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Comedy Club


Producer: Lin Bolen
Host: Jim McKrell
Assistant: Sheryl Bernstein
Announcer: Howard Stevens
Also Starring: Bill Gage, Wesley Hundall (they're listed in the credits, but I really can't figure out where they appeared)
Celebrities: Brad Garrett, Izzy West, Billy Riback, Grant Turner
Taping Info: around 1984 at the ABC Television Center in Hollywood
Made it to Air: No

If you flipped through cable television in the 1980s, you would undoubtedly run into some form of stand-up comedy, whether it was A&E's Night at the Improv or one of Gallagher's 315 specials on Showtime. So somebody had the idea to make a game show out of it, down to having the set look like a comedy club, albeit it a high-class, non-smoking one. Lin Bolen, considered either a credit to or destroyer of game shows, is your producer. Jim McKrell, doing yet another pilot, has the further indignity of not having his name spelled correctly an 'a' was added on the chyron.

The game involved two players, assisted by the comedians in solving word puzzles. The first round saw one player asking to hear a story from a comedian after being given a prompting statement by Jim McKrell such as "it's hard to travel". The comedian's 30 second story would include one key word said twice. The player would then try to guess that word. If they guessed the word correctly, they then had a chance to try to guess what the words in the puzzle had in common for 10 points. If they were unable to guess the word, the opposing player had a chance to guess both the word and the puzzle for 5 points. Each player played this round once.

For the second round known as the "Double or Nothing Round" was worth 20 points. This time, both players played the puzzle simultaneously, alternating the comedian selection and the guessing. Since there are no other rounds, all that mattered was winning this round since the maximum awarded in the previous round was 15. The winner got a chance to play in the bonus game. The loser got $100 and an escort off the stage by assistant Sheryl Bernstein.

For the bonus game, the contestant moved onto the comedy stage. The contestant then had 60 seconds to say ten words in a story with a leading line given by Jim McKrell. Obviously, the player didn't know what words she needed. It was essentially Talkabout, but the contestant gave the words in the context of a story. There was no mention of how they would enforce the story structure rather than just giving words fitting a category for 60 seconds. After the bonus game, Brad Garrett played a small audience game where he gave a short comedy routine and gave somebody the audience $100. I guess there really wasn't a game there.

Comedy is hard. I've tried it. You're not laughing after reading the reviews on this website. And this show proves how hard it can be, since it really wasn't that funny. The show was very much a product of the 80s, down to the multiple Joan Rivers impressions and the use of "I Love L.A." as a theme. And if you were wondering what happened to the other comedians not named Brad Garrett: Grant Turner does a one-man show in Myrtle Beach, Billy Riback moved into sitcom writing and directing, and Izzy West stopped performing later in the 80s.

This pilot has been viewed 8249 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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