Best Comedy TV (Part 6)

The Drew Carey Show

I was always amused by Drew Carey’s stand-up act, so I looked forward to seeing what he’d do on his own TV show.

Good grief.

With all good comedy shows, the supporting cast is critical, and success was pretty much guaranteed by Carey’s addition of his Whose Line buddy Ryan Stiles (Lewis), the hilarious Diedrich Bader (was there ever a better comedy screen name than Oswald Lee Harvey?) and the wonderful Kathy Kinney (as Mimi):

…as well as the brilliant Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson as his alcoholic boss, Nigel Wick — there was no way this show wasn’t going to be funny.

What made it all the better — and Hollywood used to know this formula, but had forgotten it somehow — was that the show took place not in New York or Los Angeles, but in Flyover Country’s capital, Cleveland OH.  Cleveland?  And it worked, brilliantly.  Carey’s “ordinary-guy” schtick was perfectly cast against the insanity of his surrounding characters and the plotlines, and it too was one of the few TV shows I’d stay home to watch, or at least set up for recording on the VCR (younger Readers can ask their dads to explain this reference).

But nothing — repeat nothing — in TV history could have prepared us for when Drew decided to have an affair with an older woman — but not just any older woman:

Okay, I came late to the Shirley Jones Adoration Society, but if ever there’s a woman who has been gorgeous at whatever age, it’s her:

Was there a man of my generation who did not feel stirrings in his loins when Shirley sashayed down Carey’s stairs for breakfast, wearing nothing but a long nightie?

Comedy gold, as was the entire Drew Carey Show.

6 comments

  1. In the large lady comedienne category I loved Kathy Kinney whereas Melissa McCarthy makes me want to hurl. Perhaps it’s because Kathy is a thousand times better comic actress than Melissa. Christa Miller was a hoot as well in the Drew Carey Show in addition to being exceedingly easy on the eyes.

  2. Craig Ferguson is indeed brilliant.

    He’s now doing stand-up comedy on tour. He’s going to be here in Calgary Canada in October and I bought tickets the day they came available.

    Looking forward to it a lot.

  3. Shirley Jones was my first movie crush as a radiant Marian the Librarian in “The Music Man.” I was only 9 at the time but I knew she was something special.

  4. Drew Carey’s show was, indeed comedy gold; I know nothing about the actors’ real lives (and care even less), but their characters were people whom one often wished were the “friends of friends.” Such people could be encountered and savored in small doses because of that remove. The show trod that fine line between entertaining comedy and network censorship; I wondered at the time if moving it to largely censor-free cable would be a plus or minus and am still undecided (I’m thinking here of Christa Miller’s pager scene, among a number of others). And selection of Cleveland was brilliance – not a single palm tree or Valley Girl anywhere . Quite the opposite, in fact (I even have Cleveland Rocks and The Time Warp as songs on an iPod playlist, and – somewhere – a video of season 2’s New York and Queens episode).

    As for your opinion of Shirley Jones, Kim, I’m afraid you’ve succumbed to the unvirtuousness of inadequacy in your description of her. Stunning beauty, grace and poise, in such proportion as unmatched by others. I will watch reruns of The Partridge Family just to see Shirley Jones on screen, and will forever be insanely jealous of the late Jack Cassidy and Marty Ingels.

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