Smith and Jones Cable
The year was 1996. Bill Clinton was just beginning his second term as President of the United States, and Monica Lewinsky was two years away from the public consciousness. The “Macarana” was the latest dance craze and Alanis Morissette taught the world a new meaning for the word “ironic.” Other than that stuff, nothing much happened. Oh yeah, one more thing: Smith and Jones Cable was born. If you were a late-night public access television viewer in the Portland Oregon area between the years 1996 and 2001, chances are you saw at least one episode of Smith and Jones Cable. It was the sketch-comedy show created by me, Mykal Lewis and Loren Coulter. We worked together at Multnomah Community Television (“MCTV”) and decided that we would like to create the kind of television show that we would want to watch. I had a few short films left over from my school days and we had unlimited access to MCTV’s studio, camera and editing facilities, so we took our shot. I wrote most of the material, in my slow, methodical way, while Mykal did all of the heavy lifting acting-wise. He had actual acting chops where I had none at all. He could sink himself into a character and do accents and show emotion, where I played the same part pretty much every time. I actually wrote the scripts in a way that it would be easy for me to perform, but would stretch Mykal’s considerable skills. Loren came along a bit later and added professional editing and graphics touches that Mykal and I couldn’t match.
We produced five episodes in about four years. Not exactly prolific. It was difficult because both Mykal and Loren had wives and actual lives to lead. I had neither of those things, but lacked the inspiration and skill to do any more than was done. But looking back, I’m very proud of what we accomplished. The shows were uniformly good – even great at times – and we received a lot of very favorable feedback from people who saw the show and took the time to email us.
Below is a smattering of clips from the series. The clips are mostly from the last two shows, but I’ll post earlier ones as I get time.
The moment with the cat and the drill was our absolute high point and has generated a lot of (mostly) positive feedback.