Fridays writing staff, 1981. (counter-clockwise from lower right) Tom Kramer, Rod Ash, Larry David, Steve Adams, Matt Neuman, Larry Charles, Steve Barker, Mark Curtis, Bruce Kirschbaum, Bruce Mahler, Joe Shulkin, Elaine Pope.
In 2007, a friend in LA connected me with Tom Kramer, director of the short films on Fridays, as well as the filmed commercial and TV parodies. At the time, bootlegged bits from Fridays appeared here and there, but nothing official was on offer. The show was largely forgotten, save for comedy freaks like me.
Tom consented to an interview and was generous with his memories. Tom was 20 when he was hired; Fridays served as his early showbiz education. He moved on [...]
In 1979, ABC ordered an SNL show of its own. No variation; a straight copy. Same live format. Same type of cast. Musical guests. Fake news. Like Lorne Michaels before them, producers John Moffitt and Bill Lee scoured clubs and improv groups for talent. (Moffitt wasn't new to the process: he'd been Lorne's first choice in 1975 to direct SNL, which Moffitt turned down.) On April 11, 1980, Moffitt and Lee unveiled their LA version: Fridays. Even the name was abbreviated theft.
Fridays faced numerous obstacles. Most of SNL's original cast was still on the air, prompting negative comparisons. Critics were unkind, to the degree they gave Fridays any [...]