Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Relive the time Drew Carey rejected a dozen great rock guitarists

The Drew Carey Show
The Drew Carey Show

One of the most noteworthy things about The Drew Carey Show, which ran for nine seasons on ABC from 1995 to 2004, is how the typical-looking sitcom managed to smuggle in some genuinely weird material despite its generic trappings. There was the time Lewis (Ryan Stiles) thought he had contracted a fatal cold, and ended up naked. There were the annual April Fools episodes, riddled with intentional mistakes for viewers to find. And who could forget when Drew was forced to sing “Do That To Me One More Time” with an 11-year-old girl? It’s solid sitcom absurdity, albeit delivered in a safe and comfortable midwestern package.

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Guest stars have always been a reliable ratings stunt for sitcoms, but when it came to The Drew Carey Show, the star managed to find a way to subvert even that simple trick. The second episode of season four, “In Ramada Da Vida,” had Drew, Lewis, and Oswald forming a band and seeking out a guitarist to make them look good. Cue the procession of famous musicians—and rather than make a big deal out of landing big names like Slash, each one is ushered off-camera so quick, it barely has time to register.

There are lots of great moments in the above clip, but one stands out above the rest: Punk frontman Joey Ramone is so great, the cast can’t keep from breaking, especially Ryan Stiles. Watch him cover his laughter when Ramone asks for their reaction, only to then lose it entirely when the musician drags the guitar along the ground as he departs, the cord caught around his ankle. Sure, you may have greats from ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, the Eagles, and even ’90s alt-rock mainstay Matthew Sweet on set, but there’s no equal to an honest-to-God Ramone. At this point, the show is mostly remembered as an also-ran to Stiles and Carey’s great American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but if for no other reason, the series deserves kudos for making this scene happen.

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