The 70’s was full of sketch comedy movies. Some of these, like Kentucky Fried Movie are great. Most of them are hit and miss. The Groove Tube falls into the latter category.
The film gets off to an inauspicious start with an obvious and not very funny 2001 parody. Then we’re treated to a kid’s show host named Koko the Clown who reads dirty book excerpts during “Make Believe Time” as well as a stupid cooking show send-up, There’s also a film-within-a-film called “Dealers” (which features a random trippy animation scene for no apparent reason whatsoever) that is completely devoid of laughs.
The Groove Tube may contain a lot of long laughless lulls but when it is funny, it’s really funny. My favorites sketches included a brutally honest Barbie commercial, a clever variation on “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” phone book ads, and “The Sex Olympics”; which is more or less just a stag movie with hilarious sports commentary. The VD awareness spot made me laugh pretty hard too.
I guess the most important part of the movie is the fake news broadcast. While it’s not really all that funny (although I did like the part where they used scenes from Radar Men from the Moon as footage from a Russian missile launch), it should be noted that this is basically where Saturday Night Live stole the idea for Weekend Update from. SNL even stole co-star Chevy Chase from this movie too.
The Groove Tube has a mercifully short running time (71 minutes) which helps, but far too many of the sketches go on a lot longer than they should have. The flick could’ve used some more ruthless editing, although I still don’t think it would’ve mattered much. A few of the sketches are filled with gratuitous nudity (including porn star Jennifer Welles), so that was nice.
Director Ken Shapiro later re-teamed with Chase for the underrated Modern Problems.