Friday, March 25, 2011

Saturtainment: The Weird Al Show (1997)

Song satirist par excellence "Weird" Al Yankovic gave Saturday mornings a try with The Weird Al Show for CBS in 1997. There were a few problems.

1. Yankovic hadn't had a hit on the pop charts in about 5 years.

2. The show aired during the blackout zone in CBS' lineup, where network affiliates would sub syndicated or local programming in order to earn some additional ad revenues for themselves. In my area, Weird Al aired on Sundays for this reason.

3. Saturday icon Dick Clark (ex-American Bandstand)'s production company produced the show, which actually was the kiss of death, because Clark had previously failed with the live-action/animated hybrid Wolf Rock TV with Wolfman Jack more than a decade earlier. If it wasn't connected to Bandstand, you see, it wasn't going anywhere.

And, so, The Weird Al Show was cancelled after just 1 season (the complete series is out on DVD). What CBS was hoping to do, I think, was recapture lightning in a bottle. Asking "Weird" Al Yankovic to do a sketch comedy show in the same vein as the classic Pee-Wee's Playhouse (1986-91) was one thing. Making it work was another thing altogether.

Kevn8907 uploaded the following clip, which includes a cameo appearance by former MTV VJ "Downtown" Julie Brown:

Nice idea, and it seemed like Al was picking up where he'd left off with the comedy bits from his late 80's feature film, "UHF". Too bad the network showed him no respect by giving him a bad time slot......

Rating: B-.

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