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.
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
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.
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.