THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 147

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 147

..When it seemed like he wouldn’t let her go, his European Police Siren ringtone lets the whole area know that he has an incoming call. Upon seeing the I.D….

“Thank you and good day.”

Francine backs away from the podium, turning toward a stage left exit, when a cry comes out from the crowd, “Miss Bouchette!!! Is it true that you left KHST in Houston in violation of your “sweetheart” contract?” He must be a friend of her former fiancée.

Nowheresville USA from Kasey Musgraves

This voice is antithetical to the previous 30 queries, antagonistic, from the middle of the mulling transcriptional troubadours. She was going to ignore the provocation and continue on, but chooses not to retreat from the cowardly question asked when the lights have been doused and attentions have shifted… by someone she recognizes.

“If I am not mistaken Mr. Loyd, with one L, weren’t you under contract when you left Nowheresville, Arkansas for the greener pastures of the Dallas market six years ago?”

The man’s self-righteous grin is inverted to a frown as he slithers toward the door, while other reporters in the know inherit his smile. Pockets of applause erupt from those remaining to witness Francine’s rapier wit.

In the wings, Roy exhibits delight for Francine, fully aware of the awkward position he has asked of her. She is more relieved than pleased, but accepts his warm embrace.

Image result for police siren gifWhen it seemed like he wouldn’t let her go, his European Police Siren ringtone lets the whole area know that he has an incoming call. Upon seeing the I.D., “You’ll want to take a seat for this one.”

He makes the caller {the President} wait five rings and clears his throat, preparing for a preemptive strike lobbed all the way from the Hawkeye State, “Your Press Secretary delivered a real snow-job at that presser, which was nothing more than an advertisement for funding of a second space colony, Director Crippen. I think they would be more interested in the incompetent handling of the New Mayflower Incident!”, Pedro “Pete” Sanchez blusters in his best  back-seat bravado!

“Mr. President Sir, we are talking about a clear matter of self-defense and protecting the World Space Consortium’s investments from the jealous actions of rogue nations.”

Francine could not possibly guess what Roy is about to tell the leader of the free world, of all people.


Episode 147

page 181

Contents TRT

SNL Debut – Live from NYC via WIF

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Saturday Night Live Debuts

from contributor Major Dan


October 1975

From the Archives…

On October 11, 1975, television audiences in the United States experienced one of those magic moments when an icon was born, as the comedy skit show,Saturday Night Live (SNL) debuted with George Carlin as host.


Flipping through the channels

Carlin, one of history’s great comedians, and originator of “Seven words you can never say on television,” died in 2008 at age 71 of heart failure.

His guests on that epic night included singer Janis Ian, singer Billy Preston, and comedian/actor Andy Kaufman.  Kaufman went on to make a total of 16 SNL appearances, but tragically died in 1984 at age 35 of lung cancer and kidney failure.  Preston died in 2006.  At least Janis Ian is still alive, now 64 years old.

The original cast in that inaugural season included Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, John Belushi (died 1982, age 33), Dan Aykroyd, Gerret Morris, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner (died 1989, age 42), George Coe (died 2015), and Michael O’Donoghue (died 1994, age 54,he spoke the very first lines of the show).

Unfortunately, other cast members have died too soon, notably John Candy (1994, age 43), and Chris Farley (1997, age 33), Danitra Vance (1994, age 40), Phil Hartman (1998, age 49), Charles Rocket (2005, age 56), Tom Davis (2005, age 59), jan Hooks (2014, age 57).

On the brighter side, this iconic show has earned a record 156 Emmy nominations, winning 36 times, and has received 3 Writer’s Guild Awards and 2 Peabody Awards.  Characters and skits from the show have gone on to fame in movies, such as the Wayne’s World series, Coneheads, Stuart Save His Family,Superstar, It’s PatA Night at the Roxbury,  and The Ladies Man.  Do not forget 1980’s hit movie, Blues Brothers  that started the successful movie spin-offs.  So many comedian/actors got their first big time national exposure on the show there are too many to list.  (A few could include Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy,  Billy Crystal, Jim Belushi, Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Tim Meadows, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Martin Short  and many, many others.)  Writer and actor Al Franken turned his fame into a seat in the US Senate, while writer Conan O’Brien ended up on late night talk television (even hosting The Tonight Show for a while).

Comedian Steve Martin has hosted the show 15 times, right behind actor Alec Baldwin at 16.  The only other hosts in double digits are Buck Henry with 10 and John Goodman with 13.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Happy Fun Ball.

What are your favorite skits and cast members?  Favorite host/hostess?

SNL Debut


– Live from NYC via WIF

Sketch Comedy HOF – WIF TV

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Sketch Comedy TV Shows

Sketch comedy, however, (if it’s good) appeals to the comedy connoisseur. They’re for audiences who like their comedy served up a little rawer and with a little more mustard. Sitcoms are fine for a Tuesday when you feel like eating some meatloaf and going to bed early. Sketch comedy is comedy for Friday night, when you feel like going out and trying something different and elaborate. Something that someone created with sweat and tears. Something great. A sketch comedy show is where comedy reaches its peak. And these are the Ten Best Sketch Comedy shows that ever appeared on TV.

10. Human Giant

The difference between good sketch comedy and great sketch comedy often lies in a troupe’s ability to connect to whatever particular zeitgeist they find themselves in: Monty Python could only have ever happened in the late 60s in England and The Kids in The Hall were a product of Toronto in the late 80s. Of course, they have to transcend those limits to be great, but they also have to be a reflection of their times. Human Giant achieved this in the 2000s. Appearing on MTV (really the perfect place for them), Aziz Ansari, Rob Hubel, and Paul Scheer were the kings of the burgeoningInternet comedy trend. Basically a couple of guys get a camera and some editing software and shoot a funny video. Like other Internet groups, they were fresh, charmingly low-fi, and full of energy. Unlike most other Interent groups, they were really good. With their seemingly endless collection of self-important goofballs and witlessly confident jackasses, they gently skewered pop culture like exceptionally talented class clowns who managed to bluff their way on to a major network. They only made two seasons of Human Giant(Aziz Ansari is too busy conquering the world to make any more), but those two seasons were amazing. And very, very funny.

9. A Bit Of Fry And Laurie

Though it aired only briefly in the U.S. and its two stars are better known today as a prolific Twitterer (Stephen Fry) and a cantankerously brilliant TV doctor (Hugh Laurie), A Bit of Fry and Laurie deserves a place on any list of the greatest sketch comedy shows of all time. A brainy mix of sophisticated verbal jokes and sublime silliness, the show took a cerebral yet hilarious tour of the England of the middle 90s. With ridiculous character after ridiculous character, Fry and Laurie poked and mocked the country and its people with grace, élan, and the kind of charm that can only come with years and years of elite education. Both graduates of Cambridge, their humor was razor sharp and full of references to everything from classic works of literature to two-bit TV show hosts. The resulting comedy stew was a totally original blend of high and low culture, none of it safe from the piercing, but never bitter satireof the pair. The entire series was released on DVD’ also, several of the better sketches can be found on YouTube and definitely deserve to be checked out.

8. The Kids In The Hall

Despite initial comparisons to Monty Python (mostly because both groups spent just as much time in women’s clothes as they did in men’s), The Kids in the Hall quickly established themselves as one of the most original sketch comedy groups in history. While the more popular Saturday Night Live was leaning more and more heavily on running recurring characters as far into the ground as they could,The Kids in the Hall were creating masterful character based comedy firmly grounded in the everyday lives of normal people. Sure, they had their share of outlandish characters and catchphrases, but they were always planted in the most mundane and common situations.The Kids in the Hall was always best when it mined the endless struggles, inane and serious, of relationships, work, and life at the end of the 20th Century. A massive success in their native Canada,The Kids in the Hall remained a mostly cult phenomenon in the U.S. The show gave fans of smart original comedy some of the greatest and funniest characters ever created. A few examples: the Chicken Lady, Francesca Fiore, Bruno Puntz-Jones, Gavin, Simon and Hecubus. If you haven’t seen it, you have to. Right now.

7. Mr. Show with Bob And David

Started by two veteran comedians who happened to be the brightest lights of the fledging alternative comedy scene of the early 90s, Mr. Show With Bob and David started strong and got stronger. Anchored by Bob Odenkirk (a long-time SNL writer who came up with Conan O’Brian and Robert Smigel) and David Cross (a hilariousfunny and original stand-up from Boston), Mr. Show quickly built a cult following with its top notch material and incredible performances. Since there were two guys running the show instead of a troupe, Mr. Show had a confident, consistent voice. From the first episode to the final season, Bob and David knew exactly the kind of show they wanted to make, and maybe more importantly, exactly the kind of show they didn’t want. Sickened by the calcified, institutionally lazy atmosphere they found at SNL, Bob and David wanted to make a comedy show that served the comedy, not the raging egos of its stars. They gave audiences original, daring material that was unlike anything else on TV. They brought the funny sure, but with their dedication to originality and staunch refusal to go for the easy joke, it was comedy you could believe in, too.

6. The Carol Burnett Show

Many of the troupes on their list gained their notoriety by being expert satirists as well as amazing comedians. But great sketch comedy doesn’t have to come from a group of talented kids looking to change the world and reinvent the comedy wheel. Sometimes all it takes is a group of very funny professionals to put together a funny show. Take for example The Carol Burnett Show. Running for 11 seasons (288 episodes!) on CBS, it had no other agenda than to make people laugh. Anchored by incredibly charming and down-to-earth Carol Burnett, and featuring one of the greatest (if not the simply the best ever) comedy duos in history in Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, it produced year after year of funny material. But what really drew audiences back week after week was how much funthe cast seemed to be having. Ask anyone who has watched the show what their favourite sketch was, and they’d probably say any one where Conway and Korman cracked each other up. Sure, it could be corny and sentimental at times, but The Carol Burnett Showproved that “family entertainment” doesn’t have to be dumb entertainment. And for that it more than deserves its place on this list as one of the best loved TV shows of all time.

5. Chappelle’s Show

It isn’t by accident that most of the great sketch comedy shows are the products of a comedy troupe. Writing and performing even a bad show takes hours and hours of work. Trying to put together a great show takes that much more. Even if it were an average show, you’d still have to admire the work Dave Chappelle put into his brief but memorable Chappelle’s Show– but it was anything but average. Built upon the well-honed stand up of Dave Chappelle’s earlier career, Chappelle’s Show was a controversial mix of race, drugs, sex, and everything else on the star’s mind. A singular vision, it presented Chappelle’s unique take on the powder kegs of modern life. Watching Chappelle’s Show is like taking a tour of modern America through the eyes of one guy. A ridiculously talented, balls-out hilarious guy. That persistent voice and sense of humor makes it unique on this list and in the sketch comedy world. Here was one guy pouring out his mind and thoughts in the funniest way he could. Is it any wonder he burned out after two seasons? He worked way too hard to give us one of the best sketch shows there ever was.

4. Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

Definitely the strangest show on this list and possibly the strangest show to ever air on television, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!is supremely weird. The sketches are surreal and at times disturbing, the supporting cast is a mix of famous comedians and bizarrely untalented non-actors, and the whole thing is presented with production values that would embarrass the cheapest public access show. This deliberate strangeness might make for a uniquely terrible viewing experience except for one thing. It’s absolutely original and absolutely hilarious. With Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have managed the rare feat of creating something simultaneously odd, unsettling, and incredibly funny. Anybody can do weird for weird’s sake, but Tim and Eric do it in such a unique, funny way that you can’t help but watch. Sitting down to the average episode is like watching a traffic accident. Except there are clowns there. And John C. Reilly in a wig. You can’t look away and you can’t stop laughing.

3. Saturday Night Live

It may be everyone’s favourite thing to hate these days, but no matter how many more substandard seasons they let it run, nothing can diminish the electricity and pure comedic energy of the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live. Coming out of the improvisation tradition created by The Second City (a movement that continues to be a major source of American comedy talent), SNL combined a murderer’s row of talent and a youthful fearlessness that pushed at the confines and strictures of what TV comedy could be. The Not Ready For Primetime Players (the nickname John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Garret Morris, and Lorraine Newman gave themselves) may have started as a bit of self-deprecation, but it became just the opposite. They were too good for primetime. Too smart, too hip, and way too cool for TV. They made staying home on Saturday night what the cool people did- to not watch SNL was to be out of touch and left out of the cultural discussion. Like Monty Python, they were comedy rock stars who instantly became household names. At least for anyone in the house under 25. Even after 35 years and through the light of the some great and many terrible seasons since, those first four years stand as one of the best moments in American comedy history.


The second of the two great sketch comedy shows to come out of the Second City improv tradition, SCTV was Saturday Night Live’s quieter, slightly more clever brother. Filmed in the relative obscurity of Toronto (compared to SNL’s New York City home, the media capital of the world) SCTV never became a cultural institution like its more famous cousin, it just became an incredible groundbreaking show. Founded on the genius premise that every sketch and parody was actually airing on a terrible local TV station, SCTV skewered every trend, genre, and celebrity that called TV home in the 70s and 80s. Even better, the conceit that they were a TV station allowed them to go behind the scenes and create a cast of rich, totally unique characters. From sleazy station owner Guy Caballero, hacky comedian Bobby Bittman, kiddie horror host Count Floyd, scuzzball host Johnny Larue to dozens of others, SCTV created an entirely realized world around the usual fare of parodies and impressions. This devotion to building characters, along with a cast that included comedy giants like John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara, Dave Thomas, and Joe Flaherty among others made SCTV a show that rewarded loyal viewers. Their recurring characters were actual characters, not just catchphrases or silly costumes.

1. Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Sketch comedy existed before Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam started Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but they made it an art form. With their brilliant satire, absurd yet instantly recognizable characters, and almost preternatural understanding of the tropes and tricks of television they created an entirely new form of comedy. Drawing on the social and cultural change around them yet maintaining enough distance to properly mock it, they made traditional comedy that was thoroughly modern. They were Oxford and Cambridge educated men who could riff on classical philosophy and Spam in the same episode. They were smart, stupid, clever and ridiculous all at the same time. It’s not without accident that they became comedy megastars and the acknowledged masters of the genre. Other groups have come and gone, some of them incredibly funny. But there will always only ever be one Monty Python. And they will always be the best sketch comedy group of all time.

Sketch Comedy HOF




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Debbie Downer.PNG
First appearance 2004-05-01
Last appearance 2010-05-08
Portrayed by

Rachel Dratch


I hate it when serious subject spew out of my brain uncontrollably. Invariably I hear that muted trombone in the background. I don’t know if my “Writing is Fun-damental” audience can hear it, but they may be thinking it.

Saturday Night Live is a television show that make a point to try to see, given I get up at 4 AM to take advantage of the creative prime-time of my day. Admittedly it is crass at times and has its moral low points, but that is what the off button on the remote is for. I highly recommend that you edit the entertainment that crosses your retinal radar.

And I am a such a positive gal, with a reported good sense of humor. So I am asking for your patience, on the off-chance that I launch into an indignant rant or a self-righteous soliloquy.

Cheerily yours,


PS And if Congress doesn’t deal with the “fiscal cliff”, I will personally take Boehner by his drippy nose and Obama by his floppy ear, lock them in a dimly lit room and pipe in Justin Beiber music. I love positivity!

Fall back

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Fall back

An Extra Hour

What will you do with your extra hour this week? On Sunday morning, while sensible people sleep, we will get back that one hour of sleep we lost in spring. I think it is a reward for forcing the sun to set……..before we eat supper!

Do the birds and squirrels care?

For me Saturday Night Live will be a must. Last week I discovered Bruno Mars and took some BS for not knowing who he was. With the election around the bend, the skits will be loaded with hilarious exaggerations.

Do birds or squirrels laugh?