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Friday, April 8, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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TV's `Almost Live!' Almost Keeps Promise To Stop Making Fun Of Kent

KENT - "In all seriousness," Bill Stainton, executive producer of the late-night comedy show "Almost Live!" said last week, "we're going to stop making fun of Kent."

So, no more sketches like "COPS in Kent," in which a woman gets arrested for not having big-enough hair and a man gets stopped for not wearing a baseball cap. The police officer opens his trunk and offers the man one of his extra caps, with "John Deere" or "Skoal" written across the top.

The "Almost Live!" jokes will stop on the irreverent KING-TV show, said Stainton, because a Kent junior-high-school teacher complained the show's jokes hurt the self-esteem of Kent's children.

"The older kids understand it's just a joke, but the younger kids feel bad when the kids from other cities make fun of them," Stainton said.

The city's "Almost Live!" image of having the panache of beef jerky has been a sore spot with locals for years.

Even Kent's elected officials have been feeling a tad sensitive. When some City Council members were chatting recently, Mayor Jim White became self-conscious: "I hope `Almost Live!' doesn't find out half the City Council drives pickup trucks."

Well, the city probably shouldn't start celebrating the joke moratorium too soon. It appeared to last, oh, about three days.

Did you hear about the Kent couple who were surprised when the woman suddenly had a baby? asked John Keister during the opening monologue of Saturday's show.

"Now, we've been accused in the past of being a bit hard on South King County and suggesting that maybe they're not totally on the ball," he said.

"We'll just offer this and let you make up your own mind."

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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