Sunday, January 03, 2010


Fridays was a late-night sketch comedy show which ran from 1980 to 1982. Like Saturday Night Live, which it was modeled upon, its cast was a group of young unknowns, among whom were a pre-Seinfeld Larry David and Michael Richards. While it was running, it was widely derided for being a rip-off of Saturday Night Live and for its heavy reliance upon drug humor. (Two of its recurring characters were a "Rasta" who hosted various TV shows while consuming enormous amounts of ganja, and a perpetually drug-addled pharmacist.) Today it's remembered mainly for Andy Kaufman's guest appearances, particularly the first.

Odd Obsession Movies, which I've mentioned before, has on its display shelves two not-entirely-legal DVDs containing the shows on which Kaufman appeared. Not on display, but available for rental upon request, are seven CD-Rs compiling around thirty shows, which if I remember correctly were burned from videotapes recorded by a friend of the owner off of his or her TV. I had watched Fridays when it originally aired, and remembered it as being pretty good. It was undeniably a ripoff of Saturday Night Live; but after its original cast left, which happened in the middle of Fridays' first season, Saturday Night Live basically became a ripoff of itself. So I rented the first of the discs (which aren't organized chronologically, although the first disc does happen to contain the premiere show, if I'm not mistaken).

As was perhaps foreseeable, the show didn't live up to my memory of it. There were some funny bits, mainly in the show that came first on the disc and in the one guest-starring Victoria Principal. But most of the sketches suffered from the usual flaws of unfunny sketch-comedy: sophomoric humor, weak acting, and sketches with little going for them besides their premises, which weren't that funny in the first place. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Before I rented one of the discs, the owner warned me that the set's video quality was "terrible," although "watchable." But on the disc I rented, only one of the shows was of really bad quality. (Unfortunately, it was the one guest-starring Victoria Principal I mentioned above.) The others, while far from professional quality, were perfectly fine for casual viewing.

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