Synopsis by Mark Deming
The comedy team that made the phrase "nyuk nyuk nyuk" part of the American vocabulary gets the full biographical treatment in this made-for-TV feature. The Three Stooges opens in 1959, as a TV executive tries to persuade Moe Howard (Paul Ben-Victor) to reunite with his former onscreen partners to publicize the television premiere of a package of Three Stooges classic comedy shorts. Howard then flashes back on his long and remarkable career, as vaudeville star Ted Healy (Marton Csokas) assembles Moe Howard, sibling Shemp Howard (John Kassir), and Larry Fine (Evan Handler) as "stooges" for his stage act. As Moe, Shemp, and Larry gain popularity, a jealous Healy forces them to strike out on their own, but after many grueling years on the road, Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn (Linal Haft) offers them a chance to star in their own series of two-reel comedies. But Shemp, always stage-shy, backs out of the group, and his brother Jerome (Michael Chiklis) -- aka "Curly" -- takes over, and the Three Stooges become a sensation. However, success proves to be a bumpy road for the group, as a bad deal with Columbia prevents them from reaping the full benefits of their success, and a serious illness forces Curly to quit, bringing Shemp back into the act. Mel Gibson was an executive producer for this biopic, which first aired on ABC on April 24, 2000. Incidentally, this wasn't Michael Chiklis' first time playing an icon of American comedy; he portrayed John Belushi in the 1989 drama Wired.
career, comedy, show-business, vaudeville