The rumored demise of MADtv hit the fans on message boards two days ago, then Defamer and later FOX itself confirmed the news yesterday that the 14th season would be the last for MADtv, which never quite emerged out from the shadows of NBC's Saturday Night Live. MADtv's co-creator David Salzman told both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter that he's already looking at shopping his sketch show — as well as the archives, which end its licensing/rebroadcast deal with Comedy Central at year's end — to other networks. The 326th and final episode will tape in December but air in May. "We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, we’re appreciative of what Fox has done and we don’t think it should be over yet," Salzman told THR.
Even longtime fans of the show realized the end was near, what with wholesale changes in format and the cast in the past couple of years. As SNL rebounded from the writers strike with heightened buzz and record viewership, MADtv failed to get much of a mention, no matter what they tried. Was it their fault, or the network's? This past year, the show seemed to enjoy a new infusion of talent from the likes of Erica Ash, Eric Price and Matt Braunger, a wild variety of skilled celebrity impersonations from Nicole Parker, a multi-episode arc on critical cult fave Mad Men by Crista Flanagan, and one of the better takes on Obama around from Keegan-Michael Key. And yet. Still no goodwill carrying over to the show. I knew the proverbial writing was on the wall two weeks ago when the ladies of The View could not be bothered to care or evern acknowledge they had been spoofed by MADtv, overlooking them for SNL. Not all of the news is dire, though. A few past players, including Alex Borstein, Frank Caliendo, Nicole Sullivan and Artie Lange, have gone on to bigger, higher-profile gigs. Parker herself already left the show this month to return to Broadway for a role in Wicked. Bobby Lee was working on a pilot for Comedy Central. Perhaps everyone will look on this cancellation as a chance to look forward.
So how should we look back on MADtv? How about focusing on some of the highlights. Here are 10 of their better efforts from the past 14 years. Everyone can agree that the show loved spoofing pop culture, and this sketch starring Will Sasso as The Sopranos get edited for PAX-TV nails the concept and execution:
Michael McDonald as Steve Jobs, introducing the latest new iProduct, the iRack:
As someone who still wonders why he watches Heroes, this parody is a nice reminder that I may need to check myself before I wreck myself:
Taking on a highly popular comedian within a sketch comedy show is daring, but Ike Barinholtz hits nail on head here with his impersonation of Dane Cook:
What if those happy animated drug ads were for illegal drugs, such as ecstasy?
Porn stars have to register their names, too:
Alex Borstein had a recurring character called Ms. Swan, and here she is:
Say what you want about Frank Caliendo, but his John Madden is a hit. Millions of football fans and comedy fans cannot be wrong:
Speaking of sports, viewers also loved Keegan-Michael Key's character, Coach Hines:
And here's a recurring sketch from this season featuring the current/final cast in an eHarmony spoof!