FRIDAYS

Show Type: Comedy/Variety

First Telecast: April 11, 1980

Last Telecast: October 22, 1982

Broadcast History:

April 1980 - March 1981, Friday 11:30-12:40am on ABC

April 1981 - September 1981, Friday 12:00-1:10am on ABC

September 1981 - October 1982, Friday 12:00-1:40am on ABC

Regulars

Mark Blankfield

Maryedith Burrell

Melanie Chartoff

Larry David

Darrow Igus

Brandis Kemp

Bruce Mahler

Michael Richards

John Roarke

SYNOPSIS

ABC's answer to NBC's Saturday Night Live - in fact, an out-and-out carbon copy of Saturday Night Live - was this live late-night program called Fridays. As on the prototype, there was a rambunctious cast of bright young comedians, heavy emphasis on satirical and sometimes raunchy humor, rock musicians as guests, and even a "Weekend Update"-style parody newscast. A guest host presided each week.

Some of the sketches were so gross, in fact, that a number of network affiliates dropped the show. Among the offensive bits were a skit called "Diner of the Living Dead," in which the actors ate human flesh, and another entitled "Women Who Spit." Later things got a bit more sophisticated, with one of the highlights being an elaborate, 17-minute musical comedy satirizing the cult film The Rocky Horror Show (called "The Ronny Horror Show," and starring a mock President Reagan). John Roarke's Reagan was a regular feature, as was Mark Blankfield's speed-freak pharmacist, Larry David's rabbi, Bruce Mahler's Spanish announcer, and the "Rasta Chef" of Darrow Igus (the only black member of the cast). A certain cynical commercialism remained, however, as when an apparently real on-camera fistfight between guest star Andy Kaufman and one of the shows' producers turned out to have been staged to generate publicity.

The young repertory company was hardworking and inventive, and some of the writing (supervised by Jack Burns of The Muppet Show) was first-rate, but the program's reputation as a rip-off and its failure to provide an attention-getting new star (like Chevy Chase in Saturday Night Live's first season) hindered it's chances of becoming the breakthrough hit the earlier program had been.

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