A look back at “Oddville, MTV”

Oddville, MTV ran one season on MTV in 1997.

Oddville, MTV ran one season on MTV in 1997.

Every once in a while, I daydream back to a time when MTV didn’t just show music videos, but rather experimented with original talk show programming.

And while I see Tom Green way too much these days to try to limit him to only daydreams, there was a show that pops up from time to time in those aforementioned daydreams: a little show I like to call Oddville, MTV.

Oddville, MTV (1997) was a variety talk show that originated on NYC public access as a show called Beyond Vaudeville (1986-96) and was hosted by Frank Hope (Rich Brown).

The original show featured New York City eccentrics and other real life characters who came on to showcase their “unique” talents. When it was brought to MTV, it went on to include celebrities and eccentric people with special talents from all over the place. Although to be fair, the level of the guests’ talents varied widely — from a nose hummer to a roller skating grandmother to a guy with a third nipple to a bilingual midget.

Frank always had a sidekick named David Greene who would always remain silent throughout the show, never reacting to any of the weird stuff going on in front of him, and sometimes just resembling someone in a catatonic state. Oddville also had a cute announcer named Melissa Gabriel who provided someone that Frank could talk to during the show.

Oh yeah, and Joey the Dancing Monkey.

Here’s how a typical interview segment went on the show, this one featuring the WWE’s Sunny:

Celebrity guests included Kathy Griffin, Blink 182 (one of their first TV performances), Jessica Biel, Reel Big Fish, Sugar Ray, Stephen Baldwin, Kenan and Kel promoting their smash-hit Good Burger, and the U.S. television broadcast debut of a three-brother band known as Hanson:

Whereas I always enjoyed the show for its cheese factor, obviously some people didn’t agree, since the show only lasted one season (episode guide) and inspired negative reviews from viewers like this one:

When I watched the show on MTV, all I saw was the same boring things. There was a host who always acted in a nervous manner, a guy who just sat there and didn’t talk, pointless interviews (the interviews weren’t even interesting because they seemed to be so short), and a bunch of losers being brought out to showcase their talent. I remember seeing a guy do bad impersonations of celebrities while he was laying down on the floor.

But anyway, it’s nice to daydream sometimes and remember a simpler time, like 1997, where bands like the Bloodhound Gang would actually fit in somewhere when performing their song “Why is Everybody Always Picking On Me,” while a dancing monkey and a cute announcer would dance around to the song, as a catatonic co-host and nervous show host looked on:

That was Oddville, MTV.

RELATED: Check out the original 1997 CNN article about the show: ‘Oddville, MTV’ shows off weird things people can do

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  • Barry

    The show lasted for more than 10 episodes. Note that the page you link to doesn’t even list the Hanson episode.