I have never seen an episode of Fridays, although I knew it was an ABC attempt to counter Saturday Night Live. I’m now thinking I missed out, given this astounding piece from 1980. The almost 20-minute-long sketch rewrites The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Ronald Reagan as Frank N. Furter. And the guy doing the impression — this site says it’s John Roarke — is amazing. It’s gotta be difficult to keep two characters going at the same time like that.
You might also recognize Michael Richards as “Brad Minor”, Melanie Chartoff as “Janet”, and Larry David as Eddie/Nixon (!). All the songs have new lyrics, attacking the political revolution that had just taken place. Brad and Janet are on their way to an “anti-nuke rally” when they come across a group of celebrating conservatives. The costumes are really faithful, too.
I can’t imagine any comedy show today being as pointed or committing so much time to a piece, or it being so entertaining. Never mind the copyright issues that would kill such a parody before it ever aired today. The ending’s overly didactic — you can give up at minute 7 of part 2 — but until then, I was astounded. Magenta’s solo, about eight minutes into part 1, is still particularly timely: “It’s so good for the wealthy / who can afford to stay healthy / and the underprivileged / you won’t see at all.”
The cast and/or writers clearly knew the source material. Here it is, in two parts. (And bless home tapers, without whom we’d never have seen this again.)
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