Checking In…with the Stars of Six of MTV’s Early Comedies
Whatever happened to predictability, the milkman, the paperboy, evening TV…and the stars of MTV’s earliest comedies?
Monday, August 1 was the 30th anniversary of MTV’s first broadcast, and while most of the attention was along the lines of “REMEMBER WHEN MTV PLAYED MUSIC VIDEOS?!?” let’s not forget that the network has a long history of airing comedies, too. Below are the stars of six of MTV’s earliest comedies and what they’re up to now, with the exception of The State because who knows where that nobody Michael Ian Black is up to these days.
Laura House, Howard Kremer, and Brad “Chip” Pope, stars of Austin Stories
In their early years, MTV generally stuck to sketch comedies to fill up their schedule — until 1997, when the network aired Austin Stories, about Austin Weekly reporter Laura, playboy Howard, and job-searcher Chip, and their exploits around Austin, TX. Laura House would go on to write episodes of Blue Collar TV and Mad Love, and she’s now a meditation teacher, while Howard Kremer, who goes by the stage name Dragon Boy Suede, has starred in a Comedy Central Presents special, written for Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time, and keeps up an Earwolf podcast called Who Charted? He also wrote the “Havin’ a Summah” Funny or Die sketch starring Zooey Deschanel. As for Brad “Chip” Pope: he’s penned episodes of The Goode Family (like Kremer) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, occasionally appears on Earwolf podcasts (like Kremer), and made it to the semi-finals of Last Comic Standing (like Urkel — I mean, unlike Kremer). Pope can also briefly be seen as a “Confused Freshman” in Clockstoppers.
Donal Logue, star of Jimmy the Cab Driver
Jimmy the Cab Driver was not an MTV show, but rather a character that appeared in a slew of MTV promos in the early 1990s. Jimmy was from Boston, naturally, and liked to discuss with his customers about how amazing MTV was. He was played by an unrecognizable Donal Logue, the star of Grounded for Life, which ran for 91 episodes over 5 seasons, and Terriers, one of the greatest one season shows of all-time. Logue can next be seen in Shark Night 3D and Gil Medina’s Vengeance.
Dave Sheridan, star of Buzzkill
Before there was Punk’d and The Tom Green Show and countless other prank-based shows on MTV, there was Buzzkill, which aired for only seven episodes in the spring of 1996. The show’s signature moment was when one of the cast members disguised himself as a fashion designer, and the likeness was so uncanny that they managed to fool a pre-insane Whitney Houston. Dave Sheridan both created and starred in the show, but to many, he’s best known as Doofy from Scary Movie or Doug from Ghost World. He’s also a member of the comedy metal band Van Stone and appeared in 2008’s Sex Drive.
Pauly Shore, star of Totally Pauly
I have in the past and will continue to defend Pauly Shore, the Weasel himself. Encino Man, where he played Stoney Brown, was just as stupid as it meant to be, and it’s hilarious because of it. Same with Bio-Dome and…well, I guess that’s about it, with the exception of A Goofy Movie. Totally Pauly was pretty much a show about Pauly Shore fucking around, but he’s grown, man. In 2003, Shore played himself in the mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead, in which he fakes his own death to save his career, and in 2010, he starred in Adopted, where he goes to Africa for the sole purpose of adopting babies, and Stonerville, as “Rod Hardbone.” He produces shorts for Funny or Die and continues to tour the country, performing stand-up. Plus, TONIGHT at 10 p.m. he has a comedy special on Showtime, called Vegas is My Oyster.
Randy and Jason Sklar, stars of Apartment 2F
Apartment 2F would have been a huge hit, had it been made in 2011. The show’s plot is basic enough — two guys move from St. Louis to New York, and stuff happens — but it boasted an impressive cast, including Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Thomas Lennon, and Michael Showalter, and its creators, Jason and Randy Sklar would later find fame as the hosts of ESPN Classic’s hilarious Cheap Seats, a MST3K-like show about sports. After the show went off the air in 2006, the identical brothers have appeared in everything from Childrens Hospital to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (as the DJs in “The Gang Dances Their Asses Off”). They also host a weekly Earwolf podcast called Sklarbro Country. Our very own Mike Schuster interviewed Jason for this very website in February.
Alex Winter, star of The Idiot Box
After the mega-success of The Lost Boys and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, MTV asked Alex Winter (who played Bill S. Preston, Esq.), along with Tim Burns and Tom Stern, to develop a show, The Idiot Box, which incorporated comedy skits in-between music videos. The Idiot Box was an immediate hit, but it only ran for six episodes, because Winter got a bunch of money from 20th Century Fox to make the feature-length spinoff film, Freaked. After a Bill & Ted sequel, he began directing commercials and music videos (like “Higher Ground” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and later produced and helmed Ben 10: Race Against Time. He is currently working on scripts for a Rock ‘n’ Roll High School remake (sans the Ramones, presumably) and a VH1 special about downloading.
Josh Kurp thinks AL-TV is the greatest thing MTV ever did