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Ben Stiller Show, The (Fox-HBO 1992, Janeane Garafolo, Bob Odenkirk)



Emmy, schmemmy. Comedian Stiller’s sketch comedy show, which won an Emmy for comedy writing after its cancellation, is another fine example of how critical praise and cult status can’t save a show if there aren’t enough people in the cult.

Axed by Fox after just 12 episodes (and a “lost” 13th installment that aired later on Comedy Central), the quirkily clever series costarred Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick and Bob Odenkirk, who added original comedy bits, hilarious TV parodies and playful slaps at celebs like Tony Robbins, Kevin Costner and Woody Allen.

From “Melrose Heights, 902102402” and “Amish Studs” to “Cops in Egypt” and “America’s Most Suspicious” (hosted by Danny Bonaduce), no television entity was safe from the Stiller gang’s satire. Of course, given that both Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210 were staples of the Fox lineup at that time, perhaps The Ben Stiller Show ruffled too many feathers.

Still, many of the sketches proved memorable, including riffs on musicians like Bono and Bruce Springsteen, whom Stiller once hilariously parodied in a Sesame Street-like skit called “Counting with Bruce Springsteen.”

Among the best original material were “Low-Budget Tales of Clichéd Horror,” “Bad Twist Ending Theater” and “The Pig Latin Ariety-Vay Ectacular-Spay,” which was the best of the cast’s many Pig Latin-themed shorts.

Funny stuff–until the atings-ray ailed-fay to attract an arge-lay ase-bay of iewers-vay.

production details
USA / Fox-HBO / 13×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 27 September 1992 – 31 January 1993

Ben Stiller
Andy Dick
Janeane Garofalo
Bob Odenkirk
John F. Donohue
Danny Bonaduce