Cable excess

Jul 14, 1999 at 12:00 am

A Waterford public access cable TV show is going to stay on the air despite hundreds of complaints about the program’s offensive, sophomoric attempts at humor.

"I think the show is offensive, but we cannot edit or censor the show due to First Amendment rights," said Waterford Township Supervisor Katherine Innes.

As for taking legal action, Innes said that would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

"We’re not going to take legal action because it’s a fruitless effort, the law is not on our side," she said.

Although "Something To Laugh At" has aired for the past two years on Waterford’s public access Channel 47, the show has come under increased fire for recent shows that some say go too far.

"We are referring citizens to the cable commission and Brian Kath, the show’s producer, since he has to respond to their complaints," said Innes.

Kath, 20, and 18-year-old actor Zachary Q. Kymla insist critics have blown things out of proportion. "There’s worse stuff on TV," said Kath. "It’s not that bad. People are making judgments without ever seeing it."

Kath admits the show averages 10 to 15 complaints a week. He said most of the complaints pertain to nudity and swearing, and that recent complaints are due to the "How to beat your wife" segment that prompted attention from the nationally syndicated tabloid TV show "Extra."

"It’s not meant to be taken seriously … " said Kath. "We’re not making fun of actually slapping the hell out of your wife. We’re making fun of the lazy white trash that come home and do it."

Although the segment is low-tech, its realistic quality is evident when Kath "hits" the girl in the skit. Kath also demonstrates to viewers how to hit with an open hand.

"My mom just asked me if I thought it would be funny if she got beat," said Kymla. "I said, ‘No. I’m sure I’d be traumatized.’"

Nonetheless, he contends critics are complaining out of boredom.

"They have nothing better to do than complain about a show that’s on at 12:30 a.m., because their 3-year-old daughter might wake up and watch it," said Kymla. "They know that’s not true, when they know she’ll be asleep by 9 or 10 o’clock."

Another controversial show involved a skit about an illegal abortion.

"It was funny, but kind of sick, I guess," said Kath. "We did it like a Hall of Shame with an undercover camera. We had this guy performing illegal abortions with a heated-up coat hanger and pulling a piece of raw hamburger out on the other end of it. While the ‘woman’ was screaming ‘in pain,’ the guy said, ‘Oh my God, it’s moving,’ and then flushed it down the toilet."

Kath, a go-cart repairman, said he will continue with the same type of material.