Friday, October 5, 2007

Fridays Sound With Rasta

In order to solidify my role as Aging Culture Nag, here are some musical performances from "Fridays," each set introduced by the great, under-appreciated comedy pro Jack Burns, then associate producer and head writer on the show.

The first, from October 17, 1980, features Split Enz, a New Zealand pop band that was lumped with other pop bands that were supposedly "new wave" -- like Squeeze, for instance, who played this type of music better than the Enz. Still, this is a catchy tune, and I dig the 50s rockabilly suits.

Next, Pat Benatar, from December 5, 1980. I've never been crazy for Benatar's sound, but she reminds me of an old girlfriend in New York, so that must count for something. Here her band righteously rips through their two numbers, and I love watching musicians play like they seriously mean it. Maybe you do, too.

Finally, Devo, from November 7, 1980. "Fridays" was a natural for the spud boys, given their theater of the absurd, and they appeared on the show several times. Here they perform "Whip It," which was then their newest release. But their second song, "Uncontrollable Urge," one of my fave Devo cuts ever, really kicks ass.

And what "Fridays" posting would be complete without a drug sketch? Darrow Igus' Rasta chef, Nat E. Dred, was an instant audience favorite, for obvious reasons. It certainly was the only real recurring character Igus had on the show, which owed a lot, I'm sure, to the fact that Igus was the lone African-American in the cast and among the writers. But Igus also struggled in sketches, at times walking on other actors' lines when not fumbling his delivery. This didn't happen a lot, but looking back on the show, it happened more than it probably should have. Maybe he was nervous (live TV), maybe he hated the material -- who knows. But Igus was smooth as Nat E. Dred, and the audience loved him.

(There's a minor pause at the start, but then it kicks in. Bootlegs -- what are you gonna do?)