very edgy piece about a relative who was a molester (she played a little girl). SNL had a similar skit but Friday's took it farther.
I don't recall Larry David at all, I guess he didn't impress me. Rich Hall was there as well as on SNL.
Friday's was truncated right in the midst of it's comedic development. It was a long way from becoming stale like SNL and performers like Michael Richards had to finish the development of their characterizations elsewhere. In Richard's case his nervous tic ridden character begun on Friday's ended up giving birth to Seinfeld's Cramer.
When Friday's was canceled I was just leaving "The Biz," where I worked as an Accountant. Many insiders were mystified at the cancellation of a clearly superior show. Did somebody get a big wig's nose out of joint? Was Friday's deep-sixed for some manner of major faux pas ala Aresenio Hall? Surely the rise of Howdy Doody's big brother Ted Koppel and the creation of Nighline wasn't enough to bump a screamingly funny show like Fridays, was it? We probably will never know. I've seen Friday's reruns on some of the more obscure cable channels but I hope to see it on DVD one day, they'd fly off the shelves.
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