Almost Live! was a long-running television sketch-comedy produced in Seattle by the local NBC affiliate, KING TV. Lasted from 1984 to 1999. For most of its run, the half-hour show aired every week just before Saturday Night Live. While much of the humor was aimed at local targets, an edited version of the show aired nationally on cable TV (briefly on Comedy Central in 1994), and more than one other show re-used some of its ideas.Served as the springboard for Bill Nye the Science Guy's career. JoelMcHale also did a stint on the show, but it took a little longer for him to reach the national spotlight. Ditto with David Scully, best known as Halo's Sergeant Johnson.The Other Wiki has a comprehensive rundown on the show.
This show provides examples of:
Arrow Cam: The "Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan" sketches, parodies of old kung fu movies, would always feature Billy doing a running jump-kick using this technique. Which could travel for blocks, go around corners, wait for the elevator, etc.
Improv Fu: This was comically sent up in the Billy Quan sketches. Billy and his antagonist would always fight using items around them as stand-ins for martial arts weapons. (In a computer room, floppy disks became shirukens; in a meat market, links of sausages became nunchaku, etc.)
Insane Proprietor: Roscoe's Oriental Rug Emporium is the classic example. The proprietor starts out reasonable, and quickly unravels like his cheap rugs.
George Buford has been uploading sketches for the last several years, and has amassed an impressive library.
Kitschy Local Commercial: Local commercials bad enough to reach Memetic Mutation were mercilessly spoofed, and many of the sketches took the form of these, advertising things like "new shows on NBC" note The station airing the show was the NBC affiliate), fictitious fly-by-night trade schools, and "community events." Seeing as most of the staff had worked on some of those awful local commercials and the show had the approximate budget of said commercials, it was a natural match.
Large Ham: Numerous examples, though Darrell Suto and John Keister in the Billy Quan skits particularly stand out.
News Parody: "The Late Report" (or "The John Report" in some earlier episodes) segments were this, with John Keister reading the news, particularly about issues local to the Seattle community, and spinning jokes off of it.
One-Book Author: Many of the cast nearly fall into this category, but in particular, Darrell Suto, who played Billy Quan, was normally one of the show's cameramen.
Seattle: Where the show was based, and the bedrock of their jokes. Roughly half of the humor will fly over your head if you are unfamiliar with the local area (especially during the years when the show was filmed.)
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: The April 1, 1989 episode had an April Fools' Day prank in the form of a fake news broadcast depicting the Space Needle collapsing. What they didn't expect was people taking it seriously, prompting so many calls to the police that the Seattle 911 system crashed. Keister aired an apology the next week.