Posts tagged as fridays

Sketch Anatomy: Matt Besser on His Favorite Andy Kaufman Late Night Appearances

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite comedy writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

For this week's installment of Sketch Anatomy we spoke with Matt Besser, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade and host of the Earwolf podcast improv4humans who most recently appeared on Drunk History, The Birthday Boys, Comedy Bang! Bang! and the Adult Swim infomercial "In Search of Miracle Man." Besser chose to take a look back at some [...]

Larry David's Almost-Lost Sketches From ABC's SNL Competitor, Fridays

A decade before he started putting Seinfeld together, Larry David was hired as a writer/performer for the ABC live sketch comedy series Fridays, the network’s attempt to make an SNL clone. Fridays ran for three seasons and, for a short period, surpassed SNL in terms of popularity and quality, and David was no small part of the show’s success. Although Larry David is solely responsible for preventing Fridays from being released on DVD, devoted fans have uploaded several sketches online so that we can remember what the show was like.

For somebody who, for the most part, avoided acting for the next two decades, Larry David proves to [...]

Writer/Director Tom Kramer Talks 'Fridays', ABC's Early Attempt to Take on 'SNL'

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 [...]

Fridays: The SNL Ripoff That Nearly Surpassed the Original

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 [...]

Fun Thing to Buy of the Day: 'Fridays' Is Finally Out on DVD

Fridays, the first and strongest challenger to Saturday Night Live's weekend sketch comedy dominance, finally comes out on DVD this week. The show (which ran from 1980 to 1982) has taken on cult, if not legendary status, because it launched the careers of Michael Richards, Melanie Chartoff (Parker Lewis Can't Lose), and Larry David — who was allegedly the one cast holdout who prevented a proper DVD release much earlier. It's better than early-'80s SNL for sure, and certainly more experimental, what with appearances from Andy Kaufman and even semi-dramatic bits. A four-disc best-of set is definitely a good way to check out this long-lost piece of [...]