Magazine article Newsweek

Mad TV

Magazine article Newsweek

Mad TV

Article excerpt

WHAT, NBC WORRY? THEY SHOULD, because after a 20-year free ride, the network's decaying comedy museum, "Saturday Night Live," finally has some seriously funny competition. Fox's Mad TV is starting two weeks later than "SNL" (on Oct. 14) but is getting the jump in every other way. It airs half an hour earlier: at 11 instead of 11:30. It's fresh, smart, edgy--everything this seasons rere-revamped "SNL" isn't.

"Mad," as you can guess from the title, is based on the format of Mad magazine: tasteless juvenile satire for adolescents of all ages. The first show opens at "Fox World Headquarters," a men's room where a couple of slimy programming execs are trying to convince their boss how great this new shows gonna be. "We've got publicity going full throttle, sir," says Slimy Exec 1. "How about merchandising?" the boss barks from inside a staff. Slimy Exec 2 chimes in: "We have everything from Afred E. Neumar? beer hats to `What me worry.?' sports bras." (Picture "SNL" executive producer/merchandise-monger Lorne Michaels seeing this and wondering, "Why didn't I think of that?" The only problem is the cast. They don't have one. So the desperate execs comb Los Angeles in the "Fox casting" truck, picking up derelicts, prostitutes and one disgruntled postal worker in a bloody uniform holding an AK-47 machine gun.

The cast is, in reality, a mix of stand-ups and sitcom refugees. Nicole Sullivan delivers a twisted monologue about how the first time she read Mad magazine was in a psych ward when she was a kid. …

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