Friday, April 10, 2020

Fridays

Fridays is the name of ABC's weekly late-night live comedy show, which aired on Friday nights from April 11, 1980 to April 23, 1982.

The program was ABC's attempt to duplicate the success of NBC's Saturday Night Live, which, at the time, was in its fifth and final season featuring the original "Not Ready for Primetime" cast, along with several writers (and SNL band leader at the time, Paul Shaffer) who had been promoted to feature player status, as well as newcomer Harry Shearer. Like SNL, Fridays featured popular musical guests and, beginning in the second season, celebrity guest hosts (some of which appeared on SNL before and after Fridays aired, such as Andy Kaufman, Billy Crystal, William Shatner, Mark Hamill, and George Carlin).

The show featured many recurring characters and sketches, short films, and a parody news segment called Friday Edition, with Melanie Chartoff as the anchor (later joined by Rich Hall in seasons two and three). Veteran comedian Jack Burns served as show announcer and made on-screen appearances on the show. Initially, the show was compared unfavorably to Saturday Night Live as a weak clone that resorted to shock humor for laughs. The third episode (original airdate: April 25, 1980) was the last episode to air on some affiliates due to objectionable content concerning zombie gore and cannibalism ("Diner of the Living Dead"), disgusting habits ("Women Who Spit"), and blasphemous humor ("The Inflatable Nun").

When Saturday Night Live's sixth season was met with negative reviews and low ratings over the new cast, new writers, and new showrunner Jean Doumanian, critics who once panned Fridays praised it, citing the show as being sharper, edgier and funnier than Saturday Night Live at the time. Some critics attributed this to the sprawling, ambitious, and often pointed sociopolitical and situational sketches.

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