UPDATED: A producer and an actor who worked on “Alf” are speaking out about the shocking 20-year-old “blooper” reel now on Youtube that shows the cuddly, furry star of the NBC ’80s sitcom using the n-word. TMZ caught up with Steve Lamar, associate producer on the series for three years, who said, “You’re talking about 20 years ago when the world was not so ridiculously PC. Anyone that’s offended needs to lighten up already.” The actor, John LaMotta – who played neighbor Trevor Ochmonek on “Alf” – was dismissive of the entire series. “I thought the show ‘Alf’ was a piece of [bleep],” he told TMZ. “. . . worst work I ever did.”
PREVIOUSLY: It may have seemed funny at the time. Or maybe not. We’ll report, you decide: It’s an unfortunate use of the racially charged n-word in a blooper reel from way back in the 1980s – from “Alf,” of all places, the silly NBC sitcom about an “alien life form” (a furry puppet with a long snout operated and voiced by series creator Paul Fusco) who takes up residence with a typical American family.
In the clip, which is now gaining viewership and notoriety after surfacing on Youtube (see below), Alf is seen using the n-word in an apparent attempt to imitate a scene from another NBC series of the time, “L.A. Law.”
The scene in “L.A. Law” – which you can also see you on Youtube here – shows a man in a courtroom witness stand being questioned by attorney Jonathan Rollins (Blair Underwood). The man evidently suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, the neuropsychiatric disorder that causes uncontrollable facial tics and also makes its sufferers blurt out words they would not ordinarily utter out loud – such as the n-word in this courtroom scene (years later, a similarly afflicted character repeatedly used the same word in a story arc on “Rescue Me”).
Apparently, the “L.A. Law” scene must have been notorious enough that Fusco, as Alf, was somehow moved to imitate it to fill the moments between shots. The n-word can be heard at about 4 minutes and 41 seconds into the blooper reel, which also includes a number of other ribald outtakes from the mouth of this normally family friendly character who apparently morphed into Buddy Hackett or the off-camera Krusty the Clown between takes.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the video’s been on Youtube for about a year, but wasn’t noticed by many until it was featured about a week ago on another site, BadTVBlog.com. Now it’s been viewed more than 240,000 times. The identity of the person who obtained it and posted it a year ago was not reported. Nor did THR report any reaction from Fusco or anyone else seen in the clips.
So what does it mean? Was ALF secretly racist? Or is this another example of a video made privately years ago that has made its way unfairly into the public domain because we now have this thing called Youtube where anything can be posted by anyone at any time whether the subjects of the video like it or not?