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Charlie Hoover aired from November 1991 until February 1992 on FOX.

Charlie ( Tim Matheson), was a 40 year old accountant, suffering a mid-life crisis when his alter ego , outspoken, hedonistic, Hugh ( Sam Kinison), materialized to offer him advice on how to spice up his dull life. Hugh was 12 inches tall, and visible only to Charlie, but his advice was certainly welcomed. Charlie's boss, Mr. Culbertson ( Kevin McCarthy), ignored him; his wife Helen ( Lucy Webb), and his 2 teenaged kids Paul and Emily ( Michael Manaserri, Leslie Engel), only cared about the money he provided; and Warren, the family Bulldog, regularly urinated on his shoes. Only his secretary Doris ( Julie Hayden), had any sympathy for him, and she had her own problems. Hugh wanted Charlie to be assertive, spontaneous, and adventuresome, but it wasn't easy for him to change.

Comic Sam Kinison's outrageous videos and appearances on Saturday Night Live and HBO, as well as his struggles with drugs and alcohol, had given him a wild-man image that was toned down so much for this series that, comparatively, he waas almost as dull as Charlie. Only 6 original episodes of Charlie Hoover were produced before FOX pulled the plug. A few months after the series had left the air, Kinison was killed in an automobile crash.

A review from the Sun Sentinel

Sam Kinison Bedevils Fox`s New `Charlie Hoover`
November 8, 1991|By TOM JICHA, TV/Radio Writer

The new Fox series Charlie Hoover is based on the premise there`s a little of Sam Kinison in a lot of men.

The title character is bedeviled by having a lot of a little Sam Kinison trying to take over his life.

Tim Matheson plays Charlie, a super strait-laced number cruncher whose life is about as exciting as his job. Charlie is the kind of guy who if he found a $50 bill in the street would buy a savings bond.

But suddenly Charlie becomes afflicted by the counterforce, an omnipresent 12-inch tall Hugh, lustily played by Kinison.

If Hugh were around and Charlie found $50, the little guy would prod and provoke Charlie into blowing it on lunch at a bar with a lingerie show. At the very least, Hugh would insist Charlie take his wife to a fantasy-themed motel.

Hugh is rude, crude, sexist, insensitive and totally without taste. His basic philosophy is summed up by the advice he offers when Charlie finds himself in a jam. ``Lie like a TV evangelist.``

Matheson said Hugh ``is sort of a cross between Groucho Marx and Attila the Hun.`` In other words, Kinison is essentially playing himself.

The bombastic, raunchy stand-up comic himself argued that this is his old self, that his debut in episodic TV is part of a campaign to become more mainstream. ``I took the role basically just to put an end to the rumors that I`m not family entertainment and just to show how falsely persecuted I`ve been over the years.``

In case it isn`t obvious, Kinison is kidding. He revels in his out-of-control wild man image.

First, he mocked his reputation by transferring it to Matheson. ``I knew there would be a problem when I first came to the show because of Tim`s problems in the past with booze and drugs and showing up late.``

Then he philosophized about how playing Hugh would be a stretch. ``Hugh tries to talk Charlie into going to strip clubs, trying to have sex with his secretary and flirt with other women. It was a challenge to me as an actor. I had to go into foreign territory, frontier territory, if I might say so.``

Kinison played a similar character on a Christmas episode of Married...with Children, but executive producer Ian Gurvitz -- as people in his position unfailingly do -- said that he had the idea for Charlie Hoover before the Married episode.

Kinison is aware that his style of humor doesn`t always play well with women, but he says he feels this is a somewhat unfair rap. ``I`ve always loved women. I`ve never went after women violently or supported violence toward women. That`s the guy with the leather jacket and the cigarette, who can`t get a job in porno right now. (Kinison is not an Andrew Dice Clay fan.) But obviously I don`t know that every feminist will enjoy my work. It`s hard to please everybody.``

Kinison reiterated that his image is far larger than his real life. ``A lot of the reputation that was perpetrated was blown a little out of proportion or I would have been dead in two hours. You know, `yeah, he does a gram every 10 minutes...No woman is safe!` It was like, `yeah, yeah sure.`

``But for the last several years, once you pass 35, you go, `I`ve got to get a checkup every six months and health insurance isn`t a bad a idea and buying a home. So I kind of feel for (Charlie)...It`s really kind of something I`m going through in my own real life. Hopefully, it will transfer to the screen.``

Just when he seemed almost serious, he reverted. ``It will be family entertainment, which has always been one of my goals.``

Anticipating the response, he feigned annoyance. ``Go ahead, laugh at my dream.``

He`ll settle for you laughing at his show. Unfortunately, the whole of Charlie Hoover isn`t as funny as the parts with Sam Kinison.


Premiere: Saturday at 9 p.m. on WSVN-Ch. 7 and WFLX-Ch. 29.

Airs: Saturdays, 9 p.m.

Starring: Tim Matheson as Charlie Hoover and Sam Kinison as his alter ego Hugh.

Jicha says: Raunchmeister Kinison demonstates that he also can be hilarious working clean but the rest of the show is Grade B sitcom fare.

An Article from the LA Times

Second-Chance Sam
November 17, 1991|JOE RHODES | JOE RHODES is a Frequent Contributor To TV Times.



Sam Kinison has been sent to his corner, away from the main set of the new Fox network sitcom "Charlie Hoover," isolated from the rest of the cast and most of the crew.

Tim Matheson, Kinison's co-star, is in the midst of an elaborate set, surrounded by extras and scenery: slot machines, miniskirted waitresses, crap tables, all the details necessary to evoke the ambience of an Atlantic City casino.

Kinison, in his trademark beret and long coat, is standing barely 30 feet away, but he might as well be in another world. His area, brightly lighted and painted entirely in blue, is roped off from the casino set and his only clear view of the other actors is via a monitor. Kinison looks strangely disembodied surrounded by all that blue, the lone resident of a monochromatic universe.

"Every time they say, 'OK, time to change sets,' I always start to move along with everybody else," Kinison says, waiting patiently for his cue. "And then I realize, hey, I'm not going anywhere. They may be changing sets but I'm stuck right here in Blue World."

Which, all in all, is not a bad metaphor for Kinison's career. It's been 10 years since he first roared into Los Angeles, the howling stand-up from hell. He has, for the last decade, been the comedy equivalent of a Scud missile, loud, messy and you could never be sure just exactly when he'd explode.

Kinison, a former road-show evangelist, and his act embodied his conversion to the wild side of life. Designed to provoke, it served him well. He was criticized for bashing women, bashing gays, bashing Christianity. And every criticism brought in more paying customers.

His personal life did nothing to soften his on-stage image. There were drugs, alcohol abuse, danger and debauchery on a grand scale. He hung out with the heavy-metal crowd, acting more like a rock star than a comedian.

"It was fun to be at the China Club and be up there jamming with Slash or Joe Walsh and John Entwistle (of The Who), and I'd be a liar to say I didn't love it, that it wasn't my high school dream, 'cause it was," Kinison says. "But there comes a point where you say, I've done enough of this. I want to move on to something else.

"I mean it was great to be the rock comic, the shock comic. But after you've played Giants Stadium with Bon Jovi in front of 82,000 people, after you've done the "Wild Thing" video with Jessica Hahn and every rock band from hell, you're not gonna top that. And I'm on the other side of 35 now, so it's time."

Which is why Kinison, who's 37 to be exact, is standing on this blue stage, pursuing that most mainstream of comedy goals, a network sitcom. "I want to show people that there's a side of myself other than just the outrageous comedian," Kinison says. "I hope this shows that I can do family entertainment, that my comedy doesn't just depend on vulgarity."

In "Charlie Hoover," Kinison plays Matheson's 12-inch-tall alter ego, the inner voice who's always urging him, as Kinison explains "to not go to work, to call that girl, to run away. I'm his pleasure center."

Kinison's scenes are shot with a special-effects camera that allows his 12-inch image, shot against the blue background, to be inserted, live, into the master shots. Kinison and Matheson rehearse face to face and then, when its time to shoot, return to their respective sets, able to see each other only through occasional glances at the monitors.

"It really doesn't feel that difficult to me because I'm used to performing by myself when I do stand-up," Kinison says. "But (the producers) seem to think it's really hard. Don't tell 'em. Let 'em think I'm bustin' my ass."

Kinison seems genuinely grateful that Fox took a chance on him, considering his longstanding reputation as a less than reliable performer. "I think a lot of 'em were wondering if I was up to it and I was kind of wondering myself. It was like, 'Gee, I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew here.' "

But instead of hating the long hours and the morning calls, Kinison has found himself invigorated by having a steady job. "I kind of needed this, I think," he says. "I needed something to turn the nights back into the days."

Image considerations aside, Kinison was getting plenty of clues that he needed to slow down. He was forced into rehab programs to deal with his substance abuse problems. His younger brother, Kevin, committed suicide in 1988; last summer his girlfriend was raped by his bodyguard while Kinison, allegedly passed out drunk, slept in the other room.

"Yeah, those were pretty sobering experiences," Kinison said, quietly, his demeanor as far from his raging stage persona as it could be. "Those are things that can either destroy you or, if you survive them, make you stronger. Those are hard things for anyone to get through, especially people with the title of comedian.

"I'm just glad I made the transition from when I could have overdosed or when I could have fallen asleep at the wheel and run off a cliff or something. It's good to have survived those years.

"I don't hear anything screaming in here any more," Kinison says, pointing to his heart. "I'm just happy to be here. I'm just happy to have the chance."

"Charlie Hoover" airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

A Review from Entertainment Weekly

Charlie Hoover
Reviewed by Ken Tucker | Nov 29, 1991

Charlie Hoover (Tim Matheson) is a timid nerd with a wild-man voice in his head that we see in the form of 12-inch-high Hugh, played by loudmouthed comic Sam Kinison. Charlie also sees Hugh, although no one else can. This leads to scenes such as the recent one in which Hugh tried to hide in Charlie's underwear drawer, prompting Charlie to say, ''Hey, will you get out of my underwear?'' Hugh snapped back, ''Bet that's the first time you ever said that to a guy!''

Charlie Hoover is, in general, submoronic, an idiotic creation stuffed with crude jokes. You just feel sorry for Matheson for being trapped in this mess, but contempt is probably appropriate for Kinison this is, after all, the guy who used to tour the country billed as an ''outlaw of comedy'' we were supposed to think that his screamed misogyny was an act of fierce rebellion. But even if that were true, Charlie Hoover suggests that Kinison is now just a cynical sellout. F

Here is Sam Kenison's Obituary from The New York Times

Sam Kinison, 38, Comedian, Dies; Wife Injured in Head-On Collision
Published: April 12, 1992

Sam Kinison, a former tent preacher who gained fame as a shrieking and often insulting stand-up comedian, was killed Friday night in a head-on automobile crash on a desert highway near Needles, Calif.

He was 38 years old and lived in the Hollywood hills in Los Angeles.

Mr. Kinison's high-decibel routines became popular on the comedy-club circuit and won him film and television appearances. But his bitter jokes also provoked protest from women and homosexuals who found his ridicule of them more hateful than humorous. En Route to Performance

On Friday night, he was on his way to perform at the Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nev., when his sports car collided with a pickup truck on U.S. Highway 95 about 200 miles east of Los Angeles. His wife, Malika, whom he married only last Sunday, was injured in the crash and was taken to Needles Desert Community Hospital in serious condition.

The California Highway Patrol said yesterday that it did not yet have a formal report but did not dispute the account by Mr. Kinison's spokeswoman, Florence Troutman, who said that Mr. Kinison's brother and manager, Bill, had been following in a van. She quoted him as saying that the accident occurred when the oncoming pickup tried to pass another vehicle and that the accident littered the road with beer cans that did not come from Mr. Kinison's car.

The pickup's driver was 17 years old and was under arrest for vehicular manslaughter, the authorities told The Associated Press. Evangelical Roots

Mr. Kinison was born in Peoria, Ill., into a family of traveling evangelists, in whose footsteps he initially followed. But after a few years he moved to Los Angeles and developed his comedy act.

He often appeared on stage in a beret, with an overcoat draped over his pudgy build. But his real trademark was his screaming outbursts. Critics described him as snarling, sneering, rude, outrageous and even poisonous. But offstage, Ms. Troutman said, he was "a big-hearted teddy bear."

A role as a high-strung professor in the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield film "Back to School" led to his own television special, "Breaking the Rules," on Home Box Office. He was also a guest on "Late Night with David Letterman" and "Saturday Night Live."

This season he starred on Fox in the situation comedy "Charlie Hoover." His music video, "Wild Thing," featured Jessica Hahn, the woman who brought down the television evangelist Jim Bakker in a sex scandal.

Mr. Kinison had acknowledged health problems because of drug and alcohol abuse and being overweight but said two years ago that he had quit drugs and was dieting.

He was previously married and divorced twice. Besides his wife and his brother Bill, he is survived by his mother, Marie, and a brother, Richard, both of Tulsa, Okla.

To read some articles about Charlie Hoover go to and

To watch episodes of Charlie Hoover go to

For more on Charlie Hoover go to

For a website dedicated to Comic Sam Kinison go to

For a tribute to Sam Kinison go to

For an interview with Sam Kenison's brother Bill go to

For an interview with Tim Matheson go to
Date: Thu July 6, 2006 � Filesize: 14.6kb � Dimensions: 400 x 88 �
Keywords: Charlie Hoover (Links Updated 7/24/18)


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