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MADtv is a Sketch Comedy show that aired on FOX on Saturday nights at 11:00 Eastern Standard Time note A full 30 minutes before Saturday Night Live, a fact that was lampshaded on a "MADtv" cold opening sketch where George W. Bush [played by Will Sasso] calls out SNL's Chris Kattan for his movie "Corky Romano". It was on the air for 14 seasons, running from 1995 to 2009 on the FOX Network. The show was based onMAD magazine despite having next to nothing to do with it after the third season. The show was produced for Fox by Warner Bros. Television, a sister company to MAD as Time Warner owns both.The show, after serving 14 years as Saturday Night Live's rival, was canceled by FOX in 2009, due to low ratings, budget constraints, and the surge in popularity SNL experienced from the 2008 Presidential election.There have been claims that the show will seek new life on cable TV; though, as of 2013, the only evidence of a MADtv revival on cable can be found on the Cartoon Network animated sketch show MAD, which, unlike its live-action predecessor, is a little more faithful to the source material and is set up as a 15-minute show allegedly for children and on the Comedy Central sketch show Key And Peele, featuring pretaped sketches with two of MADtv's former cast members, Keegen-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (along with appearances by former cast members Arden Myrin, Crista Flanagan, Nicole Parker, and Nicole Randall Johnson). However, as of 2014, Cartoon Network's MAD was canceled to make room for Steven Universe while Key And Peele is still on Comedy Central.MADtv aired in reruns on Comedy Central (as a replacement for the Saturday Night Live reruns that once aired on the channel) and the Canadian sister channel Comedy Network until 2010.The show's first season was available on DVD under Warner Bros. label. Despite a preview for a season two DVD set, Warner Bros. stopped releasing the show due to poor sales note compare with Saturday Night Live, who stopped releasing the show on DVD because the episodes between 1980 and 1985 are considered an Old Shame by NBC and a rocky period for SNL fans, though SNL has uploaded those episodes on such streaming programs as Netflix, Hulu, Comcast Cable's XFinity Streampix, and Yahoo! Videos with a lot of sketches and performances cut due to copyright issues. In 2012, Shout! Factory swooped in and agreed to release MADtv's second and third seasons, with (hopefully) more seasons to come (and The iTunes Store has the last season available for anyone who wants it).Unrelated to the simulation computer game.
Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: In "Mike Tyson Grill," a parody of the George Foreman Grill, "Mike Tyson" did this at times throughout the infomercial, such as pronouncing testimonials as if the "mon" rhymed with "con."
Parodied in a sketch which featured supposed "alternate endings" that were shot for Gone with the Wind. It's introduced by one of the actors, "Slave Girl #8" (she's the only one who's still alive), who has to re-enact the racial stereotype of her previous role, which she eventually notes is kind of degrading. In the first ending, Rhett goes on a profanity-laden tirade after Scarlett begs him not to leave, and punches her in the stomach before walking off in disgust ("Audiences didn't like that ending at all"). In the second one, Rhett, Scarlett, and some of the soldiers and slaves suddenly break into a dance number. In the third one, Rhett just gets on a broom and flies off, and Scarlett follows him on a jetpack on the advice of Abraham Lincoln and a talking penguin ("It's a mystery to me why they filmed this last ending at all").
Artifact Title: The show never had much to do with MAD to begin with, but at least they tried at first (the Spy vs. Spy animated sketches, Alfred E. Neuman prominently appearing in the opening titles). Before long, though, even these token references were dropped.
Nicole Sullivan's Vancome Lady is one, too, referring to the place she worked for (not even all of) her initial sketch in the very first show.
A-Team Firing: Parodied in a skit in which a veteran cop gets a new partner who's a rookie. The veteran cop is captured by a thug wielding a blade and the rookie tries to shoot the thug, only to hit his partner... repeatedly. The veteran suggests aiming for him instead of the thug and just ends up getting shot in the nut-sack. He declares that he'd rather take his chances with the blade, which is kind of dull, but the rookie cop insists he's not letting the thug get away. The thug eventually decides to leave the scene and he walks way. The rookie "pursues," but no matter how close he gets, he can't achieve the shot and the ricochet bounces to the veteran. The thug picks up a penny off the ground and leaves. The rookie cop calls for medical aid for the veteran, but reaches Domino's Pizza instead.
Big Fun: One episode had a cold open where Will Sasso announces that he lost weight — and as a result, he's not funny anymore. The solution: go on a feeding frenzy throughout the studio by eating from the craft tables, stealing from Girl Scouts, and (allegedly) microwaving a dog (he actually microwaves some ribs and tells the dog that he can't have any).
Biting-the-Hand Humor: In one "Lillian Verner Game Show" sketch, one of the contestants (a prop comic) answers a question with "Hmm, let me see... hmm, what could it be?" while holding up a giant letter C and B. Simeon Dyson, the game show's psychotic announcer, responds by holding up a giant P and U. He then says, "We're sorry, Fox made us change it. We know it's not as funny as 'fuck you.'"
Black Comedy / Gallows Humor: Had it sparingly in the first couple seasons, but was packed with it from season 3 to the end. While Saturday Night Live does have its moments of morbid and politically incorrect humor, MADtv was more in-your-face with it and often went to places that not even SNL would (which is why some fans do prefer this show over SNL).
Parodied in the sketch Grand Theft Auto: The Boardgame. Misaimed Marketing at its finest: The game pieces are criminals such as drug kingpins and pimps, you can snort fake cocaine and get makeshift tattoos, and the game includes guns, drugs, and real cash for the family to fight over. Coincidentally, there was a real life board game based on Monopoly that was sort of like this: "Ghettopoly", set in an inner-city criminal neighborhood. For obvious reasons, there was a public backlash and the game was discontinued.
There was also a Monopoly parody they had called Welfare, in which rich people can experience what it's like to be lower-middle class.
Buddy Cop Show: Parodied with the "Seven Buddy Cops" sketch, which is a massive crossover starring Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Tommy Lee Jones, and Will Smith giving shout outs to all the buddy cop movies they starred in while trying to solve the case of the dead prostitutes on the orders of Da Chief. Even Mel Gibson and Danny Glover (aka Lethal Weapon's Murtaugh and Riggs) make a cameo.
Bobby Lee's Yamanashi (in the Coach Hines sketches), the models in the QVC Fashion show sketches (though they do fight back against the commentators who insult them), and any character played by Crista Flanagan.
John Madden is one in the "Quick Pop Popcorn Popper" sketch. Nothing goes right for him and he ends up getting electrocuted and burned.
Cannot Tell a Joke: The entire premise of Crista Flanagan's Luann Lockhart, the amateur stand-up comedian who has no idea how to tell a joke.
Casanova Wannabe: Bobby Lee’s character, Tank, whose many attempts at scoring with women end in failure.
Casting Gag: One episode had Christopher Meloni play a resident of a gated community at a community meeting... who also happened to be a serial groper harassing one of the female residents.
Cat Scare: Parodied in the skit "Apollo the 13th: Jason Takes NASA" (in reference to Apollo 13 being released). An astronaut hears a noise and goes to investigate. Sure enough, he's relived to find that it's only a cat roaming around (never mind that it would impossible for it to get on the space shuttle), only to encounter Jason two seconds later.
Clip Show: Much like SNL, this show had episodes highlighting the best moments of the series. Unlike SNL, there weren't many of them and they seemed to come on during the show's final two seasons (except for MADtv's "Best of Seasons 8, 9, and 10," which was a DVD-exclusive release). The Clip Show episodes were:
MADtv Ruined My Life: The Sketches That Shocked A Nation: A highlight of the show's raunchiest and most outrageous sketches (set up like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show). Also includes information on a deleted sketch from season one called Schindler's Lost that was Too Hot for TV and can now be seen on the Internet.
Survivor MAD: A highlight of the show's best TV show parodies
I Want My MADtv: A highlight of the show's best celebrity- and pop culture-based sketches.
MADtv's Most Wanted: A highlight of the show's best recurring character sketches.
Dirty, Sexy Politics: A highlight of the show's political and history-based sketches
MADtv's The Best of Michael McDonald: A highlight of Michael McDonald's most popular recurring characters and celebrity impressions.
Comic-Book Time: Eleven years of Stuart sketches, and yet his father always left the family "last Tuesday".
Dawson Casting: invoked Parodied and lampshaded repeatedly in "Pretty White Kids With Problems". The actors are obviously way too old to be playing teenagers, which they constantly make sure to point out.
Actor in his mid-30s: 15 can be a difficult age. And that's how old I am. 15.
Deadpan Snarker: Nicole Sullivan as the Vancome Lady and Michael McDonald as Marvin Tikvah
The Dead Rise to Advertise: In "Mike Tyson Grill," a parody of the George Foreman Grill, Abraham Lincoln advertises the grill, though it's actually the same guy who is playing Mike Tyson dressed up as Lincoln.
Denied Parody: Alex Borstein has flatly denied that Ms. Swan, a character she did, is an old Asian woman, and claims she's based on her Hungarian grandmother. Uh huh. Sure. (The Vancome Lady thinks she's Icelandic.) To her credit, she does speak Hungarian in one sketch.
Depraved Bisexual: In the "Sexual Harassment" sketch, a new male employee at an office sexually harasses various coworkers until he gets his comeuppance. Most of his targets are women but it also includes one man.
Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Parodied in a sketch spoofing Alias, along with the show's hyperkinetic style (read the dialogue about two times as fast as you normally would, and you'll get the idea).
Dad: There's no time. I'm a spy for SD6.
Sydney: But SD6 is a rogue faction for the CIA.
Dad: But I'm a double agent for the CIA.
Sydney: How do I know you're not a triple agent pretending to be a double agent who's pretending to be an agent for SD6 when you're really not an agent at all?
Dad: ...Now I'm confused.
Dull Surprise: The entire point of "One True Impact", a spoof trailer uniting Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal in a dramatic film about two brothers reuniting to cope with the impending death of their terminally ill father. Considering these two action stars' limited dramatic range, you can probably guess how this turns out. The trailer's narrator describes it as "a sensitive story about feelings and emotions never before captured on film". And he was right.
Steven Seagal: [bored monotone] I'm your brother. Why don't you believe me?
"For your people, by your people!": Parodied in a sketch. It spoofed Greys Anatomy, and at one point Dr. Gregory House from House shows up to provide a new pair of eyes on the medical case they are struggling with. He argues with Dr. Grey, and she calls him a sexist pig as she says that Grey's Anatomy is "a show written for women by women". House counters with saying that he finds her hot and points out that he has an erection, and says that House is a "a show written by men for women who like abusive men".
Fun with Acronyms: The Kappa Kappa Kappa Sorority. Doesn't help that one of their members (played by Debra Wilson) is black and doesn't see what's wrong with having a sorority house with those letters (in white, no less).
The topic of a sketch in which two gangsters are trying to drive each other out of town, but one of them is freaked out when the other makes repeated sexual advances at him during their fight. At the end it's revealed that both of them are gay. The first gangster was just concerned that the other was still involved with another guy.
In another, a trio of mafia men are introduced to a new capo, who has a reputation for being scary and ruthless. He repeatedly berates the three of them for certain transgressions, but each time he gradually starts speaking like an effeminate gay man, and when he's finished, leaves the room for a little while. This eventually causes the gangsters to notice that their new boss is certainly scary, but gets a little "elegant" in his tirades. Finally, when the boss threatens to kill one of them they are suddenly interrupted by two policemen, but these also turn out to be camp gay.
Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Parodied in a spoof of Brokeback Mountain which inverted the genders by making it a secret relationship between two cowgirls. Rather than facing hostility and ostracism, the women's husbands encourage the affair and even get their buddies together to watch.
Going Postal: Parodied in the "Postal Workers Gone Postal" sketch. Two postal workers decide to have their murderous rampage on the same day, but of course they don't want to share. They argue about who gets to go on a killing spree, which has the more traumatic past, and which person each of them gets to kill. Then a third guy who was planning the same thing walks in. When a fourth guy walks in, they ask him why he hates being a postman, but he turns out to be a robber. They use their guns to arrest him and are hailed as heroes, and the government makes firearms mandatory for all postal workers.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Keegan-Michael Key's Coach Hines (the psycho Catholic school gym teacher who's actually the heir to the Heinz ketchup company, but gave up that life so he can help out delinquent students).
Hustling The Mark: In one sketch, a pool hustler and his accomplice try to con someone, but fail because it is very obvious that they’re hustlers. (Actually, they fail more because they waited too long to stop playing badly. The mark for some reason is happy enough with his million dollars and doesn't want to try for five.)
Intercourse with You: There's a Deconstructive Parody of Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous [Girl]" called "Syphillis Girl" that deals with the aftermath. Timbaland discovers he got an STD from having had unprotected sex with Furtado, and they end up concluding it's their own fault. It actually has a good point to make about the likely consequences of holding promiscuity up as a virtue.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Raging Rudolph has Rudolph and Hermie hire a hitman to murder Santa after he refuses to let them be part of his gang.
Kill the Poor: One sketch had the mayor of a town addressing the press to reveal his new plan for dealing with the poor. He would give them all virtual reality helmets that would show them everything they ever wanted, allowing them to live out their lives in peace. The test subject they put one on sees a beautiful woman in the distance, holding a steak dinner and a bottle of booze. He runs towards her, which leads him into traffic where he is killed by an oncoming truck. It concludes with the mayor declaring "And that's how we'll eliminate the homeless ... problem."
Long Runners: At 14 seasons, this show is considered Saturday Night Live's longest-running rival sketch show and the longest-running sketch show ever aired on the FOX network (beating out In Living Color! as longest-running FOX sketch show, which ran for five seasons note and, according to most fans, was only funny for three or four).
Misaimed Marketing: invoked There's a sketch about an incredibly violent Grand Theft Auto board game marketed to a nuclear family, and the parents and kids all enjoyed themselves playing murderous criminals shooting each other up in gang wars, snorting fake cocaine, and getting makeshift prison tattoos.
Mundane Made Awesome: The new Omnibowl from Spishak! It can function as a cereal bowl, AND a small pasta bowl!
Murderous Mannequin: A subversion in the recurring sketch featuring a psychotic murderer who everyone (except the Only Sane Man) thought was just a mannequin because he would stand really still whenever anyone was looking directly at him. Anyone else who eventually noticed the mannequin kept changing positions would come to the conclusion the Only Sane Man must have been the one to move it and kill all those people for whatever reason.
Must Have Caffeine: Stan the Coffee Man. He drinks coffee so much that he keeps a thermos flask on him, in case something happens to his coffee cup. Though most of the sketches has him trying to kick the habit. It doesn't take long for him to fall of the wagon though. Scientists studying Stan found that he actually pees coffee. And apparently it's delicious.
My Little Panzer: Pretty much all the Spishak toys, and some that aren't, like the Grand Theft Auto board game or the Tickle Me Emo doll.
Overly Long Name: Bunifa Latifah Halifah Sharifa Jackson. note Spelling varies: there are no final Hs in the Lowered Expectations caption, but she insists on this particular spelling personally later in the season.
Director: Many of my films have been inspired by Spielberg. When he did Raiders of the Lost Ark, I did Panty Raiders of the Lost Ark. When he did E.T., I did Eat Me. When he did Jaws... I did Jaws. I just couldn't think of nothing better.
Pixellation and Medium Awareness: There's a sketch where a man visits the doctor, complaining that his genitals are blurred. The doctor tells him that it's normal for network TV characters to experience pixellation on their breasts, genitals, rear ends, and middle fingers. Moreover, the doctor knows that he is not a real doctor but just a character, and that both him and his patient exist only so long as the sketch lasts.
Place Worse Than Death: There's a skit about words being removed from the dictionary and Detroit is one of those words.
Race Fetish: There is a recurring skit about an interracial couple (played by Jordan Peele and Nicole Parker) who host a call-in show called Inside Looking Out, where they give tips on interracial relationships. The white wife is an unabashed bigot who makes derogatory remarks about her black husband, while the husband ignores the degradation since he's only with her because he wants to sleep with a white woman.
The majority of the comedic black female characters: Bunifa, Belma Button and Tovah McQueen from Reality Check, Ka-Son, etc.
Outright parodied with "That's My White Mamma!", which is touted in-universe as "the most offensive show ever televised". A fat black mother gets run over by an equally fat white guy (played by Artie Lange), upon which her soul exits her body and takes over his. She still fulfills the role in her family of an extremely stereotypical Sassy Black Woman, but in a white guy's body. She still dresses the same, berates her daughter and scares of her daughter's boyfriends, frequently accuses her faithful husband of cheating, and can't do without a tuna and cheese sandwich.
White mamma: Don't make me break my foot off in yo' ass!
Around the Turn of the Millennium, MADtv started making The Price Is Right parodies. By this time, Bob Barker had been hosting the show for over 30 years, so they decided to parody what the show would have been like in the 1970s and the 1980s, if it were filled to the brim with topical references and invoked Funny Aneurysm Moments (particularly seen in the 1980s version, with Josh Meyers as a yet-unknown Jeffrey Dahmer, Stephnie Weir as Martha Stewart dropping hints that she would later get in trouble for harboring inside information, and Nicole Parker as Tonya Harding before she got into figure skating). In reality, of course, The Price Is Right changed so little during Barker's lengthy tenure that the most visible change in 35+ years was his hair colour (from brown to white).
In the last season, there was a sketch where Batman (played by Matt Braunger) tries to fight crime with gadgets, but because how bad the U.S. economy has become, Batman's gadgets have become crude and homemade. While it is funny, any Batman fan can (and will) tell you that Batman hasn't been a gadget-heavy superhero since the campy 1960s series with Adam West.
Shown Their Work: In contrast to the above, the "Son of Dolemite" sketches show that the writers really studied the films to get the jokes, tone and impressions correct.
Spoof Aesop: They once did a spoof of a "don't have sex without a profilactic" educational short aimed at teenagers starring Avril Lavigne. Her horndog boyfriend BJ tries to get her into it, but she refuses because she thinks she has to wait until marriage. Her rather open-minded parents (apparently suffering a mid-life crisis) tell her that they did the same thing when they were young, but have regretted it ever since. They advise her to do the polar opposite instead: have sex with as many partners as possible, preferably at the same time and while doing cocaine, and never use a condom.
"Wow... I'm so glad my parents set me straight."
Spoofed The Ironic Film Seriously: There's a parody of Jewel's Intuition music video and 0304 pop album, labeling her a pop sellout... except that video and album were satire of the then current teen pop trend. The Intuition original video featured such mockery as texts reading "Jewel's voice sounds much better now that she's dancing" and a pyrotechnics performance that ended with the fire department's arrival.
Subverted Kids Show: CLOPS (where cartoon characters and childhood figures are arrested for various crimes), The Power-Slut Girls (a Powerpuff Girls parody featuring Tara Reid, Brittany Murphy, and Paris Hilton as crimefighting media whores — now a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment due to Brittany Murphy's death), the parodies of the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials (Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town) that always seem to be crossed with violent Mafia films, like The Godfather and Scarface (the 1983 version with Al Pacino), Dennis The Menace To Society, the one-shot sketch The Ring-A-Rounds (a Wiggles parody that put a happy spin on such topics as divorce, post-partum depression, living with alcoholic parents, foster care, and childhood obesity) and the Sesame Street parodies they did during the last few years of the show that dealt with such kid-unfriendly topics as avian flu, childhood obesity, plastic surgery, America's economic decline, sexual predators on the Internet, and Donald Trump's greed (which was in fact targeted in Sesame's 25th anniversary special with parody character Ronald Grump).
Take Me Instead: One sketch takes place at a funeral, with a woman mourning her husband, screaming "Take me, Jesus! Take me instead!" Sure enough, Jesus shows up, brings the woman's husband back to life, and then asks the woman to go with him. Naturally, the woman wasn't expecting her wish to be granted, and Hilarity Ensues.
Triage Tyrant: Nicole Sullivan, as the "Vancome lady", a nurse. She kept turning people away for stupid reasons. They'd describe their emergency and she'd explain, in chirpy tones, why they should head down the street. One episode had a hemophiliac who was told that Sisters of Mercy didn't support that lifestyle... Link to the episode (until it's removed)
Troubled Fetal Position: Stuart retreats into his "dark place" whenever things didn't go his way. He usually has to be coaxed out by his mom.
Type Casting: Poked fun at in-universe. Robert Englund played Freddy Krueger in all of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street films and Freddy vs. Jason. Apart from all the makeup it requires, he does enjoy the role. The whole "typecasting" thing was lovingly mocked on MADtv early in that show's run, when Englund did a guest spot for a Halloween Episode. During his appearance, everyone kept describing Englund, as his big claim to fame, his other famous genre role of "Willie", the comic relief alien from the original V mini-series. Englund responds quite angrily, pointing out to each cast member who calls him "Willie", that he played Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. But everyone keeps referring to him as "The guy who played Willie on V" instead of "the Nightmare On Elm Street guy", much to his dismay and anger.
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: All of the "Tina" sketches end with her vomiting uncontrollably over herself (it's a character tic). Kicked up a notch in "Tina Gets Married" when she, her fiancee and her father all vomit on themselves at the wedding ceremony.
Wishful Projection: "The Average Asian", in which a completely ordinary Asian guy is expected to act like an Asian stereotype.