Remember That Show? Episode 13: MADtv

It’s time for a brand new shiny episode of Remember That Show? – the podcast where my buddy Adam and I explore “possibly forgotten” shows from that 80s and 90s that made an impact on us. This time around, we’re tackling the Fox “classic” sketch series MADtv. Premiering in 1995, the show has always been discussed as something of a “poor man’s Saturday Night Live“. Everyone knows the MAD brand, due to its decades-long popularity on newsstands, but a television show wasn’t always necessarily in the cards. You see, MAD founder William Gaines actually hated the television medium, so the TV rights weren’t even available until after his death in 1992. Producer Quincy Jones snatched up those rights, and fast-tracked something more akin to a second coming of Fox’s In Living Color, right down to a Heavy D produced theme song.

While the SNL comparisons constant throughout MADtv‘s 14-year run, I would argue that there was a period, right smack in the middle of its run, where MAD was running circles around the institution up at 30 Rock. By the late 90s/early 00s, the SNL Renaissance that gave us Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, and Molly Shannon was long over, while MADtv was busy creating some memorable characters, like Stuart, The Vancome Lady, and the controversial Ms. Swan. MAD‘s recurring character work shined while SNL‘s faltered – something that show is still dealing with, as the recent “Lisa From Temecula” is one of the few attempts at a recurring character since Kate McKinnon left the show.

In my travels online, I’ve learned that folks either loved or hated MADtv – There is no in between. I argue that it was a powder keg of talent that, with a few exceptions, didn’t really pan out after the show. As I put it, it was a show full of Cheri Oteris. Anyway, if this sounds interesting to you, check it out here, or wherever fine podcasts aren’t sold!