After ignoring the hype for as long as I could, I finally checked out Hulu, mostly because I knew they had shows I watched when I was a kid, like Emergency! and S.W.A.T., along with nostalgic classics I'd always wanted to watch but had never seen, like The Time Tunnel .
Turns out there's a lot of movies there, too, as well as a ton of classic SNL clips. There are short commercials in most of the programming, but they're not that intrusive or offensive to me; at least they don't crank the volume up to ear-bleeding levels like they do on broadcast TV. Overall, it seems like a fair trade to me as a television viewer (as an actor whose residual checks are ever-smaller because of online reuse, I'm not crazy about it, but that's not the point of this post.)
I have this nifty new iMac, with a monitor that's bigger than the first TV I bought for myself with Star Trek money when I was in my teens. It's got a better picture than the first TV I bought when I was officially an adult, and I won't even address how vastly superior it is in memory and performance to pretty much every computer I've owned so far, including the MacBook Pro I'm using right now.
Suffice to say that it makes a great replacement television while my big screen HDTV is awaiting a replacement lamp, and I've been relaxing a little bit every day with some of those classic shows I mentioned above.
It was the SNL clips, though, that I've loved the most, and they've sent me down memory lane to my teen years, when I was just discovering stand-up comedy.
Remember when we'd get together to watch HBO comedy specials from people like Steven Wright and George Carlin? Remember the first time you saw Delirious and Raw? I miss those days. I guess it's cool that Comedy Central provides an outlet for today's comedians and the comedians who rip them off, but I miss the excitement of watching a new special or going to a theater to watch a comedy movie.
Anyway, I was thinking about some of my favorite comedy films and specials, and came up with this incomplete list:
Bob Saget at the 9th Annual Young Comedians Special
Howie Mandel at the Young Comedians All-Star Reunion
A Steven Wright Special (which is inexplicably available anywhere I looked online. Sad)
That's just what I get off the top of my head; I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff that I just haven't thought about in years. Oh! Like comedy albums. Damn, I could go on forever with those. Arizona Bay, Meat Bob, I Have a Pony, Class Clown, Louder than Hell . . . damn. Do they even make comedy albums any more?
I didn't know it at the time, of course, but all that stuff would become a huge influence on me, as a writer and performer. All the time I spent listening to those albums and watching those specials on crappy VHS copies that I wore out paid off the first time I set foot on the stage at ACME so many years ago.
I was really attracted to comedy as social commentary (surprise), but there was stuff that I enjoyed just for yucks, like Howie Mandel blowing up a glove on his head and Emo Phillips . . . well, being Emo Phillips.
Feel free to add and share your faves in the comments.