Because I’m so great at paying proper tribute, and instead focus on parodies:
If there is a place in hell reserved for people who believe their tributes are well-intentioned, but are actually videos of the recently deceased being parodied on 1990s sketch comedy shows…oh heck, I’ve already reserved my spot there.
Let’s just keep right on going! At this rate, I’ve got nothing to lose.
I found out this morning (the morning that I’m writing this) that Alan Thicke passed away on December 13, 2016. For those of us who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was the father of the Seaver family on the sitcom Growing Pains. If you’re like me, you watched it. And if you were a teenage girl in the mid-1980s, you probably watched for Kirk Cameron. I was quite young, and my heart already was reserved for Jason Bateman.
Again, if you have ever met me (or grew up during that time), you understand what I’m talking about.
You may or may not know this, but Alan Thicke had a talk show at one time, called Thicke of the Night. It was syndicated by MGM Television and Metromedia (which means it probably aired on what are now Fox stations). It aired from 1983-1984, was 90 minutes (shortened to 60 minutes), and was meant to capitalize on his successful daytime talk show, The Alan Thicke Show. That show enjoyed a much more successful run on Canadian television from 1976 until 1980.
But one thing really bothers me about the show’s swift cancellation…how the theme song didn’t propel it to unbelievable heights?
Uploaded by West Coast 99
You can thank Thicke AND David Foster (yes, THAT David Foster) for co-composing this song. And if you need further proof that anything Foster composes can sound epic, you probably should read this post I wrote. (Yes, I wrote all of those posts. I also wrote this one).
And then his late night talk show happened. It was supposed to be a rival to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (no one seemed to know when to not try to rival The Tonight Show back in the day, did they?), but it flopped. We don’t weep for him, because we know everything turned out fine in the end, and he became the White Cliff Huxtable.
What? You can’t tell me you haven’t drawn that comparison at least once!
Flash forward six years after Thicke of the Night’s cancellation. The year was 1990.
There was a new-ish network, approximately three years old. It had shows that have become pop culture icons today, but in 1990, they were considered edgy and sometimes controversial. The network itself couldn’t even hold a candle to the “Big Three.” Times have changed, but in 1990, it was a whole other network chaste system.
One show from Fox’s early days was the variety show In Living Color, which strived to break down cultural walls and be the primetime version of Saturday Night Live. For a few years, it was pretty good. But then that last season happened, and yeah, it was pretty bad.
In 1990, Jim Carrey was a star on the rise. He was a standout talent whose ability to impersonate not only through voice, but through facial expressions and gestures, made him a force to be reckoned with, if you liked his humor. Not everyone did.
Another way he stood out? He was the only white male on In Living Color, which meant he also had to be able to impersonate famous white male celebrities.
One of those impressions was Alan Thicke.
I knew I hadn’t seen any kind of Alan Thicke impersonation on Saturday Night Live before, but I knew I had seen this take on Thicke guest-hosting The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where Joan Embry brings on one of the rare and exotic species she always specialized in. And wow, Carrey nails his Thicke impression, right down the right perfectly-coiffed wig and voice. Maybe it was that whole Canadian thing, I have no idea.
In this sketch, from the show’s first season, “Joan Embry” brings on the “rare” “Homeboy Sapien Africanas” (forgive me for sounding really white!). I could say more, but you really should see it to believe it.
Uploaded by Ezra Bufford
And after seeing Tommy Davidson wrap (and “Alan Thicke” dance), I’m convinced he probably did this AND invented #whitepeopledancing.
And then Kenny Loggins fans took it a step further.
With all seriousness, rest in peace, Alan Thicke, and thank you for the laughs and being one of those TV dads ’80s babies can remember fondly.
Also remembered fondly?
Uploaded by West Coast 99
Allison 100% admires anyone who can compose songs that people will never get out of their heads. That pretty much follows suit with some of the nostalgia Allison writes about over on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and find her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
She’s laughing that you’ll never get that song out of your head.