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NewsRadio episode






Josh Lieb
Brad Isaacs
Paul Simms


James Burrows


Barbara Dorio

Production Code


Original Airdate

April 4, 1995




The Crisis

"Smoking" is the third episode of the first season of NewsRadio.


During a staff meeting, Dave announces that the office has become a non-smoking workplace, much to Matthew's delight. While Beth takes up extra gum chewing to compensate, Bill nonchalantly disregards the ordinance at first, but then offers to pay the fines to be allowed to continue smoking, much to Dave's annoyance. Matthew complains about the smoking, but is too afraid to confront Bill directly

Lisa is suspicious that Joe saw her and Dave together at the movies the previous night. While engaging him in conversation, he acts very dodgy, adding fuel to her paranoia.

Bill points out that given the size of the office, a smoking area should be provided. Beth and Dave set up an area by the window, which comes complete with a strong wind tunnel draft. Jimmy suggests that they should bypass the ordinance by bribery, which is how he also got around putting up non-functioning sprinklers.

Dave makes a deal with Bill that he will give up drinking coffee if Bill quits smoking. They manage to make it through the night, but snap at Matthew the next morning in Dave's office. Bill later broadcasts in a run-on monotone, which Jimmy fixes by giving Bill a cigarette, only for Dave to take it away, bringing back the monotone. Catherine pleads to Dave to let Bill smoke while he's on the air, as she enjoys the smell. Matthew tries to offer Dave and Bill vegetables to help with their addictions, only to admit to being addicted to vegetables himself. Dave later offers Bill a nicotine patch, which he had managed to convince his own doctor to prescribe for himself. At first, the patch seems to help, but some time later, Bill experiences side effects and gets sent to the emergency room in an ambulance, after having been wearing many patches at once.

Lisa confronts Joe, who finally admits to her that he was at the movies with a friend of his who is gay. However, he is adamant that he is not gay. He also has no idea that Lisa was out with Dave.

Dave catches Bill having resumed smoking, and admits to being back on his coffee habit. Joe's solution is to hermetically seal the broadcast booth so that Bill can smoke in it as much as he wants, so long as the air doesn't run out.


Dave: "Mr. James, I didn't see you come in."

Jimmy: "Yeah, well, that's the way I like it. I'm like, uh, that magician guy, what's his name?"

Dave: "Uh, David Copperfield?"

Jimmy: "Nope."

Dave: "Siegfried?"

Jimmy: "Unh-uh."

Dave: "Roy?"

Jimmy: "That's the one."

Bill (regarding cigarettes): "These guys are my little friends. They're always there when I need them, my reliable little buddies."

Dave: "Hey Bill, I'm your friend."

Bill: "Yeah? Where were you last night around three AM when I was watching Steel Magnolias and crying my eyes out?"

(awkward pause)

Dave: "Hey, Bill, I, I have an idea. Tell you what: I'll give up coffee, if you give up cigarettes, huh? We'll go through this thing together."

Bill: "How's that supposed to help me? You should have to give up something of equal difficulty. Like going to the bathroom."

Bill: "Morning, Chief!"

Dave: "Morning, Bill."

Bill: "So..?"

Dave: "Nope. Haven't had a drop of coffee. You, you smoked?"

Bill: "Not at all. How're you feeling?"

Dave: "Well, I have a... pounding headache and my arms feel like they're about 12 feet long. But other than that, I feel fine. You?"

Bill: "I've been better. Coughed up something that looked like escargot this morning. But I guess that's a good sign."

Dave: "Yeah, yeah."

Bill (holding up his coffee mug): "You don't mind, do you?"

Dave: "Oh, oh gosh, no, Bill. Please, enjoy."

Bill (smelling coffee): "The old java jive. Chock Full o' Nuts? They should call it Chock Full o' Flavor!" (drinks coffee)

Dave: "Okay, uh, what the hell are you doing, Bill?"

Bill: "Oh, come on, Dave, we went a good nine and a half hours. Must we continue this little charade?"

Dave: "Come on, Bill, I'm doing this for you. We had an agreement."

Bill: "If you crack first, Dave, it won't make you any less of a man."

Dave: "I'm nowhere near cracking."

Bill: "Neither am I, my friend."

Dave: "All right, then..."

Matthew (entering Dave's office): "Dave..."

Dave: "Oh, Matthew, what is it now? For God's sake, no one's smoking, okay?"

Matthew: "But..."

Bill: "But nothing!"

Dave: "You know, what we need around here is an anti-whining ordinance!"

Bill: "So just zip your sniveling little lip and HAUL YOUR SKINNY ASS OUT OF HERE!!!"

(Matthew runs away)

Bill: "I don't think that qualifies as cracking, do you?"

Dave: "No, no, no."

Beth: "Hey Dave, maybe you could help me out, too? I was wondering if you could go to your doctor and get me fitted for a diaphragm?"

Dave: "Why don't you just use your gum?"

Dave: "I just had no idea that the patch could have side effects."

Bill: "And I had no idea you're only supposed to wear one at a time."

Dave: "Oh? How many were you wearing?"

Bill: "Fifteen, sixteen. I sorta stuck them all around my waist, like a belt."

Dave: "Oh. Well, you're fine now. That's all that matters."

Bill: "More or less. There are a few lingering effects, but you shouldn't worry yourself about it them."

Dave: "Oh, no, no, what is it, Bill, what?"

Bill: "I'd rather not say."

Dave: "Anything I can do to help."

Bill: "It smells like an ashtray when I pee. Anything you can do to help me with that?"

Dave: "Gosh, I hope not."


Main Cast[]

Dave Foley as Dave Nelson

Stephen Root as Jimmy James

Andy Dick as Matthew Brock

Maura Tierney as Lisa Miller

Vicki Lewis as Beth

Joe Rogan as Joe Garelli

Khandi Alexander as Catherine Duke

Phil Hartman as Bill McNeal

Guest Stars[]

Monte Russell as Paramedic



Bill's smoking habit is first featured here.


Throughout the first half of the episode, Bill appears to be wearing nearly the same outfit he wore in "The Pilot."

The producers have commented that this is among the best known episodes of the series.

The stock shot of the speeding ambulance would be reused several times throughout the series for comedic effect. This is its first appearance.