Picks and Pans Review: Nothing Upstairs

updated 08/13/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/13/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS (Fri., Aug. 10, 1:30 A.M. ET)


The title might describe the brain matter of the CBS exec who relegated this funny, original skit-com into late-night oblivion. Four of the comedy circuit's best-known stand-ups (Bob Nelson, Paul Provenza, Judy Tenuta, Dennis Wolfberg) star in a plot centered around a bar in a downstairs comedy club.

We never see the performers in stand-up mode, but inventive dream sequences, flashbacks, impressions and freewheeling interplay between the comics and the zonked-out people hanging out in the bar are good compensation.

Okay, so they drag out that old joke about substitute teachers; you know the one—where the kid signs an attendance sheet "Dick Hertz." But this is corn with some nice saucy touches, such as supporting performances by Coati Mundi (of Kid Creole and the Coconuts) as a bartender who thinks he is funny, and Amy Stiller (daughter of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) as a wiseacre waitress. The show (co-exec produced by Alan King) deserves prime-time exposure.

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