"Almost Live!" began its run in 1984 as a talk and comedy show airing on Sunday nights and hosted by Ross Shafer. By 1988, John Keister had taken over as host as the program was re-vamped into a sketch comedy series.
With the switch to sketch comedy, the show was moved to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, preceding "Saturday Night Live."
There were many recurring sketches that became synonymous not only with the show, but with the Pacific Northwest. They included "Mind your Manners with Billy Quan," "The High Five'n White Guys," and spoofs of the hit show "Cops" which focused on different communities in and around Seattle.
"Almost Live!" caught the attention of Comedy Central in the early 1990s. The cast taped 65 special episodes for the cable channel in the summer of 1992.
"Almost Live!" also helped launch the careers of Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Joel McHale. Nye was an engineer at Boeing who had a knack for comedy when he was added as a regular to the show. Joel McHale was a cast member in the show's latter years. He went on to host E!'s "Talk Soup" and became a cast member on the NBC sitcom "Community."
"Almost Live!" continues today in reruns, Sunday mornings at 1:05 a.m. and 1:35 a.m. following "Saturday Night Live."