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You might see quite a show at any one of KFC’s 4,349 locations found in every state of the Union, plus Washington, DC. Kidding! We know you mean the comedy crew made up of David Zucker ’70, his brother Jerry Zucker ’72, Dick Chudnow ’67, and Jim Abrahams x’66. These campus clowns joined forces in Madison in 1970 under the name Kernel Sanders Kentucky Fried Theater (KFT). Their first show was supposed to take place in February 1971, above the Daisy Cafe on W. Washington Avenue. Three days before KFT’s debut, a building inspector shut their plans down. The old Union South came to the rescue and offered KFT a stage for four weekends in May 1971. After a short run on campus, the same building inspector who threw them out of their original space alerted the troupe to an available storeroom at Shakespeare & Company on the corner of Regent and Randall. Their show on July 23, 1971, was a hit. They sold out each performance for a year before packing up and seeking out a bigger audience in Los Angeles. There, KFT’s slapstick style influenced sketch shows like Saturday Night Live and future creators such as Matt Stone (South Park), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), and Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber). The troupe also brought their iconic brand of comedy to the big screen, including the Naked Gun movies, Ghost, and Top Secret! Love KFT? You can listen to the jokesters reminisce about the making of Airplane! in a new oral history released earlier this month. Surely, you’ve seen this classic movie. I have, and don’t call me Shirley.

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