This Week In Joe’s Basement, episode 17: Viewer Response

AIR DATES: July 23, 30, 1990


Early episodes of Joe’s Basement are suffused with a fatalistic sense that the producers are making the show only for themselves.  It’s both freeing – who cares if we fail? – yet desperate – is anybody watching?

That era ended abruptly when a deluge of viewers phoned in during the broadcasts of “Episode 16: Joe Eats Real Dog Food.”  This episode shows those phone conversations, and some responses from the Joe’s Basement crew.

More than a few confused channel-flippers weigh in, but many callers are devoted fans with odd requests.  A man demands that the shows creators all get jobs.  A woman asks if the Mole – that surreal, hairy video creation – has a girlfriend. The Mole pops up and re-enacts their date and subsequent passionate encounter.

Production Notes:

Just as Joe’s Basement only took mail at a P.O. Box, none of the crew were willing to use their phone number for the call-in show.  Fortunately, they gained access to a building with two pay phones at the nearby University of Chicago, and used those.  Since they never encountered any resistance, Joe’s Basement would continue to use that setup for call-in shows over the next three years.



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