Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lion Tamer Torpor

Slowly, steadily, pieces from the forgotten series "Fridays" continue to emerge online. The likelihood that an official, restored DVD box set will ever be assembled and released is very slim, according to my contacts in LA who know about these things, so for now, whatever bobs up on YouTube is all we're gonna get. There's a chance that I might help with a project about the show, but again, that's a long shot. We'll see.

The first bit features Larry David's recurring character Solly Mullins, an obnoxious temp who shows up for jobs that he's clearly unsuited to perform. Here, he fills in for John Lennon at a Beatles reunion concert. This sketch ran a few months before Lennon was killed in 1980, and I don't know if it ever re-aired after that. I seriously doubt it.

David's abusive, delusional id is on early display here, and his comedy style is evident in this raw form. Friend, collaborator and fellow "Fridays" vet Larry Charles has said that David trusts his comic instincts completely, and once he's settled on a bit, there's no second guessing it. That's certainly true in the sketch below. I can't recall a character on any comedy show that was this extreme and unlikable, and David's commitment to it is complete. David was way ahead of the comedy curve with Solly Mullins, so much so that his performance back then seemed like it was from another world altogether.

And here again are the drugged-out Three Stooges, this time working as janitors in a new wave rock studio. While not the best "Fridays" had to offer, David, Bruce Mahler, and John Roarke clearly had fun with it, and the audience loved them. Sometimes, that's enough.