What if your friend’s middling college sketch comedy group inexplicably managed to land a weekly show on a major network…and the show stayed on the air for 13 years? That alternate-reality scenario was always what came to mind the few times we watched MADtv, the bafflingly long-lasting program that was born, raised, and, yesterday, canceled — in the shadow of the much higher-profile Saturday Night Live.
Despite its raft of poor impressions (Frank Caliendo excepted), adolescent humor, and general mediocrity, the thing managed to develop into an under-the-radar institution, as this EW article illustrates.
Pretty impressive for a show that few people we know seemed to know was still on.
Believe it or not, we vividly remember the very first episode, in which Kato Kaelin (whom we now use as our go-to 20 Questions answer), took the stage at 11:31 to steal SNL‘s thunder, at least for one night. (If the cancellation has left you feeling a void, you can watch the first episode in its entirety on Comedy Central on December 1st at 3 p.m.)
Since that initial bang, the show has slowly declined, while giving rise to C-list stars like Artie Lange, Orlando Jones, and Caliendo. But we’ll always remember it primarily for the aggressively unfunny yet captivating skit that centered around the ever-quotable catchphrase “He look like a man.”
MADtv, you’ll be missed…by someone. You peaked too soon.