Pink Lady and Jeff

NBC (ended 1980)


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Pink Lady and Jeff

Show Summary

This short-lived variety series is generally regarded as one of television's all-time worst clunkers. The premise was simple and ill-conceived: take two Japanese pop-singers (Mie and Kei) who spoke virtually no English and pair them with an American comedian (Jeff Altman) and give them a variety show. The girls would perform their cover versions of Top 40 hits, and then do an opening monologue with the guy in the tuxedo. (The resemblance to The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour was purely intentional.) He would explain to them what American culture was like and they would mangle words and deliver lame jokes about Godzilla, for example. Pink Lady participated in a minor way in the sketches, with most of the work falling on Altman. He did his regular collection of characters from his stand-up act (a TV evangelist, a mixed-up boxer); plus what few impressions he did were shoe-horned into already out-of-date, hokey material. (Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Johnny Carson were impersonated.) Each show ended with the girls in bikinis in a hot tub and poor Jeff being pulled/pushed/thrown into the water while still in his tuxedo. Since the show was produced by Sid and Marty Kroft, it had the same look as their other variety series of that era. Like Donnie and Marie and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, the sets were colorful, gaudy and glittery and the music leaned towards disco. The laugh and applause tracks were both highly exaggerated.moreless
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  • I still don't believe I watched this show.

    Pink Lady and Jeff was a comedy/variety show that NBC unleashed in the spring of 1980. It lasted all of four episodes. Pink Lady itself was a popular Japanese singing duo(popular in Japan, that is),and Jeff was Jeff Altman, a decent comedian,although you couldn't tell from this show. The two gals of Pink Lady, Mie and Kei, spoke very little English, and most of the comedy skits centered around the problems they had dealing with American customs. Jim Varney, of 'Ernest' fame, was one of the regular cast members. Musical guests included Blondie, Cheap Trick, and Roy Orbison. Pink Lady and Jeff went way beyond being merely bad, and entered into a whole other realm of televised weirdness. The show lasted just long enough for Saturday Night Live to make fun of it, and then was gone forever.moreless
  • Lost in translation...

    No one can argue that Pink Lady & Jeff was one of TV history's biggest fiascoes, but a fiasco made all the memorable thanks to the combined talents of Fred Silverman & Brandon Tartikoff at good ol' NBC.

    For those not familiar with this goose egg of a variety show, Pink Lady (Mie Nemoto & Kei Masuda) were a J-Pop duo from Japan who were quite popular back in their homeland & yet under the mistaken idea that they could be just as big here in the States, just like the home-grown Monkees were a decade earlier. Not only they suffered the indignity of being the first ever headliners with a VERY limited grasp of the English vernacular, but they were also paired off with Jeff Altman, a comic of dubious luminosity.

    Mercifully, this show was put out of its misery after 4 episodes. As for Pink Lady, both Mie & Kei are happily back in Japan enjoying a renaissance of their past pop star days. Oh, & the reason i gave this forgettable show such an unworthy rating is that the only thing i remember seeing on that show back then were the 2 girls in their swimsuits entering a hot tub, while a beefy Japanese guy kept that dork, Jeff from joining them in the tub at the end of the show.

    Ain't that weird?moreless
  • NOTE TO READERS: The era of the Variety Show was not dead yet but on life support.

    My Witness to Television History and Jeff.

    As a child growing up in Hollywood we, got to take some great school field trips. We would go to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater or the Mark Taper Forum to see plays, the ballet and the opera. In the late 70's budgets for these field trips were cut. So now our trips consisted of going to NBC Burbank to see a taping of "Real People" . One day (Nov. 1979), my drama class from Bancroft Junior High School went to NBC Burbank to see a pilot for a new show called "Pink Lady". The show featured two Japanese girls (a singing duo called Pink Lady) Mie (Mitsuyo Nemoto) and Kei (Keiko Masuda) who were a big hit in Japan giving sell out concerts. Someone (Fred Silverman) thought that they could conquer American television and gave them a Variety Show.

    The girls were teamed up with a talented comedian named Jeff Altman who served as comic relief and emcee. We watched poor Jeff Altman trying to do some comedic banter with these two girls who could barley speak English. This banter was so bad that it made the bad pre-scripted banter given by award show presenters look like an evening with Nichols and May.

    We could hear every bad World War II joke imaginable from the audience and the back stage crew. These jokes became even more funny when Jeff introduced the girl's who were going to sing a traditional Japanese song. The girls came out in kimonos and sang a few bars in Japanese. Then they ripped off their kimonos to reveal skimpy sailor outfits. A backdrop rises from the floor giving the appearance that they are on the deck of a battle ship. The girls break into the Village People's "In the Navy". Followed by more banter with Jeff (See quote below).

    The show ended with the girls dragging Jeff kicking and screaming into a hot tub. What young heterosexual male would turn down an invitation into a hot tub by two sexy bikini clad Japanese girls in the pre safe sex world of the late 70s early 80s? Just as Jeff is starting to enjoy himself in the hot tub when a big guy (Ed Nakamoto) immerges from the water dressed as a samurai.

    Who knew that we would be the first to witness a show that would later make many "Worst TV Show Lists". Actually the show we saw would be re-shot on a different stage but sadly most of the material was used again.

    The best part of the day was in between scenes where Jeff Altman kept my drama class entertained by doing his boxer (Leonard Moon) character, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Johnny Carson. He also did some of his Stand-up routine including some blue and pot material. It would be years before we were old enough to see that type or performance at the Comedy Store. For my friends and I, who at the time dreamt of being the next Robin Williams or Not Ready for Prime Time Player, we were amazed at his talent. We loved that he did not talk down to us. He showed us the professionalism that our drama teacher Mr. Holland tried to teach us. I got to meet Jeff Altman years later at a comedy club, but I didn't want to mention the show.

    Thank you, Jeff for the field trip.

    To quote Jeff Altman (speaking to the girls after the "In the Navy" number), "I didn't know that your honorable ancestors had Boogie Fever".

    Stay Tuned

    Tony Figueroa

    PS: I also want to thank my friend Richard who gave a Pink Lady and Jeff DVD that brought back all these memories.moreless