Monday, December 27, 2010

"Almost Live!" Seattle's one time premiere comedy show

"Almost Live! was a local sketch comedy television show in Seattle, Washington, USA, produced and broadcast by NBC affiliate KING-TV from 1984 to 1999. A re-packaged version of the show also aired on Comedy Central from 1992 to 1993, and episodes aired on WGRZ-TV in the late 1990s. The show was broadcast on Saturday nights at 11:30, pushing Saturday Night Live back to midnight. The show used to be aired in reruns by the Seattle NBC affiliate following Saturday Night Live." - Wikipedia

Original format

"Almost Live! began as a weekly half-hour talk and comedy sketch show created by then VP of Programming Bob Jones, and hosted by Ross Shafer and closely patterned after Late Night with David Letterman, airing at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. From the beginning, It featured many spoofs and satires of local television, series such as Star Trek, and unique locales in the city such as Ballard and Green Lake. The show became so popular that it was expanded from a half hour to one hour and shown twice a week. After four years and nearly 40 local Emmy Awards and several national awards, Shafer left to host the Fox Network's The Late Show." - Wikipedia

Ross went on to try to become the "Big Star" everyone expected him to become, except that, it never happened. John Keister took over as host of the show and it then switched into a full comedy, sketch and video clip show. Some of the favorite parts of the show were, "The John Report", not unlike SNL's "Weekend Update"; The Lame Report featuring members of local Rock community; Bill Nye's science segment; "Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan", a parody of Bruce Lee's martial arts films; and many others. I always looked forward to the Lame Report; I don't know why, sometimes they were just really funny.
John Keister and a change in format

"John Keister became the permanent replacement after Shafer left the program. Until that time, Keister was a regular supporting performer. Many of the initial award winning elements of Almost Live were his efforts, so the program quickly changed formats to feature more of his abilities, as well as other cast members, at video sketches. The guest interviews and live band segments were dropped. The focus changed to the sketch comedy and the show was shaved back to a half-hour format." - Wikipedia

One day years ago, I was sitting at Harry's bar on lower Queen Anne years ago, about 1987 or so, and trying to talk to my son's soon to be mother and my future ex wife. It was getting hard to talk to her because at the booth behind me, were two guys that were just annoying the hell out of me. Specifically, one of them were really annoying. I finally told my guest, "That guy is really annoying me." She started laughing and said, "Don't you know who that is?" I said, know, I snuck a quick glance and didn't recognize him. She said, "That's John Keister, from Almost Live", a show we both liked a lot.

I guess I was irritable or something (to be fair, John was being unusually obnoxious) and so I told her, "If that guy doesn't shut up soon, I'm going to take that serving tray from the waitress and smack him with it." She laughed and said, "Yeah, he can be pretty obnoxious sometimes, but he is pretty funny." Luckily, he toned it down and we left shortly thereafter. It wasn't until the next time I saw the show that she pointed out who he was and I realized, I might have messed up one of their episodes and yes, I would have felt bad about it.

One of the cast was a young(er) Joel McHale, now on the hit sitcom, Community, and also still hosting The Soup, which replays hilarious scenes from the past week of TV, was once also a part of the cast of Almost Live!, a local sketch-comedy TV show produced by Seattle's KING-TV (Channel 5).

"Bill Nye the Science Guy". Ross Shafer is credited as the creator of Bill Nye the Science Guy, encouraging Boeing aircraft engineer Bill Nye to demonstrate science experiments on the show. Nye later turned it into the Bill Nye the Science Guy show on PBS.
 These are the recognizable greats to come from that show. Its pretty entertaining and as I noticed this weekend in watching an episode, is a little piece of history, especially Pacific NorthWest history. If you ever get a chance to watch it, just remember, some shows were great, some shows, not so great, but don't let one bad one ruin it for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment