Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sketch Comedies: A TVCU Quickie



What's a quickie?  See this blog.

So, sketch comedies are bit tricky.  However, it can be simplified if we consider each segment of a show individually rather the the entire show as a whole.

When talking about sketch comedy, I'm referring to a variety of programs with comedy sketch segments.  This not only includes your Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, but also talks shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno.

When it comes to comedy sketches, in regards to the TVCU, they fall into three categories.  One is a stand alone sketch with no recurring characters.  No recurring characters means no crossover.  I don't even have to consider it at all.  It's not in the TVCU.

The second is when the sketches portray only real people in a parody.  Since the characteristics of those celebrities and politicians are so exaggerated (and since different sketch comedy shows will tend to portray the same figures in different ways), they couldn't possibly take place in the TVCU, and thus, are out.

Both the first and the second category could be placed in Skitlandia, a term developed by Toby O'Brien, which I believe may exist in the Looniverse on the other side of the Live Action Forest (from Drawn Together).  However, there's not evidence to support that, so its simply a theory to help those who need to place everything somewhere (like me.)

The final category has two sub-categories.  Every one of them starts in one, but some make it into the other.

I'm referring to sketches with original recurring characters.  Some recurring characters just appear in a number of sketches.  Some may even branch off into sketches on other shows, commercials, tv shows, or films.  But so long as they don't cross with other characters from another sketch or series, they remain in their own self contained reality.

Some sketch characters become popular enough to get a crossover.  And then those sketches become part of a larger shared reality.

Come join the discussion about sketch comedy or other TVCU related topics here.




Here's a bit about Skitlandia from Inner Toob.

TVCU Mini-Chron:

1969--SESAME STREET PITCH REEL--This is kind of the pilot for that reality show called Sesame Street.  Kermit hosted the Sesame Street News.  I suppose he was to Sesame Street what Chevy Chase was to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  Well, except that Kermit was  serious news man.

1975 to 1976--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--Little known fact.  The first season of Saturday Night Live featured the Muppets as regulars, thus SNL Season 1 could be considered Muppet Show season 0.


1975–1976


SNL WEEKEND UPDATE--SNL Weekend Update is in.  Here is a list of all the Weekeend Update recurring characters.   


  • Of those listed, note that Father Guido Sarducci is in the TVCU through appearances on other shows and movies.  One example is Casper, which also featured Ray Stanz of the Ghostbusters.  His connection to Weekend Update brings Weekend Update into the TVCU, and all the other characters.  
  • Nathan Thurm is another example.  Thurm has been on SCTV (which brings that whole show in, since the concept of that show is that the sketches are all interconnected), and the Earth Day Special.  (See my Bugs Bunny blog for more on that.)  Some of these characters also end up having their own sketches, and those bits should also be part of the TVCU.  
  • Note that Jan Brady is one of these recurring characters.  This should be considered the present day incarnation of the original Jan Brady.
THE MR. BILL SHOW--Because Chevy Chase as himself hosting the show ran into (or rather stepped on) a talking Mr. Bill, Mr. Bill is in the TVCU, but not as a real person, but rather as a talking clay figure.

1976 to 1981--MUPPET SHOW--The muppets put on a variety show.  As I've stated in my SESAME STREET blog, these aren't puppets in the TVCU.  They are real mutant anthropomorphic animals, monsters, and weirdos.  The name Muppet is like calling the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members Not Ready for Prime-Time Players.  Every week featured a celebrity guest host, and I'm not going to list them all.  It should be noted each of those guest stars are the TVCU counterparts of celebrities from our real 


1977–1978


BLUES BROTHERS--The Blues Brothers are in the TVCU.  Their canon includes two movies and the SNL sketches.  (Also some appearances on talk shows and award shows, and some live concerts.)

FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI--Besides his appearances on SNL, he has appeared on GILDA LIVE, BECOME AN ARTIST, SQUARE PEGS, ON LOCATION:  THE COMEDY STORE'S 11TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, JOAN RIVERS AND FRIENDS SALUTE HEIDI ABROMOWITZ, FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI GOES TO COLLEGE, NOT NECCESSARILY THE NEWS, IT'S GARRY SHANDLING'S SHOW, GREAT PERFORMANCES, TALES OF THE CITY, BLOSSOM, THE GORDON ELLIOT SHOW, CASPER, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, HO HO NOOOOOOO!!!! IT'S MR. BILL'S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER, MAKING TUTTI, SIN CITY SPECTACULAR, THE COLBERT REPORT, and THE RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY AND/OR FEAR.

1979 to 1988--SEINFELD--Buzsla and Ollu are living in separate apartments in the same building in New York City.  Buzsla has taken the name of Cosmo Kramer, and Ollu is now Newman.  While Kramer becomes good friends with comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Newman can't stand him.  In the final episode, Jerry Seinfeld, George (really Larry David), Elaine, and Kramer are on their way to Hollywood when NBC wants to make a show based on the four of them, called Jerry.  But circumstances wind them up in jail with a 10 year sentence.  Fortunately, they get out after just a few months, thanks to NBC execs.  The show does get picked up, but the name is changed to the Seinfeld Chronicles for the pilot, then simply Seinfeld for the series.  The show airs from 1989 to 1998.  This isn't the first time the the events of Ollu and Buzsla's lives have been turned into a show or movie, but in the modern age of media, this show is a deciding factor for the duo to permanently move to the Looniverse.  I don't believe the actors look like the characters. For instance, note that the events of Seinfeld occur during the time when Jerry Seinfeld was just an up and coming comic, and the events of the show end just as the show "Seinfeld" was starting to air on NBC. I should have mentioned that the original "Jerry" cast got replaced by the guy from Airheads, the guy from Pretty Woman, and that girl who was on Saturday Night Live. The fact is that the events we see on TV are accurate (except when Dennis says they aren't, in this exception to the rule I make here), but the actors don't look like the characters, but they do resemble them very closely. Thus notice how closely those characters all look alike.

1982--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--"Blythe Danner/Rickie Lee Jones"--GUMBY references Josie and the Pussycats as being real in his reality, thus bringing in both the original Gumby and Eddie Murphy's Gumby into the Looniverse, a reality often visited by the Pussycats. Gumby often visited the TVCU during his later years.

August 1982--Massarati and the Brain--From Gordon Long:  Very good! Wish I had been a fan of these shows during their heyday (other than The A-Team and The Dukes of Hazzard). The Streethawk connection is a good catch, and that Katherine Reece/Melanie Ryan/Adrienne Margeaux/Bianca Morgan/___ St. Clair are all the same person is inspired. There's another role that could have been her, played by the same actress. In Massarati and the Brain, a failed pilot, she plays one person who is masquerading as someone else. The idea of the series was that 'Mas' Massarati is a rich adventurer-for-hire who uses lots of electronic gadgets to do his work. The gadgets are built by his 12-year-old nephew, Christopher 'The Brain' Massarati (played by Peter Billingsley, Ralphie from A Christmas Story). They have a butler named Anatole played by Christopher Hewitt (Lawrence on Fantasy Island, and of course Mr. Belvedere) and are friends with a sexy spy leader played by Markie Post (Night Court). In this story, Mas and The Brain are trying to steal back an art collection from a neo-Nazi played by Christopher Lee. The actress plays Wilma Hines, who masquerades as Diana Meredith. You'll notice there's another character with a last name starting with M. (IMDB says it as a treasure of rare coins and the kid is 10, http://www.ovguide.com/movies_tv/massarati_and_the_brain.htm# gives the info I gave above).  I have to admit I haven't seen Massarati and the Brain, just going from IMDB. But I do think it is interesting that Anatole and Lawrence didn't have other names, so one wonders if those two could be the same character. And prior to this, Hewett had a role as an unnamed butler in a 1979 ABC Afterschool Special. Robbie Rist is a spoiled rich kid whose tv suddenly shows 'Aunt Thelma' (played by the legendary Butterfly McQueen), a fairy godmothe/genier type who is going to teach him a lesson by giving him 7 wishes in order to impress a girl (played by Cynthia Nixon, most famous for her role on Sex and the City). The Seven Wishes Sweepstakes... I checked with my wife Kim, the world's foremost Fantasy Island fan, and Lawrence was never given another name (either first or last). So it is possible that Lawrence, Anatole, and the unnamed butler character are all conflatable as the same person, but I would really need to see both Massarati and the Brain as well as Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid to know for certain. Neither have been released to DVD yet.Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid was a sequel to an ABC Weekend Special, The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody, which aired the previous year. It also had Butterfly McQueen as Aunt Thelma and another adult played by Garrett Morris from Saturday Night Live. One IMDB reviewer thought it would have made an excellent Twilight Zone episode, high praise indeed! Apparently it was based on a book by Genevieve Gray. That episode HAS been released on dvd and is available at the Phoenix Learning Group, Inc., whose page states that it was part of the National Educational Film Festival. I have not, however, found any info about the book online.


1984–1985


NATHAN THURM--is in the TVCU.  He has appeared on SNL and some Martin Short specials, but what brings him in is his appearance in the Earth Day Special.


1985–1986


MESTISTOPHOLES--The version played by Jon Lovitz is not the devil of the TVCU, but he is one of his agents.  He has appeared on SNL and on the Daily Show.

October 31, 1987--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--Elvira appears on Weekend Update.


1988–1989


WAYNE'S WORLD--I've chosen to place it into the TVCU.  I believe the Terminator that ran into Wayne on the highway between Chicago and Milwaukee was later stepped on and destroyed by the T-Rex in the park, thus causing a second one to arrive, this time landing more accurately in L.A.  So that means the SNL sketches and both movies are in.  Also they made an appearance at the Oscars, if I recall correctly.

April 1990--THE EARTH DAY SPECIAL--This is crossover gold, and most people don't remember it.  Appearances by the muppets, MURPHY BROWN, BUGS BUNNY (from the Looniverse), PORKY PIG (from the Looniverse), TWEETY (from the Looniverse), Will Smith (THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIRE), DOOGIE HOWSER M.D., Kid 'n' Play (HOUSE PARTY), Dr. Emmett Brown (BACK TO THE FUTURE), MOTHER NATURE, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Weekend Update anchor Dennis Miller, Elon Spengler (brother of Egon Spengler of the GHOSTBUSTERS), Nathan Thurm (SCTV/SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), the people of CHEERS, the Huxtables (COSBY SHOW), THE GOLDEN GIRLS, E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, the cast of THE DATING GAME, the cast of JEOPARDY, Doctor SteVen Kiley (MARCUS WELBY, M.D.) and the Bundys (MARRIED WITH CHILDREN).  All these characters, plus other celebrities, appearing as themselves or one time characters are all part of the same story, thus sharing the same reality.  Basically, the Earth is doomed, unless we can save the environment.  This is a global crisis, and just like a DC Comics Crisis event, all these different characters are affected by the same crisis.  Loved it then, and I found it on youtube.  Enjoy.  Oh, and if you catch any crossovers I missed while watching, please let me 


1993–1994


OFFICE SPACE--A bunch of SNL cartoons and a movie are brought into the TVCU.

February 11, 1995--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--"Bob Newhart/Des'ree"--Dr. Hartley dreams that he was Bob Newhart hosting Saturday Night Live, including what may have been a real life event turned into a sketch of Dr. Hartley being a guest on the RICKI LAKE SHOW.

1995--CASPER--TELEVISION CROSSOVER UNIVERSE--A father and daughter move into a house haunted by Casper and the Ghostly Trio.  Though this film could fit into a shared reality with the cartoons, the later sequels contradict the prior canon.  The crossovers in this film regardless place this in the TVCU, as both Ray Stanz of the GHOSTBUSTERS and Father Guido Sarducci from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE try to rid the house of the ghosts, but fail.  FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI--Besides his appearances on SNL, he has appeared on GILDA LIVE, BECOME AN ARTIST, SQUARE PEGS, ON LOCATION:  THE COMEDY STORE'S 11TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, JOAN RIVERS AND FRIENDS SALUTE HEIDI ABROMOWITZ, FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI GOES TO COLLEGE, NOT NECCESSARILY THE NEWS, IT'S GARRY SHANDLING'S SHOW, GREAT PERFORMANCES, TALES OF THE CITY, BLOSSOM, THE GORDON ELLIOT SHOW, CASPER, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, HO HO NOOOOOOO!!!! IT'S MR. BILL'S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER, MAKING TUTTI, SIN CITY SPECTACULAR, THE COLBERT REPORT, and THE RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY AND/OR FEAR.  In this film, we see what Casper looked like when he was alive, and that his last name was McFadden.  Casper seems to have died of pneumonia.  This conflicts with the animated studios and Harvey Comics, in which Casper and his fellow ghosts are born ghosts.  Their parents are ghosts.  They were never human.  Ghost is their species, just as with goblins, trolls, leprechauns or other supernatural species.



October 1995--MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN--"Requiem for a Dead Briard"--Buck the Dog dies and goes to Animal Heaven which turns into Hell as he is judged by a cat.  Al hires Father Guido Sarducci to perform a seance, which gets Buck reincarnated into a new dog, specifically the Bundys' new dog, Lucky.  Father Guido Sarducci was a recurring character on Saturday Night Live.  Besides his appearances on SNL, he has appeared on GILDA LIVE, BECOME AN ARTIST, SQUARE PEGS, ON LOCATION:  THE COMEDY STORE'S 11TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, JOAN RIVERS AND FRIENDS SALUTE HEIDI ABROMOWITZ, FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI GOES TO COLLEGE, NOT NECCESSARILY THE NEWS, IT'S GARRY SHANDLING'S SHOW, GREAT PERFORMANCES, TALES OF THE CITY, BLOSSOM, THE GORDON ELLIOT SHOW, CASPER, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, HO HO NOOOOOOO!!!! IT'S MR. BILL'S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER, MAKING TUTTI, SIN CITY SPECTACULAR, THE COLBERT REPORT, and THE RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY AND/OR FEAR.

March 1996 to February 1998--MUPPETS TONIGHT--Kermit takes over as executive producer for a new generation of Muppets.  One episode has an appearance by Ed Grimley, a fictional character played by Martin Short on Saturday Night Live, SCTV, The Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, Martin Short Concert of the of the North Americas, Comic Relief, I Martin Short Goes Hollywood, and The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show.

2004--LOST--"Walkabout"--In a flashback, John Locke is harassed about a TPS report.  Other companies were also starting to implement the use of the TPS report, as seen in OFFICE SPACE.  Office Space is a spin-off of the MILTON shorts from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

December 18, 2004--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--The muppets make a cameo appearance.


2006–2007


MACGRUBER--This is in the TVCU.  MacGruber has been the star of many SNL sketches, some commercials, a movie, and is son of MacGyver.  

November 19, 2011--SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE--Jason Segel hosts and brings his Muppet friends on as well, where they point out to him that they were regular cast seasons during the show's first season.  Also, on Weekend Update, Kermit explains to Seth Meyer that he is a Muppet, not a puppet. When asked what the difference was, Kermit explained "Puppets are controlled with strings by a person, whereas I am a real talking frog." TVCU theory now confirmed as fact.  And note that even though this is the case, Seth, like the majority of the world, assumed they were puppets, which helps maintain the "normalcy" of the world outside our window view of the TVCU.  Weekend Update, incidentally, has been established as being part of the TVCU, rather than Skitlandia, especially with many TVCU characters appearing on the segment over the years in character.  

TVCU CREW REVIEW

Here are some of the more recent posts regarding sketch comedy in the TVCU discussion forum.

In an older SNL sketch from SNL that can be seen on the best of jimmy Fallon, where Fallon and Ben aflect play radio dj's. on the radio, Fallon says that he and the other DJ started off in college "at Rutgers, er, Miskatonic". I guess perhaps if you were a DJ at Miskatonic you might want to lie about where you went to school.

Normally Mad sketches don't count as canon, but considering that Mad is a property of Cartoon Network, and the characters are all voiced by the original actors and drawn in their original style, I want to count this. Even if it's a dream. Note that Alfred E. Newman has also appeared on the Simpsons.




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Bonus.  Horror Crossover Universe!

Actually, there's only one real sketch comedy link to the Horror Crossover Universe, which I haven't written up yet.  And that's Father Guido Sarducci's appearance in Casper, which is crossover with Ghostbusters, thus getting in.  

Since Father Guido Sarducci is not a horror series character, the link does not bring in any other of his appearances.  Only his appearance in Casper is valid for the TVCU, and perhaps other stand-alone sketches of the character that did not involve other series or the SNL Weekend Update.


So that's all for now.  Until my next post, have a good one.

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