I Was Just, Uh, Testing It

When I mentioned ABC’s Fridays yesterday, I started wondering if I was unfair in calling the show a Saturday Night Live ripoff. Then I realized I wasn’t unfair– it was a ripoff.
That doesn’t mean the show was entirely bad, though, and after researching a little a whole bunch of memories came back about it.
The first of two things I remember were Michael Richards’s (Seinfeld’s Kramer) pharmacist character, who was always testing the stuff behind the counter. Yeah, it was cheap drug humor, but you can see where he got that jerky motion that later became Kramer. The second was the incident where Andy Kaufman interrupted a sketch in the middle and started a fight with Richards. (This was featured in the movie Man on the Moon. And there’s your REM reference, LJD.) The first was something I could see SNL doing, but I don’t think they were edgy enough in those days to pull a stunt like the second one. (And it was a stunt.)
Fridays also had a “Weekend Update” type of “news” bit featuring Melanie Chartoff (now a voiceover artist on “Rugrats”) which never came close to Chevy Chase or Dan Aykroyd/Bill Murray/Jane Curtin– but then again, Chartoff was up against Charles Rocket at SNL (and if you say, “Who?” you’re not alone– he later played the dad in the movie Hocus Pocus. And he got fired for giving the SNL audience the finger).
And I just noticed (thanks to IMDB) that Larry David was a cast member. I don’t really remember him on the show, though.
And a final memory was seeing New Zealand new wavers Split Enz performing “I Got You” and “I Hope I Never” on the show in the fall of ’81.
So there you go, Fridays: I hereby withdraw the short shrift.