Friday, January 9, 2009

You Should Only Live Twice

It's been some time since my last "Fridays" posting. But that doesn't mean my devotion to this long-lost show has faded in any way. Far from it. If anything, it's gotten stranger, deeper, almost mystical. "Fridays" conveys meaning to me that cannot be explained by human communication. To fully appreciate this, you'd have to shrink yourself down to "Fantastic Voyage" size and enter my brain through the nasal cavity. Then you would understand -- that is, if you aren't sucked into my subconscious, a swirling vortex of fears and passions that would shatter your micro-mind, ruin your micro-jump suit, and render you micro-insane. Neither of us wants that.

This sketch doesn't seem all that dated, given recent events. It features MATZOI: Mobile Attack Trained Zionists Operation International. Larry David and Bruce Mahler play secret agent rabbis looking to smash GOYIM, headed by that week's host, Tab Hunter, whose latest film then was John Waters' "Polyester." The piece is a standard James Bond spoof, with Hunter overdoing it as the evil mastermind. I'm sure you'll recognize Mahler's rabbi from "Seinfeld," the only character spin-off from "Fridays" that I know of. Bruce Mahler was a versatile player on that show, appearing in a few "Police Academy" movies before quitting performing altogether. A truly undervalued talent.

Michael Richards, on the other hand . . . well, anyway, here's another of his Dick sketches, which were very popular. Richards did a lot of physical comedy on "Fridays," but Dick was easily his oddest character. Melanie Chartoff is somewhat wasted in this scene, but given how she looks, I don't think many viewers minded.

Here, Chartoff introduces a Tom Kramer film, which features Richards. Tom's written a showbiz memoir, parts of which he sent me. His description of what "Fridays" was like backstage didn't surprise me, but there were dark elements I hadn't anticipated. And to think that I wanted to write for that show. I was 21, Tom's age. Based on his stories, I would've been eaten alive. Tom more or less was. That he turned out so much material is a testament to his talent and endurance. Tom's back in the professional groove these days. He's a sweet, funny guy.

And for your musical pleasure, here's Rockpile on "Fridays," from December 19, 1980. Led by Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, Rockpile had a pop rockabilly sound, which at that time made a minor comeback (The Blasters and Stray Cats were closer to pure rockabilly). This song, "Teacher, Teacher," was featured on "Seconds of Pleasure," one of the best albums of 1980. Rockpile didn't last long, as Lowe and Edmunds went their separate ways. Here's what they sounded like before they split.