Thursday, April 21, 2016

Space Ghost Coast to Coast

     Space Ghost Coast to Coast works well as a snapshot in time. A comedy that started a genre, Space Ghost Coast to Coast relied on its editors and writers to craft an absurdist story in post. 

     After Ted Turner purchased the rights to the Hannah-Barbara collection he asked a young writer, Mike Lazzo, to make him a cartoon for adults. However, Lazzo could only use the materials provided to him, namely a collection of old cartoons. Lazzo took Space Ghost from the show Space Ghost and Dino Boy and repurposed almost all the animation to make Space Ghost host a talk show. 

Lazzo wanted a show "people would pause on" and Space Ghost was the absurd, sometimes anti-comedy, that he wanted. The interviews with real 90's celebrities were recorded and then taken completely out of context. The writers would craft the show completely in post, changing the questions and moving around answers until the interview barely made sense or made the celebrity look bad. All this surround edby a B plot of Space Ghost's employee's; former villains Brak, Zorack, and Moltar all actively despise Space Ghost. 
The show's influence is widespread. It's popularity was at the height of late night talk shows, with the Tonight show being past to either Letterman or Leno and Conan doing more alternative comedy on the Late show. Coast to Coast didn't really fit into traditional programming and thus paved the way for Cartoon Network's late night half Adult Swim. From there shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman were born. Space Ghost is also a huge influence on The Eric Andre Show another surrealist late night show now on Adult Swim with live actors and comedians.

Lazzo himself has said he's done with Space Ghost Coast to Coast and is now an Executive VP at Adult Swim. But the show has lived on in the alternative comedy community for being such a creative idea that changed so much. Space Ghost was ahead of it's time in terms of content manipulation, especially for animation. While the show is not always clear and direct, it is always entertaining watching a giant generic superhero talk to celebrities who don't really know what's going on.

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