Bizarre is a sketch comedy show that aired on Showtime and CTV from 1980-86. John Byner served as host and taped at the CFTO Glen-Warren studios.
Featured sketches, spoofs of TV shows, and appearances by guest stars like Howie Mandel, Steve Allen, Pat Morita (of Karate Kid fame), Murry "The Unknown Comic" Langston, and Redd Foxx. Bizarre is also the show that put Super Dave Osborne on the map. Super Dave's popularity as Bizarre's Breakout Character led to the Spinoff series entitled "The Super Dave Osborne Show".
And by the way, Mike Myers appeared on the show as Timmy Byner.
The show provides examples of the following tropes:
- Blatant Lies: Bizarre has a recurring sketch called "Byner Originals" in which show host John Byner would claim to be introducing some new comedy creation - Boy John, Johnny Jackson - that were blatant ripoffs of actual personalities of the day, which would prompt producer Bob Einstein to interrupt the sketch, calmly berate Byner, and then suffer a litany of insults in return. In one episode, they blatantly rip off a skit that the show did only 3 years earlier.
- Bowdlerise: In a rare case of content being censored in its native country, the Canadian version of Bizarre was censored for CTV airing. (The Showtime version contains nudity and coarse language.)
- The language was bleeped by a horn honking sound, and scenes involving nudity were censored either via by the inclusion of reverse angle scenes originally filmed from behind nude actors (generally women baring their breasts) or scenes that were re-shot with the models wearing a bra. Eventually, the CTV version made its way to American syndication, but few markets received the Showtime versions as late night fare. The British version that aired on ITV at 11PM at night was the adult version with one difference: The more extreme language was bleeped the old fashioned way.
- Breakout Character: Super Dave.
- Epic Fail: Super Dave Osborne's stunts failed spectacularly. in one of his most famous stunts, Super Dave attempted to avoid getting hurt by a pile driver by saying "Balloon Ball" over and over again, but to no one's surprise the stunt fails and the end result left Super Dave as a head atop two shoes. The skit was so popular that, for the following season, Showtime promos for Bizarre featured a cartoon logo of Super Dave's helmeted head and shoes.
- Finger in the Mail: Parodied in a skit featuring a man and woman waiting anxiously for correspondence from their son's kidnapper. After revealing that they'd been sent a few pieces of him already (fingers and toes), they received a new box. When the wife asked what part of him was in it this time, the answer was, "His shit." In an alternate ending, it was instead his foot, to which the parents happily exclaimed, "Now we have enough to put him back together again!"
- No Fourth Wall: Byner's interaction with members of the studio audience and/or co-producer Bob Einstein demolished the fourth wall. Einstein would also halt sketches.
- Regional Bonus: (overlap with Better on DVD) As mentioned above (see Edited for Syndication), the American Showtime version included nudity and coarse language not found in the CTV version.
- Self-Deprecation: A staple joke of the show, which included Richard Nixon telling host John Byner (who played Nixon in the sketch) not to "make the mistake I did" but instead to "burn the tapes", and an ET parody where the ET character was the children's grandfather who couldn't even bear to be in the house while they were watching Bizarre.