I have very fond memories of this syndicated show from the mid 1980s. Mack and Jamie, the hosts, were long-time comedy club veterans who (unlike some stand-ups) made the transition to sketch comedy very readily. Their supporting cast, the underrated Jan Hooks and the phenomenal Kevin Pollack, were equally good. The writing was consistently clever, a cut above the usual sketch comedy production-line crap. I still use a line I remember from the show, Jan Hooks answering the phone: "American Paranoia Institute--how did you get this number?" There was another sketch in which one of the characters spoke only in in reduplications: "so-so," "there, there," "hear! hear!," "my, my," &c.
Every episode featured a guest star, and Mack and Jamie were able to attract some fairly big names. Most were television stars of the time, such as John Hillerman (Magnum PI) and Katherine Helmond (Soap). In one sketch, Hillerman played a "Texas-British translator." At the time, he was widely known for being Higgins, an English character, on Magnum, and because he was so good everyone thought he was actually English. What few in the audience realised was that Hillerman was a good-ol' Texas boy and it was Englsih accent that was the fake. This ability to take advantage of the lesser-known talents of the guest stars is what set the writing of this show apart, I think.
Other guests included stand-ups and improv comics, such as the campy Buzz Belmondo (Lorenzo Matawaran).
I regret that the show is not more widely remembered today. Part of the trouble was that it was syndicated, so ended up in some pretty awful timeslots (I caught it after work at 2 am in south Texas) and probably didn't reach every market. No doubt that's why it has never been released on DVD. But if it ever was, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.
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