Historically Bad: Pink Lady and Jeff

Whenever you see a "worst TV shows of all time" list, you can bet "Pink Lady and Jeff" made the cut. The show was absolutely insane in that it centered around two women (Pink Lady) who couldn't speak a word of English! The one host who could speak English, comedian Jeff Altman, didn't help matters with some of the worst jokes ever recorded on film. Together their banter can only be called "historically bad". Check out this quote in TV guide which NBC was apparently proud of in 1980:

How could this abomination actually exist? Well, for starters it was brought to you by Sid and Marty Krofft (the same fellas that gave us H. R. Puffinstuf ), so we shouldn't be too surprised.

An interesting fact is that the show was actually named "Pink Lady" (Jeff's name was never really part of the title). It seems Pink Lady was quite the popular act in Japan, and their manager wasn't about to let them share the marquee with some two-bit comedian.

The writer for the show was Mark Evanier. Prior to "Pink Lady", Evanier wrote comic books with the legendary Jack Kirby. Evanier was also the writer for "Welcome Back, Kotter". He's quoted as saying, "I still think that if we could have gotten rid of the Pink Lady part and gone with just Jeff, it would have been a darn good show." Good one, Mark.

One of the worst things I remember from the show was that it ended each week with Pink Lady dragging Jeff fully clothed into a hot tub. It was obviously a flimsy excuse to have the two women in bikinis, but got embarrassing after a while. For this, Mar Evanier should be prosecuted in a court of law.

Despite the shows abysmal failure, Pink Lady returned home to Japan no worse for wear. They were simply too popular in their home country to let a crappy American variety show cramp their style. As you can see from the ad below, they even endorse air conditioners.

Anyway, there's a plethora of information on the show on the internet, so there's really nothing new to tell. However, if you're considering renting or buying this DVD just so you can witness TV at its worst, I beseech you to refrain. It is oh so horribly bad that I'll wager you can't make it through the 8 minute YouTube clip at the end of this post.

In an earlier post I commented on a couple horrible renditions of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album: namely the attempts made by The Bee-Gees and Bill Cosby. I guess I should have included Pink Lady. Their "Pepper Keibu" apparently translates to "Sergeant Pepper" and contains the following profound lyrics:

"Sergeant Pepper! Don't interrupt me. Sergeant Pepper! We are in a verygood mood to have fun more. Your words like injections soaking deep into my heart."

A thanks to Platypus Comix for their nice scans of several Pink Lady TV Guide ads. View them here. Pink Lady also has a great site which contributed the advertisements above.


  1. Christ, how did this one get by me? I have no conscious recollection of this show. God Bless You My Son for unearthing it! Sherman Hemsley, Blondie and Bert Parks - now there's a classic line-up. I do remember that Jeff Altman dude - I also remember that I never laughed with him, mostly AT him. Incidentally that very recording of "Boogie Wonderland" was used in a far more satisfying classic Benny Hill - Hill's Angels number. Hill's Angels - my Gawd, DNA was spilled over them, ahem, not by me of course, no, no, I meant by other lust-ridden adolescents. Not me... Thanks for this post - it's priceless!

  2. AnonymousJuly 23, 2008

    "I didn't know you're honorable ancestors had boogie fever" Haha... I cannot recall this show though I did a lot of 70"s prime time TV watching, but it seems it was for my better. I recall Jeff Altman too, he appeared on the early David Letterman shows as a semi-regular, but never found him as funny as early Jerry Seinfeld or Richard Lewis. This was so bad but I finished it. Give us more of this! Great crap.

  3. This reminds me of how I haven't seen Pink Lady apples in the stores lately... :(

  4. It turns out one of the PINK LADY regulars was Jim Varney, before he became Ernest T. Worrell (and earned his movie deal when Disney head honcho Michael Eisner saw him get the biggest cheers from the audience at the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade, thanks to the numerous TV commercials he did as the character)