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

Sunday, July 3

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 27)

Friday, July 1

  • Joey King (Bent) - Watch Joey on on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Megan Stalter (Hacks) - Megan appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ron Howard (Arrested Development/Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron will be on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie/New Girl/Burning Love/Players) - June appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Karen will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jennifer Grey (It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tom Selleck (The Closer) - Tom talks Blue Bloods and the special four-legged member of his family on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Selena Gomez (Only Murders in the Building/Wizards of Waverly Place), Steve Martin (Only Murders in the Building) and Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building/Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Selena, Steve and Martin are guests on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March-June)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Young Rock - Season One The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One

03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / Season Two / Season Three (07/26) / Season Four (07/26)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

07/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Who's the Boss? Reboot Coming to Freevee; Paramount+ Preparing for Another South Park Special
07/01 - Modern Family's Sarah Hyland Hosting Peacock Revival; Apple TV+ Announces Family Comedy Series
06/30 - NBC Fall 2022 Premiere Dates; Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell Head to The Real Love Boat
06/29 - Antenna TV's Summer Marathons Include Norman Lear's 100th Birthday Party; New Netflix Comedy From Cobra Kai Creators Sets Cast
06/28 - COZI TV's 3rd Rock 3rd of July Marathon and Rambler Sweepstakes; TV Legend Carol Burnett Joins Better Call Saul
06/27 - Heartwarming Comedy Series Trying Returns July 22; Retta Is Back with More on HGTV
06/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 27, 2022)
06/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Peacock Renews Killing It for Season 2; CBS Sets Fall Premiere Dates
06/24 - CBS Fall 2022 Premiere Dates; Showtime Greenlights Pilot with Mandy Patinkin and Wife
06/23 - Peacock Renews Killing It for Season 2; Jack McBrayer's Kindness Show on Apple TV+
06/22 - Disney Brings American Housewife and More to Syndication; The Bob's Burgers Movie Will Stream on Hulu and HBO Max
06/21 - HBO's The Rehearsal Premieres July 15; IFC Series Sherman's Showcase Returns in Fall
06/20 - Jimmy Kimmel Live! Summer Guest Hosts; Solar Opposites Returns July 13 on Hulu
06/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 20, 2022)
06/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Donald Faison and Jon Cryer Join NBC Comedy Pilot; Wendy Williams Show Comes to an End
06/17 - ABC Fall 2022 Premiere Dates; Remembering Philip Baker Hall, Lt. Bookman on Seinfeld
06/16 - Rob Lowe Netflix Sitcom Rounds Out Cast; New PLL Premieres July 28 on HBO Max
06/15 - Leah Remini Joins the So You Think You Can Dance Judging Panel; New Dark Comedy Bad Sisters to Debut This August on Apple TV+
06/14 - HBO Max Renews Starstruck for a Third Season; Max Original Comedy Series from Issa Rae Debuts July 21
06/13 - Martin: The Reunion Premieres June 16 on BET+; Apple TV+ Renews Musical Comedy Schmigadoon! for Season Two
06/12 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 13, 2022)
06/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at Upcoming Munsters Movie; Schmigadoon! Renewed for Second Season
06/10 - Disney Channel's Hamster & Gretel Rounds Out Cast; The Muppets Mayhem Adds More to Cast
06/09 - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Early Kickoff to Christmas in July; Dirty Daddy: The Bob Saget Tribute Premieres Tomorrow (June 10)
06/08 - FX Renews What We Do in the Shadows for Seasons 5 and 6, Ahead of Season 4 Premiere; Hallmark Channel Scores in Ratings Even in Summer
06/07 - Fox Fall 2022 Schedule and Premiere Dates; Eva Longoria Produced Gordita Chronicles Premieres June 23 on HBO Max
06/06 - Antenna TV Presents The Sunday Special; Apple TV+ Comedy Loot Premieres June 24
06/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 6, 2022)
06/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: New Beavis and Butt-Head Special and Remastered Episodes with Original Music Videos Headed to Paramount+
06/03 - The CW Adds More to Summer 2022 Schedule, Including Comedy; HBO Renews Hit Show for Season 4; Remembering Charles Siebert and Seinfeld Producer George Shapiro
06/02 - Antenna TV's Father's Day Feast Marathon; HBO Max Renews Our Flag Means Death