Before we saw the trend of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel stars turning raunchy to show their maturity as artists, we had the opposite. Cancellation culture may rule the media with an iron fist today, but in the ’70s and ’80s, those in charge of television networks were much more forgiving.

Trading on a career as a lead rapper for children’s films such as have we arrived and its sequel, Ice Cube is today an even bigger statesman, far beyond his early work as Friday And Boys N Hood. This often comes at a price, as stars face the inescapable stigma of “selling out,” which is a very complex and lengthy topic that can’t be fully explored here.

And sure, the money is good. Occasionally, however, this seems to be a legitimate change of heart, with an actor taking a step outside their comfort zone to connect with a new audience or explore a new side of their personality that they’ve ignored for many years. The results are often good, sometimes grainy, but often baffling. The closest analogy that could happen today is Sam Hyde landing his own sitcom live on CBS.

These kinds of crossover can make for a fascinating spectacle, especially for parents in the bottomless chasm of a generation gap. If you ever caught your mom and dad laughing behind your back while watching cartoons or… Full houseNow you know why.

Your childhood was a lie


When Bob Saget passed away in 2022, he was mainly grieving for his contribution to The Ultimate Family Watch, the network’s sitcom. He was, however, secretly one of the most ruthless, disgusting, and mean-spirited comedians. In the comedy world, they call that “comedian comedian.” His corn ball, traditional tune as Danny Tanner Full house He set the standard for blazer-wearing TV parents that was corny even in 1991, but long before he hit the big buck, he was raving the New York comedy scene, beating out Rodney Dangerfield with an act that would likely get him banned from TV today for his material. Relentless and politically correct. Dude went hard. However, maintaining a balance between his on-mic roots and his TV persona was overwhelming, he told reporters after the show ended. “The show changed me. I felt like my voice was polluted because I had to serve that audience.” Even his family had no clue about his past jokes.

The same can be said for the likes of Xuxa Meneghel. ’90s kids looking for their favorite TV presenter can expect their heads to explode when they embark on nostalgia-fueled Google searches. That sweet blonde lady from the international TV show Xuxa She first made a name for herself in the Brazilian version of play boy magazine in 1981 and later in adult films before advancing in the rankings as one of the best-selling actresses in the Western Hemisphere. We’re not sure if there’s a Hall of Fame for agents, but Team Xuxa is the first cast vote for how she should change her image.

Related: Bob Saget’s documentary details ludicrous conspiracy theories about his death

Do not adjust the TV screen


Saget wasn’t the first comedian to try his luck with more innocuous material. Richard Pryor, one of the most provocative and outspoken comedians of all time, set his sights on the unlikely target of Big Bird in 1984. Prior place It wasn’t complicated, it was black Sesame Streetwhich was already redundant like Sesame Street It had a slew of notable black actors and guests. The two shows weren’t that different, only with Prior showing a higher emphasis on cross-dressing and locking bobs. There was only enough room for an urban-themed puppet show, and Pryor wasn’t. It only lasted one season on CBS, and failed to make an impact.

Pryor’s contemporary and only rival of the era, George Carlin, also tried his hand, appearing as the lead on the PBS show Shining Time Station Mr. Conductor starring. He served as the narrator for the Thomas the Tank Engine stories from 1991 to 1994. Replacing Ringo Starr, the comedian — who made a reputation making fun of children with weird names, ripping apart the sensibilities and hypocrisy of Americans — decided to lend his talents to a PBS daytime show about kindness and understanding. “It gives me a chance to practice this still small part,” he explained. Over the years he has lent his voice to several cartoons, including the animated show The Excellent Adventures of Bill and Ted. For a short while, his cynicism was suspended and his bitterness increased as he tried to regain some of his childhood innocence. If you know his caustic parts, Carlin’s wholesome acting turns are painfully hard to watch.

Related: The Muppets Mayhem delivers the best Rotten Tomatoes Disney franchise score of the decade

Hide the chicken

Snoop Dogg in Spongebob Movie Sponge on the Run
Paramount Pictures

If it’s hard to comprehend watching Samuel L. you have to wonder if these kinds of casting choices are all a fan idea, a cynical joke of the producers on young kids who have no idea what the acronym is for the NWA, or how Pryor reignited his career Professional sets himself on fire while smoking crack.

Thank Alice Cooper. The same man who was nearly banned from the UK for his horrific stage antics and who wrote songs related to topics we aren’t allowed to mention somehow had the clout to book an appearance on a prime time family variety show. puppet show. He still considers it one of the highlights of his career. Cooper’s famous guillotine did not appear, fortunately for parents. After his mock execution, Cooper gladly snagged it without the bloody theatrical performances. Always a showman, playing the camp well and beyond Call of Duty, he got so into the show that he began to see the speaking parts as if they were real actors.

In retrospect, Pryor’s wrap in the dolls may have been inspired by Jim Henson’s successful foray into network entertainment, which is ironic, since the Henson dolls were actually in the first episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Carlin. Which is particularly poignant, because if there’s been one constant across the many decades of the medium, it’s the strict separation between children’s and adult television. The two simply don’t mix. The Simpsons being a rare exception. You cross that border at your own risk, as the late Bob Saget can attest. But it does have its benefits. If you’re totally going to have an identity crisis, you might as well get paid for it.


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