Twenty years ago this week, NewsRadio premiered on NBC. It was never a ratings smash, but it’s one of the most beloved television shows among those who know it. Outlandishly bizarre with the kind of meta moments other shows wouldn’t try, NewsRadio was basically Community before there ever was a Community. The show gave us five years of comedy greatness and four years solidifying Phil Hartman as one of the funniest people who ever lived. If you never discovered this gem, here are 20 reasons why it’s not too late to start now:
Hartman’s Bill McNeal was insane, but dammit if he wasn’t a committed radio professional giving it his all, no matter the job.
It taught us about friendship.
It was simply bursting with adequatulence.
Adequacy is the hallmark of great journalism.
Because Jimmy James was a great boss and a macho business donkey wrestler.
“Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no.”
It reminded us that Dave Foley makes a really hot chick.
Seriously. Phil Hartman was just the best person.
As evidenced by this story from Maura Tierney:
Joe Rogan was being so f*cking mean to me one day — and mostly we were all friends, but Joe could be a weirdo — and I was sort of upset about it, so I was just sitting over in the corner. And Phil came over and put his arm around me, and he said, “You know, I just want to tell you you’re loved.” Isn’t that really nice? I know you expected me to tell some wacky story about Phil, but he was like that, too. He just put his arm around me and said that. He was so sweet. He was a really nice man.”
It gave a voice to the people.
Chock full o’Nuts? NewsRadio was chock full of flavor.
“I’ve been better. Coughed up something that looked liked escargot this morning.”
It taught us the importance of eyes… and the lack of importance of a soul.
They really cared about their fans.
It taught us the vital difference between pretty and cute.
There’s a difference, of course.
It kept us wanting more.
It taught us the importance of good cane weather.
Everybody loves a cane.
It taught us how to handle adulthood.
It taught us how to always see the bright side.
It knew the importance of advertising.
“Not to mention Kermit the damn Frog!”
It was well-versed in sports.
It finally took that cheap slut Katharine Hepburn down a peg.
It made us laugh (about Canada).
“Just because we are Canadian does not mean we are spies!”
And it made us cry.