The Comedy Factory (partially found ABC live-action comedy series; 1985-1986)

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Title card.

Status: Partially Found

The Comedy Factory (no known affiliation with the comedy club of the same name) was a live-action scripted comedy series that ran in the summer of 1985 and 1986 on ABC. The show revolved around comedians and actors acting out scenes from television pilots that were passed on by ABC. The show had a total of sixteen episodes, spread across two seasons. Each season aired from June to August. Information on the show is scarce and every episode of the show is now lost, with only one clip remaining.


Little information is known about the show’s history or background.

The show was produced in Canada by Al Rogers Productions, in association with Procter and Gamble Productions. It apparently aired two seasons, one in the summer of 1985, and the other in the summer of 1986. Most episodes were sponsored by Folgers Coffee, which was owned by Procter and Gamble.[1]

Each episode was roughly thirty minutes long, and a new episode aired Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.[2]

According to numerous sources, the show’s premise revolved around comedians and actors performing the scripts from television pilots that ABC had passed on. The first season had a repertoire cast of six actors—Mary Long, Susan Hogan, Derek McGrath, Geoffrey Bowes, Denis Simpson, and Mary Ann McDonald—who each played numerous roles. Each episode also had a guest host, and local community theatre actors filled the extra roles.[3] Some of the season’s guest hosts include Richard Kline, Jan Smithers, Bill Daily, and Avery Schreiber.[4] According to IMDb, actors Keanu Reeves, Robert Sean Leonard, and Mario Lopez made appearances on the show when they were young.

However, the premise of the second season is murky. Some accounts make reference to the show being a "pilot package," as opposed to a comedy show. A comment left on detailed one such pilot:

"I can still remember the most depressing "comedy" pilot I’ve ever seen, "The Faculty," which ABC aired June 20, 1986, along with its other Friday night sitcoms, including MR. BELVEDERE & MR. SUNSHINE. It was part of a failed pilot package called COMEDY FACTORY. (Do you have record of this ABC 1985-86 summer series?) It featured Blair Brown & Allyn Ann McLerie, among others, as faculty members of an inner-city high school. It was done documentary-style, including interviews with the teachers, and it had no comedy in it whatsoever, at least that I can recall."[5]

One of the pilots featured on season two was a pilot called "Chameleon."[6] This pilot is available online in its entirety, yet there is none of the Comedy Factory branding in the recording. Another pilot, "Moscow Bureau," seems to not be performed by the regular repertoire cast.[7] Because of this information, it is believed that the second season aired passed-on pilots as they were filmed, as opposed to having actors read the script and perform.

The show did not perform well. Out of sixty-three primetime shows that aired the week ending with August 11, 1985, Comedy Factory ranked forty-first.[8] It is possible that, due to these low ratings, the producers may have changed the format for the second season.


With the exception of the "Chameleon" pilot and a one-minute clip of a 1985 episode, all Comedy Factory episodes are lost. Many of the pilots that were aired in the second season are also lost.

A clip of the first minute of the July 25, 1985 episode was posted on YouTube by user STEVE HAROLD. When replying to a comment, Steve said that he only had half of that episode filmed.[9] To date, only the clip has been uploaded.

The show never received a physical media release, and it is unknown if it was ever rerun.

Episode List

# Episode Title Air Date Status Notes
1 Side by Side Jun. 28, 1985 Lost -
2 Harry and the Kids Jul. 5, 1985 Lost -
3 Max and Me Jul. 12, 1985 Lost -
4 Four in Love Jul. 18. 1985 Lost -
5 The Second Time Around Jul. 25, 1985 Partially Found The intro of the episode has been posted, as well as a promo.
6 It Takes Two Aug. 2, 1985 Lost -
7 The Columnist Aug. 9, 1985 Lost -
8 Fast Food Aug. 16, 1985 Lost -
9 Honey, It's the Mayor Aug. 23, 1985 Found]
10 Moscow Bureau Jun. 6, 1986 Lost -
11 Hearts of Steel Jun. 13, 1986 Lost -
12 The Faculty Jun. 20, 1986 Lost -
13 The Arena Jun. 27, 1986 Lost -
14 Chameleon Jul. 11, 1986 Partially Found The full pilot is available online, however there is no Comedy Factory branding. It is unknown if the pilot posted is how it was aired.
15 Man About Town Jul. 18, 1986 Lost -
16 Father's Day Jul. 25, 1986 Lost -


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