Monday, August 12, 2013


HBO has always been the biggest risk taker in television.  After pioneering pay television back in the late 70's, HBO figured out early that in order to get an edge over other pay television channels it would have to develop its own regular programming above and beyond the odd t.v. special.  One of the facets of HBO made it stand out from the start was its dedication to COMEDY specials and programming.  Not being tied down by FCC rules, or any other forms of censorship, HBO was free (within reason) to do practically anything it wanted.

In 1994 HBO decided to do just that.

HBO commissioned an 11 episode sketch comedy series called "Hardcore TV" from two unknowns, David Kolin and Steve Kerper who had previously worked on the short lived MTV "Pirate TV" back in 1990, long before MTV succumbed to 24/7 reality shows.

There is little to no information about Kerper anywhere, but Kolin was a dentist before deciding in the early 80's to go into comedy.  Kolin is now a partner of a group of radio stations and does voice over work and apparently has his own radio show.  There is little to no information on the net about HCTV either due to its short run, and that it has never been released on home video (as is the case with most of HBO's niche original programming).

The best way to describe it is that it is the utter embodiment of the television shows that people would watch in the future reality as presented by the movie "Idiocracy."

HCTV featured shows such as "Fly fishing Jam,"

"This Old Whore House."

 "Rastapiece Theater," 

 "Bensonhurst 11120"

HCTV also featured numerous parody video crossovers, such as "Berney" an X rated version of the children's purple dinosaur "Barney," which actually starts off as if it were an HBO comedy special, "It could only happen on HBO."

Another favorite was "Raging Bullwinkle."

As well as commercials for "Tits and Ass" beer.

And "Otter Scrubber Lager"

The show was hosted by veteran comedian David Konig who walked around a set that looked like a Salvador Dali painting while he commented on previous sketches, or set up the upcoming ones, or joined in on the jokes.

Griffin Gilbert of Variety wrote regarding HCTV:

March 4, 1993 | 11:00PM PT

"Hardcore TV," an adults-only comedy series consisting of sketches linked by preppy-looking host David Konig, achieves its goal of shattering stereotypes, but also encourages it on other levels. Show, overabundant in profanity and nudity, should prove popular."

It is puzzling why the show wasn't a success.  It was very well written and performed by Kerper and Kolin and actor Tim Blake Nelson who did (from what I can remember) mostly all of the show's writing with Kerper and Kolin It wasn't perfect, but dammit, it was SOLID.

Tim Blake Nelson as "Bob Ross" in "The Joy of Tattooing" 

The show featured a lot of star cameos, and even some stars who would reappear years later on other HBO shows, such as Susie Essman's from "Curb your Enthusiam," and "The Sopranos" Michael Imperioli.

One can now only guess why HCTV didn't make it, but one thing is certain, it did open the comedic flood gates at HBO, and HBO was seemingly more willing to take a risk on future shows, such as "Mr. Show with Bob and David."  I'd like to think that HCTV opened the door that Mr. Show would later walk through.

Sadly, HCTV is not available on home video, but it darn well should be.  You can find some of the sketches by searching on youtube, as well as parts of episodes on youtube and full episodes scattered all over the internet.

Below is the credits of the show for history:

Hardcore Tv

(Sat. (6), 12:30-1 a.m., HBO)


Taped by Pirate Prods. for HBO. Exec producers-writers, David Kolin, Steve Kerper; supervising producer, Deborah H. Liebling; director, Alan Cohn.


Camera, Paul Koestner; editors, Cohn, Jim Romaine; sound, Michael Levy, Paul Alvarez-Moran, Jerry Stein; art director, Edy Ferguson; music, Mark Richardson.


Host: David Konig. 
Cast: Greer Barnes, Randy Cameron, Susie Essman, Claudia Fielding, Laurence Mason, Anna Thomson, Joe Furey, Wes Heywood, David Kolin, Paula Lenske, Theresa Lyn, Leonard Marshall, Mia Nolan, Thea Nolan, Rick Pasqualone, James Rosenthal, Danny Bonaduce, Maria Cantone, Kimberly Flynn, Ray Mancini, Alan Mintz, Tim Blake Nelson, Billy Padgett, Larry Block, Patrick J. Frederic, Artie Fuqua, Jeff Lagemen, Stephen Pearlman, Gregory Wolfe.

1 comment:

  1. I found this article while Googling myself. Yes, that's sad isn't it? Good write up!

    Dave Konig
    (preppy looking, veteran comedian)