Not Necessarily the News


Part two of today’s birthday tribute to comic actor Stuart Pankin (for part one go here). Here’s a show that was not only quite prominent for a time, but was actually on tv for years and years (eight to be exact) and now seems to be utterly swallowed up by time, its former cast members either toiling away at second career day jobs, or still slugging away at show business as though their hit show had never happened.

HBO’s Not Necessarily the News was on from 1982 until 1990 (which I confess astounds me to learn. I was a regular viewer only until some time in 1985). It was an extremely middle-of-the-road, middlebrow show, occasionally funny of course, but catering to mainstream tastes, offending nobody, and maybe this is why it has been forgotten. That, and the fact that “comedy news” was hardly an original concept even then. The first was David Frost’s That Was the Week That Was in the early 60s, then there was Laugh-In Looks at the News, then “Weekend Update” on SNL — this is the tip of the iceberg.

The cast included Pankin from 1982 to 1985, and also Rich Hall, Jan Hooks (for one year), Audrie J. Neenan, Danny Breen, Mitchell Laurance, and two comedy hotties (who were not too funny but they were terribly cute. There’s a long tradition of that in show business): Anne Bloom and Lucy Webb. Much as I enjoy Pankin, you can guess who I usually tuned in to see).

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