Studs from Microsoft

Raymond Chen

Chris Sells reminded me of the Studs from Microsoft sketch (direct link to video), a parody of the dating game show Studs, as performed by the now-defunct local sketch comedy program Almost Live! And yes, in that sketch is Bill Nye at the midpoint of his rise to stardom. Between his careers as Boeing mechanical engineer and nationally-recognized “Science Guy“, he was on Almost Live!, performing both comedy and science demonstrations. The program had quite an enthusiastic following in its day. If you were new to the area, sooner or later one of your friends would sit you down and force you to watch a half hour of sketches. It was a crash course in local geography and culture, with jokes about Ballard, Mercer Island, Renton, and Lynnwood flying left and right. (The Ballard Driving Academy is perhaps their greatest accomplishment.) I noted earlier that one of its recurring sketches influenced a feedback tool included in the betas of Windows XP. I stole their “A or B” sketch for my Coffee machine or assault weapon? quiz (though you’ll have to imagine the “ding”s).

One of my favorite sketches was the game show parody Pike or Pine?, wherein contestants were given descriptions of businesses or other landmarks, and they had to say whether the location in question was on Pike Street or Pine Street. The two streets run parallel and nobody, not even people who spent their entire lives in Seattle, can remember what is on Pike and what is on Pine.


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