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January 6, 2011

Second City doing Baltimore stirs memories of SCTV

Ever since "The Second City Does Baltimore" opened at Center Stage (press night was Wednesday and I'll have my review in a bit), I've been remembering one of the greatest achievements of the celebrated Second City comedy franchise -- SCTV.

That was a product of the Toronto branch of the original Second City in Chicago. At its frequent best, this parody of a television network and its increasingly desperate programming was about as funny as it got back in the day (late '70s, early '80s).

For those of you who may have missed out on the SCTV fun, or could use a refresher, I thought I'd post a taste. (Hey, I need to buy a little time while I finish all my other work.)

Here's the wonderful Andrea Martin and Catherine O'Hara):

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:13 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Drama Queens


At the center of SCTV was the power struggle for control of the network between Guy Caballero (Joe Flaherty), who sometimes used a wheelchair as a sympathy gimmick, and Edith Prickley (Andrea Martin). The characters that populated the fictional network ranged from hilarious (the Shmenge Brothers polka act, Big Jim McBob & Billy Sol Hurok) to dysfunctional (Johnny LaRue, Sammy Maudlin, Bobby Bittman, Lola Heatherton). There was also the news anchor team of Floyd Robertson (Flaherty), who also doubled as horror movie host Count Floyd, and the thoroughly inept Earl Camembert (Eugene Levy). Excruciatingly funny!

Lola interviewing Mother Thersa was but one of the indelible moments I'll always treasure. TIM

I can never forget the Shmenge brothers' arrangement of the Star Wars music for polka band -- no matter how hard I try!

Yes! A priceless classic if there ever was one. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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