After years of hearing about it, I've finally watched 'Strangers With Candy' (via the incredibleness that is the Comedy Network's online video library). Okay, I know I'm about 9 years late to getting around to this series, and its odd brand of humour is old news to most, but how many people have heard of 'Exit 57'? This was a sketch comedy show that Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and Stephen Colbert worked on before 'Strangers With Candy.' Comedy central aired two 6 episode seasons from 1995 to 1996. Even though I was only about 13 years old at the time, I've always been into sketch comedy shows and was surprised I'd never heard of this one. The reason being that it never aired in Canada or had any kind of DVD release, despite being critically well received at the time (according to Wikipedia... perhaps Colbert made some contributions to the entry). I noticed the show began right around the time Canada's 'Kids in the Hall' had wrapped (easily one of my all time favourite shows) which was just catching on in the States due to HBO and CBS airing syndicated episodes. Without even bootleg versions of 'Exit 57' being readily available on ebay, it seemed as though this show was lost into obscurity, despite the success the main players have had since. Then comes youtube to the rescue once again, with a search bringing up about a dozen various sketches from the show. Based on this sampling, it seems as though they were trying to pick up where Kids in the Hall left off, with the emphasis being less on parody and more on surrealism. The show's producer, Joe Forristal, even served as supervising producer on the first couple seasons of KITH. It's my diagnoses that most of these sketches are not very successful or funny. I can't help but wonder if those involved in the show agree and are happy to have it remain in 90's ambiguity. This theory is supported by the fact that several jokes have been re-used in subsequent series; I believe I've heard Colbert use the line “I'm not pushing you away, I'm pulling me towards myself” in every show he's been on. All that being said, here's one sketch that I do find really funny.
If anyone knows where to see the whole series, I'd be very interested, as I'm sure there's a few more gems in there.
Directly after posting this, I tested the video to find that it had been removed due to a copyright claim. This is a shame, as most of the unfunny ones seem to remain and the prime catalyst behind the post was to share this clip. I'll be sure to post the 'Schoolyard' sketch if it ever resurfaces. In the words of Chuck Noblet: "GOD DAMN IT!"