Bizarre (TV series)
Bizarre was a weekly Canadian TV sketch comedy series, airing from
1980to 1985. The show was hosted by John Byner, and produced by the CTV television networkat the CFTO Glen-Warren Studios in suburban Toronto.
The series contained slapstick sketches, monologues, TV parodies, and performances by guest stand-up comics. Interactions between John and members of the studio audience, or show producer Bob Einstein, who often came in to halt a sketch midway through, provided an early example of removing the
fourth wall. Much of the humour on the show was considered risque during the original run of the series.
Two versions of the show were produced: episodes that aired on the
Showtimecable network in the United States contained nudity and coarse language. The versions that aired on CTV (and later in syndication) had the nudity removed and the language bleeped by a horn-honking sound. Although the "adult" version is most closely associated with Showtime, it did go out on a few independent TV stations during the 1980s, playing as late-night fare, although the "clean" version is the one that was more commonly found in syndication.
The "adult" version was also shown regionally on
ITVin the United Kingdom, usually airing after 11 PM and with some of the more extreme language bleeped out conventionally.
Sketches containing nudity were censored for Canadian television and syndication by the inclusion of reverse angle scenes originally filmed from behind nude actors (generally women baring their breasts) or else alternate scenes that had been filmed with the models wearing a bra.
The "adult" version has not aired on television since the Showtime airings and original syndication ceased in the late 1980s. The syndicated episodes have been rebroadcast since. The show continues to be broadcast to this day in Canada; with the country's "
Canadian Content" rule, Canadian TV stations are required to air a certain percentage of Canadian-produced product per week.
DVDs of the unedited version, titled The Best of Bizarre Uncensored, started appearing in late 2005 from Canadian video label
Visual Entertainmentand are available to buy from Canadian & US retailers. Nine volumes have been released as of July, 2007, although volume 7 included a mastering fault that rendered nearly half of the episodes unwatchable. VEI asked consumers to return the defective disc to the retail they purchased it from, ask for a refund, and watch for announcements for a "new" volume 7. As of December 03, 2007, the corrected volume 7 still has not surfaced.
While the episodes appear to be uncensored regarding language and nudity, most of them are missing their original end credits, which included plugs for the
Royal YorkHotel in Torontoand Tilden Rent-A-Car. The only episodes to retain their original end credits are ones where live-action sketches are still taking place while the credits roll, and even those episodes have the sponsorship plugs removed. A generic "DVD credits" roll appears on each disc to give credit to the people who worked on the show.
uper Dave Osborne
A regular feature of the show was
Super Dave Osborne, played by Bob Einstein, in which "Super Dave" would perform elaborate mock stunts meant to enthrall viewers; a reporter would assist in framing the sketch. Inevitably, the stunt would fail spectacularly, resulting in severe, hilarious injury to Super Dave. These sketches would usually finish with a view of the scene, in which Super Dave was buried, encased, launched etc., as appropriate for the sketch. Meanwhile, feigning agony, Super Dave would discuss sundry details - information about the next show, why the stunt failed, or what he'd do to the reporter once he recovered from his injuries.
As usual for "Bizarre", the Super Dave sketches contained coarse language, but led to a spin-off series ("Super Dave") with a more friendly style.
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