America 2-Night (TV Series 1978– ) Poster

(1978– )

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8/10
everyone's favorite talk show
jefu27 June 2001
After "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", we got "Fernwood 2Nite" - a talk show set in Fernwood, then "Forever Fernwood" and finally "America 2Nite". Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) has moved from Fernwood to Hollywood and is now doing a "national" talk show - but he's not lost Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard) or Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers.

Nor has he managed to escape his past or his guests or the incredible tackiness that permeates everything on his TV shows. And, while I sometimes might want to escape - I'm usually stuck, laughing and waiting for the next oddity to come along. But, like most good comedy, the humor is based on human foibles.

It is best experienced as it was produced - as a series tv show, that gives the oddities of Barth and Jerry time to simmer in your brain a bit so that the next time you see them you're ready (or not) for whats going to happen.

Sadly, it seems to have disappeared completely - I just saw a couple of episodes that ended up on the end of video tapes of something else, and was reminded of how good it was and of how well Martin Mull and Fred Willard worked together. They really fit well in the roles and made their characters more than the caricatures they could have been.

Watch these and the next time late night tv has you yawning you can imaging Barth and Jerry instead and it will bring a grin (just like Happy Kyne's).
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8/10
They just don't make 'em like this anymore
huggybear-714 August 2006
I fully expected to see this come back as reruns - was that really 1978? Martin Mull, has always been one of my favourites.

One of my favourites was Episode 11 which featured Anne Murray, but they said because of contractual obligations she couldn't do "Snowbird" live, she had to lip sync it. I believe this was not true, but it just added to the ironic humour that was part of the show. She never did get to do it, although they made numerous tries, errors and miscues (including putting a Jerry Vale version in). At the end she gives up.

It was this sort of making fun of themselves and the industry that made this show a must-watch for me.

There was also one episode (not sure which) that had a contortionist. This young lady came out on stage balancing a glass of water on her head, then drank it - without touching it AND without spilling it. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen one person do.

Frank DeVol, as Happy Kyne, I did not realize how much other work he has done. Played in numerous other programs and movies, as well as doing other theme music. But his general neutral expression and deadpan delivery gave the name "Happy Kyne And The Mirth Makers" almost an ironic twist.
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First-Rate Satire
dougdoepke15 February 2011
Admittedly, I haven't seen the series in many years. I do, however, have a distinct recollection of its droll brand of satiric humor. The series started as a spin-off from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, at a time when Fernwood's main producer Norman Lear was TV's cutting edge.

I liked the series' first incarnation best, ie. Fernwood 2-night, when the show gently chided small town pretensions at hosting a late night talk show modeled on a big network counterpart. Mull played the host whose smarmy ambitions were constantly punctured by his rather dim-witted sidekick Fred Willard, with humorous bandleader Happy Kine (great name! actually a sly Frank De Vol) in the background. Together, they formed the series nightly draw.

However, the show's delight, for me at least, was never knowing what small town character might show up from night to night. My favorites were blowhard, William W D Bud Prize ("just call me Milton", or some such), played to asinine perfection by Kenneth Mars; or no-talent lounge singer Tony Roletti, done to preening perfection by Bill Kirchenbauer; or Fannie Flagg's prissy, slightly addled librarian (I believe). These might be followed by a tacky specialty act, such as a goofy contortionist or a misfiring animal act. The result was a deftly done parody maybe produced in somebody's garage with used furniture and a collection of slightly off-kilter neighbors.

I don't recall much of the second year. My guess is that the first year was a particular success among industry insiders, such that the second year format altered to accommodate celebrity guests. Whatever the reasoning, I expect there's still enough fans out there to warrant a revival of some sort, probably DVD. Besides I'm still wondering whether Bud Prize's "chin-odontics" contraption finally worked.
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