The comedy/variety show “Fridays,” broadcast live, was both a clone (at first) and a competition to Saturday Night Live. It ran for the three seasons from April 1980 to April 1982.
Two breakouts from the cast were Larry David and Michael Richard. Others, famous for a little while, were Mark Blankfield, Melanie Chartoff, Rich Hall, and Brandis Kemp. Jack Burns (sometime comedy partner with Avery Schriber) was the announcer and sometimes performer.
So, why do we not see “Fridays” episodes replayed and marketed like those of SNL? Two words: “Drug Humor.” Lots and lots of drug humor. Especially amusing was Mark Blankfield’s perpetually stoned pharmacist (“I can handle this”). (More after the video)
I was lucky enough to be watching the night of February 20, 1982 with Andy Kaufman guest hosting. This is the (in)famous episode where Kaufman refuses to finish a sketch causing a fight to break out between Andy and Jack Burns as everybody rushes on stage to break it up. It ends in a sudden cut to commercial. The next week, on February 27, Kaufman came on to explain and apologize which turned into yet another of his patented performance art pieces. Here are the fight from the 20th and the follow up the next week:
I don't think you fully understand, Mr. Bigelow. You've been murdered.