Cable Show Is 'Something Stupid'

Duo Produces Half-hour Satire For Channel 55

April 22, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — TV evangelism -- with all the glitter, gaud and glib gab -- has arrived in Carroll County.

But don't take these pleas for money seriously. It's only Chuck Bollinger and Tom Crowl producing a skit for thenext episode of "Something Stupid."

"We're not trying to make fun of religion," said Crowl, a native of Westminster. "Just trying to poke a little fun at the style of TV evangelists."

In the first episode, which will re-air at 7 p.m tomorrow on Carroll Community Television's Channel 55, the Rev. TV Dollar (played by Bollinger) receives a message from God that he will die if he doesn't raise $10 million.

When the money doesn't appear, Dollar is killed by divine intervention, only to be resurrected by the Rev. Jerry Fowl (played by the Crowl) in the next show.

"We figured if it worked for Bobby Ewing in 'Dallas,' why not the Rev. TV Dollar?" Bollinger said.

Other skits in the half-hour program include achef who instructs his audience how to make frozen dinners and two New York cons who teach classes in their own special type of driving, modeling, banking and religion.

A future episode will feature Crowl's wife, Dierdre Derbus, as Leona Helmsley promoting a new perfume.

"We don't want to get into dark comedy," Crowl said. "We're mainlytrying to be like the early versions of 'Saturday Night Live.' But then, we don't want to turn into another 'Laugh-In' either."

Eventually the duo, professional magicians who met while working at the Fish Market entertainment complex in Baltimore, would like to expand thecast.

Any community member who has an interest in comedy is invited to try out for an interview or pitch an idea for a sketch.

"We don't want this to turn into the 'Chuck, Tom and Dierdre Show,' " Crowl said. "We'd really like to get together a troupe and just take it wherever it goes."

Ideas for the programs, which are ad-libbed, come from Crowl and Bollinger's phone conversations. While brainstorming for "strange television shows" the pair could produce, they form the skits and jot down rough outlines.

"We're ad-libbing just to amuse ourselves," Crowl said. "We're just talking to try and make ourselves laugh."

Even the show's title started out as a one-liner.

"I said to Chuck, 'What are we going to call this show?' And he said 'Oh, probably something stupid,' " Crowl said.

Crowl, a volunteer producer at Channel 55, has also created "The Magic of Tom Crowl and the Mrs.," a show teaching young, aspiring magicians a few tricks. However, the couple's livelihood comes from the comical magic routine they take around the country and abroad.

"There's a lot of comedy inmy (magic) act, but it's very family-oriented and just designed for the show," Crowl said, stressing that it is very different from the "Something Stupid" style.

"At first, I was afraid that (Something Stupid) might hurt what I do," Crowl said. "But, then, I realized I don't do much work around here anyway. (Something Stupid) is just a wayto do something with some of the goofball things I do."

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