Thursday, December 31, 2020

DDT-V (Revisited)

The DDT-V All-Stars
(Can you spot Doug Dieken?)

Fred kept us honest. Any expression of ego was roundly mocked. We were kids, making a cheap comedy show. 

DDT-V (“Lethal Television”) was created by high school and college students, and broadcast intermittently on our community access channel from 1983 to 1986. It was a collection of sketches, fake news shows, and a lot of commercial parodies.

Fred was the driving force, no matter what any of the rest of us thought. He wrote most of the sketches, did so many of the voice-overs, even appeared in front of the camera a couple times.

After he died from a heart attack two years ago (on my fiftieth birthday, as it happened, thanks, Fred) I came into possession of the archive of our work.

Some of it holds up surprisingly well. And even where the humor is a bit obtuse, at least it has style. We used every square foot of the studio building, went all over Bay Village, hosted an entire episode from a booth in the North Olmsted Denny’s, did a location shot outside Cleveland Municipal Stadium downtown. 

When we held a charity baseball game against the high school faculty to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, our team had a ringer in the recently retired Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Doug Dieken.

Cartoon, The Bay Window
March, 1986
Watching these episodes I am able to track my development from a self-conscious freshman to a cocksure senior, which is a blessing and a curse. The one big regret I have, looking back, is that I never wrote anything for the show. That’s not true, I wrote one sketch that was recorded and aired. It’s not great.

I was intimidated. I didn’t know how it was done. Most significantly, I had nothing, at last, to say. I still believe that, at that age, I actually did not have anything of value to say. Or I did not know if I did. Most of what I did write and put out into the world, in the form of op-eds for the weekly high school paper, took the form of snark and grievance.

My editorial cartoons weren’t bad, however. They improved by the year. I suppose there is a lesson in that, that if I had tried to write, at that time, I would eventually come up with something worth being produced.

I guess that is exactly what I have been doing ever since. 

Wishing you creativity and happiness in 2021!

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