Fourteen years. That's how long it's been since KING-TV canceled Almost Live, our local answer to Saturday Night Live that launched more than a few careers (Joel McHale, Lauren Weedman) and was picked up by Comedy Central at one point during its run from 1984–1999.
But you wouldn't know time has passed if you were watching KING5 at 1am on Saturday night. Almost Live alum John Keister and Pat Cashman, along with Pat's son Chris Cashman, were up to old tricks (well, recently updated tricks) with their new sketch-comedy show The (206), a half-hour send-up of our regional quirks. It's not Almost Live reincarnated—there's no Nancy Guppy, no High Fiving White Guys—but with Keister and Cashman at the helm, the sense of humor's familiar (and welcome).
Keister's version of the Weekend Update news report, The John Report, is now The 411, and there's still lots to say about Renton. One of the funniest bits brought us to Renton Abbey, where the chili's on the stove, the table's set with the finest plastic utensils, and drama ensues when John discovers he's out of his favorite beer (Mickey's, wide-mouth bottle).
As the name of the program indicates, local stereotypes are the staple joke—like the Eastern v. Western Washington rivalry (us with our "gay viaduct tunnel agenda")—while recent news (the legalization of pot, the Sonics saga) makes for easy pickings. It's great to see these guys back on television, and as long as Saturday Night Live keeps having hosts like Louis C. K. as lead-ins, The (206) should pick up some new fans along with those looking for a touch of Almost Live.
Airs Saturdays after SNL on KING5