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In late 1971, I was in LA and decided to try to get in to see a TV show being filmed. The studio said there were none at the time, but they were looking for some folks to watch a preview of a sit-com and give their opinions, so I joined them. Turned out to be the first episode of The Don Rickles Show. There were 18 of us in a long, narrow room with a TV monitor at one end. We were addressed by number; I was "18". When it was over, the studio lady in charge asked each one individually what they thought. Everyone thought it was a good show. When she asked, "Number 18, what did you think?" I told her I didn't like it. She perked up at the thought of a different reaction, and she asked why. I said because it was supposed to be a comedy, but it wasn't funny at all.
The plot centered around a 50-year-old man (Rickles) who got a draft notice to report for military service. (Recall the draft had not been abolished yet.) Everywhere he turned for help he could get none. This is not funny. Situations are funny because they contain a small element of truth that has been exaggerated. (E.g., the Don Knots skit in line at a bank.) How many times can you call someone "a hockey puck" and still get laughs?
I waited and watched for this show to air, and when it did, it bombed. If the lady had listened to me instead of the other 17, the studio would have saved itself some money.
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