Friday, December 03, 2021

Fri-Yay: It’s Always Sunny Returns, Bold and Funny as Ever; Jon Stewart Joins Live in Front of a Studio Audience for The Facts of Life; Remembering Eddie Mekka of Laverne & Shirley

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

by Vincent

This week, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia returned for its landmark 15th season on FX. The show has remained one of the funniest shows on TV through and through, and even though it isn't always as consistent as it was in its prime, it's incredible that it still manages to be as funny and consistent as it has been.

Always Sunny season 15 has promised to bring some of the realities of our world to the show's twisted universe. Being the show's first season since 2019, the world has obviously become a very different place since then, and without giving too much away, the premiere addresses this in typically funny Always Sunny ways. The ending of the episode in particular is one for the ages, and shows that even as the world changes, Always Sunny will always be its twisted, reliable self.


Jon Stewart

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes adds more star power to its cast ahead of the live show airing on ABC, Tuesday, Dec. 7 (8:00-9:30 p.m. EST). Jon Stewart takes on a mystery role in The Facts of Life episode. Who will he play? You'll have to tune-in to see! There will be other special cameos as well. Still no word on which episodes are being recreated, but for Diff'rent Strokes the word is that it will be "Willis' Privacy" from season one which had Arnold as Super Arnold.

The live special event produced by Sony Pictures Television will feature reenactments of the hit series The Facts of Life, created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, and Diff'rent Strokes, created by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris, and will reunite executive producers Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows. Previously announced cast members taking on the famed Diff'rent Strokes roles include John Lithgow, who will play Mr. Drummond; Kevin Hart, assuming the role of Arnold; and Damon Wayans, who will play Willis. The Facts of Life will feature Jennifer Aniston, playing the role of Blair; Gabrielle Union, taking on the role of Tootie; Allison Tolman, who will play Natalie; Kathryn Hahn, recreating the role of Jo; and Ann Dowd, who will tackle the role of Mrs. Garrett in both episodes.

Eddie Mekka

Actor Eddie Mekka, who was best known for his role as Carmine Ragusa on Laverne & Shirley, has died. He died in Newhall, California, on November 27. Mr. Mekka was 69.

Laverne & Shirley

Mekka starred as Carmine Ragusa on the 1976-1983 ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. He appeared in 150 of the 178 episodes during the show's eight seasons. Carmine was Shirley's (Cindy Williams) high-school sweetheart and on-again, off-again romance. He was known by the name "The Big Ragoo" and was a part-time boxer and former Golden Gloves champion. He owns a dance studio and was constantly working to make it big as a dancer and singer. Mekka appeared as Carmine Ragusa in two episodes of Happy Days. The cast of Laverne & Shirley also included Penny Marshall, Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Phil Foster, Betty Garrett (1976-1981), Carole Ita White (1976-1977), Ed Marinaro (1980-1981) and Leslie Easterbrook (1980-1983).

Blansky's Beauties - Eddie Mekka and Nancy Walker

He starred as Joey DeLuca on the short-lived 1977 ABC sitcom Blansky's Beauties. Joey DeLuca was the choreographer of the Las Vegas showgirls' big numbers at the Oasis Hotel. He was a younger cousin to Carmine Ragusa, Mekka's 1950s-era character on Laverne & Shirley. The Garry Marshall created and produced series also starred Nancy Walker, Caren Kaye, Lynda Goodfriend, Johnny Desmond, Scott Baio, George Pentecost, Taaffe O'Connell, Rhonda Bates, Bond Gideon, Gerri Reddick, Shirley Kirkes, Antoinette Yuskis, Jill Owens, Elaine Bolton and Pat Morita.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat (3 episodes), The Munsters Today, Family Matters (2 episodes), California Dreams, Dream On, Weird Science, The Jamie Foxx Show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Pastor Greg (2 episodes) and Childrens Hospital.

Some of his drama guest appearances included Fantasy Island (4 episodes), Moonlighting, True Blue, The Big Easy, Power Rangers Wild Force, 24, Crossing Jordan and ER. His soap opera guest appearances included Guiding Light, The Bold and the Beautiful, Sunset Beach and The Young and the Restless.

He had a small role as the dance partner of Mae (Madonna) in the bar in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, which was directed by Penny Marshall. Some of his other film credits included Top of the World (1997), Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), Dreamgirls (2006) and C Me Dance (2009). He played Detective Murdoch in the 1998 Fox television movie Catch Me If You Can.

Mekka was also known for his theater work. He was nominated for Broadway's 1975 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for The Lieutenant. He performed in Hairspray at the Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada and in a national tour of Grease with Cindy Williams.

Eddie Mekka

Mr. Mekka was a man of many talents as an actor, dancer and singer. He was very funny and memorable as Carmine Ragusa. We thank him for the laughs and entertainment he brought us. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our Laverne & Shirley message board. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, November 26

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 21)

Friday, November 25

  • Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G./30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Watch Tracy on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Zach Woods (Avenue 5/Silicon Valley/Playing House/The Office) - Zach appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine/Friends/Sydney/Boys Will Be Boys) - Matthew chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Tisha Campbell (Uncoupled/Outmatched/Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha discusses the TV series Uncoupled on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Rosie O'Donnell (SMILF/Stand By Your Man/Gimme a Break!) - Rosie is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tyler James Williams (Abbott Elementary/Go On/Everybody Hates Chris) - Tyler appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Regina Hall (Black Monday/Grandfathered/Second Generation Wayans) - Regina is a guest on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Howie Mandel (Good Grief) - Howie appears on a repeat of The Jennifer Hudson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia uses leftover fruit to make a quick dessert on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ballers) - Emayatzy talks about Hulu's Reasonable Doubt ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am and on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - NBC's Today has Thanks & Giving Finale with Marlo and Choir in the 10am hour.
  • Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) - Jack talks about Apple TV+'s Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls/So Notorious) - Tori talks about MTV's Love at First Lie on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) - Brian talks about Causeway and Atlanta on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September-November)

Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Young Rock - Season Two (DVD) The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven Ghosts - Season One

09/06 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/20 - Kim's Convenience - The Complete Series
09/27 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five / The Complete Season Six
10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

11/25 - George Lopez Reunion on Lopez vs. Lopez on Dec. 16; Marc Maron Gets HBO Comedy Special
11/24 - 2022 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include Soap Every Episode Marathon
11/23 - Fran Drescher Hosts The Nanny Marathon on COZI TV; Fox Gets Celebs for TMZ Christmas Special
11/22 - NBC Schedules New Game Show During Holidays; Peacock Teams Up with Comedian Sean Patton
11/21 - Letterkenny Returns for Season 11 on Hulu; The White Lotus Season 3 Ordered
11/20 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 21, 2022)
11/19 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Vicki Lawrence to Guest Star in Call Me Kat; Grey's Anatomy Gets a Little Less Grey
11/18 - Bounce Orders New Sitcom for Spring 2023; Remembering Hogan's Heroes Star Robert Clary, The Bob Newhart Show and Taxi Co-Creator David Davis, and Head of the Class Co-Creator Richard Eustis
11/17 - MeTV's A Very Merry MeTV Schedule; HBO Max's Sort Of Returns Dec. 1
11/16 - Comedic Stars Line Up for Baking It Holiday Special; Atsuko Okatsuka Gets First HBO Special
11/15 - CBS Midseason 2023 Schedule; Oprah Interviews Abbott Elementary Megastar
11/14 - Netflix Books Sebastian Maniscalco Comedy Special; Hallmark Channel Signs Hunter King for Movies
11/13 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 14, 2022)
11/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Midseason Premiere Dates Set for Reboots of 80s Classics; Abbott Elementary Still Strong in Ratings
11/11 - Chris Rock Live Comedy Special Set for Netflix; Hulu Renews This Fool for Season 2
11/10 - Fox Orders New Animated Comedy for 2024; Netflix Picks Up Reggaeton Comedy Neon
11/09 - NBC Midseason 2023 Schedule; Apple TV+ Renews Bad Sisters for Season 2
11/08 - ABC Midseason 2023 Schedule; Fox 2023 Midseason Schedule
11/07 - Showtime and Paramount Network Set Simultaneous Premiere; Jeff Dunham's New Comedy Central Special
11/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 7, 2022)
11/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pluto TV Adding 6,300 Episodes from CBS Vault; Tuca & Bertie Cancelled
11/04 - Freeform Announces Premiere Dates for Winter; ABC Broadcasts Special Airing of Reasonable Doubt
11/03 - Final Season of Dead to Me Drops Nov. 17; Lil Rel's 2nd HBO Special Premieres Nov. 12
11/02 - Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas 2022 Schedule; ABC Orders Prank Series
11/01 - Fox Lines Up 2 Dramas for Midseason; The White Lotus Scores in Early Viewing
10/31 - Girls5eva Moving to Netflix for Season 3; The Weird Place Podcast from Team Coco Launching
10/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 31, 2022)
10/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Roku Picks Up Second Season of Chad; Bad News Bears Remake in the Works
10/28 - Antenna TV's 2022 Holiday Marathons Schedule; Miracle Workers Returns January 16 on TBS
10/27 - Apple TV+ Orders Comedy Still Up; Peacock Brings Us Mystery of the Week with Poker Face
10/26 - Entre Nos Returns with 2 Comedy Specials; HBO Renews Industry for Season 3
10/25 - ABC Holiday Specials 2022 Schedule; Remembering Sitcom Star Leslie Jordan of Hearts Afire, Will & Grace and Call Me Kat