Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The ‘Let’s Go Buffalo Show’ is an endearing time capsule from a forgettable period in the city’s history.
Imagine a strange civilization where a big thumbs up is the main form of communication, the Goo Goo Dolls are the Beatles, and everyone constantly asks each other, “why do you love Buffalo?”
This world did exist and it was known as the Let’s Go Buffalo Show.
The local access program was perfect for the medium: Relentless enthusiasm for all things local, unhinged graphics, amateur production, and a total lack of self awareness. In its best years, it arguably filled a void.
The show’s host, Bob Kazee, gave himself the task of finding anything in the city worthy of a thumbs up during an especially sad time to live in Buffalo. The CEO of its most promising company had been arrested for fraud in 2002, City Hall was forced to give up control over its own finances to New York State in 2003, and dreams of an okay downtown seemed unattainable. For Kazee, however, local celebrities, food festivals, the existence of sports, and a new Goo Goo Dolls album (they formed decades ago as a local punk band) helped make up for all of that.
The show seems to have slowly faded away since 2010. Meanwhile, a younger generation of boosters now present the city as something more like an affordable Williamsburg. The Let’s Go Buffalo Show was always a little cringeworthy—but with time it’s turning into an endearing relic from a forgettable era.