Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

The Legendary Comedy And Longevity Of Don Rickles

October 11, 2015

Mister_Hockey_PuckDon Rickles is regarded as a living legend of comedy. An icon of a time when the “Rat Pack” (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford) ruled Las Vegas.

The only reason he is considered with such reverence is because he has lived so long. It’s amazing that he is 89-years-old and still performs on stage. He has future gigs scheduled as far ahead as May 2016 if he is lucky enough to be alive to attend.

I mean no disrespect. I adore the man. I just don’t think he would be so exalted had he passed away, say, in the 1980s. He was the Howard Stern of his day. He insulted everybody. He was politically incorrect before the term “politically incorrect” came into existence.

His acting skills were marginal at best. He had his own sit-com in 1972 which lasted only thirteen episodes. He later starred in C.P.O. Sharkey that ran two seasons. He made guest appearances on many classic TV shows such as The Addams Family, Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Dream Of Jeannie but none which would be considered notable.

His best television appearances, in my opinion, occurred on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. One in particular was when Rickles was on while Bob Newhart was filling in for Johnny as guest host. Rickles accidentally broke a cigarette case on the desk and, the next night, Johnny noticed the damaged container. He was told by band leader Doc Severinsen that Rickles did it the night before so Johnny took off to the adjacent studio, where Rickles was taping an episode of C.P.O. Sharkey, and confronted the surprised Rickles about it.

He appeared in movies (Kelly’s Heroes, Beach Blanket Bingo, Casino) but without Academy Award recognition. His own grandchildren know him more for being the voice of Toy Story’s Mr. Potato Head than for anything else in his career.

It’s remarkable that here he is nowadays with his own web site featuring his own mobile app, his own twitter feed and selling DVDs of his Sharkey program as well as listings of upcoming performance locations.

To see an interview of a subdued Don Rickles, without all of the yelling and insulting of his known “shtick” act, catch him on his 2007 book-tour guest appearance on The Charlie Rose show. He speaks openly and honestly about his mother, about Johnny Carson, about Frank Sinatra and his friendship with colleague Bob Newhart.

The 2007 HBO special, “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project” helps to celebrate his notable life and celebrity by showing what it’s like behind the scenes of his performances.

His 2014 “One Night Only” tribute on Spike TV at the Apollo in Harlem was a delightful broadcast in his honor.

He has outlasted so many comedians who came after him: Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, John Belushi, Sam Kinison, John Candy, Robin Williams.

Rickles married late in life, at age 39, in 1965. He and his wife Barbara had two children. His son, Larry, died in 2011 from pneumonia.

He loves baseball and especially the Los Angeles Dodgers. He used to poke fun mercilessly at former Dodger Don Zimmer who once said that his most sweetest revenge was, as he and Rickles got older, they began to resemble one another.


Red Skelton Loved To Paint Clowns

October 5, 2015

Canvas, 11x14"

Comedian Red Skelton (1913-1997) always considered himself a clown rather than a comic. He believed his life’s work was to make people laugh so he wanted to be known as a clown because he defined it as being able to do everything.

In 1943, Skelton began producing artwork but did it privately for many years. He said he was inspired to try his hand at painting after visiting a large Chicago department store that had various paintings on display.

Skelton’s artwork of clowns remained a hobby until 1964 when his second wife Georgia, a former art student, persuaded him to have his first public showing of his work at the Sands hotel in Las Vegas where he was performing.

Skelton believed painting was an asset to his comedy work as it helped him to better visualize the imaginary props he used in his pantomime routines.

When asked why his artwork focused on clowns, he first said, “I don’t know why it’s always clowns.” After thinking a moment he continued by saying. “No, that’s not true. I do know why. I just don’t feel like thinking about it.”

What If Eleanor Roosevelt Could Fly?

September 30, 2015

I am fairly certain that that counterfactual did not mean by way of the airplane.

During a late 1970’s Saturday Night Live skit moderated by Jane Curtin, this question was raised amongst a panel of distinguished guests commenting on the ridiculousness of the former First Lady sprouting wings and leading an air raid attack of military bombers against Japan and Germany during World War II.

Gotta love comedy writers. Must have been one heckuva brainstorming session on that one.

Bumpersticker Of The Year:

September 16, 2015


Was There More Than One Tony-The-Wonder Horse?

September 13, 2015


Cowboy actor Tom Mix did all of his own tricks and rode Tony The Wonder Horse while making over 180 westerns together.

Mix was sadly killed in an automobile accident in 1940. His horse lived an additional two years and was put down in 1942.

Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe Besser of the Three Stooges made two episodes of comedy about having a sister named Birdie who was reincarnated as a horse. Both featured Tony The Wonder Horse.

These episodes were filmed, however, in the late 1950’s.

There must have been another Tony The Wonder Horse, I wonder.

Just 3 Three Stooges? Guess Again. Try 23!

September 12, 2015


1) Moe Howard

2) Shemp Howard

3) Kenneth Lackey – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1925 “Earl Carroll Vanities”

4) Dave Chasen – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1925 “Earl Carroll Vanities”

5) Larry Fine

6) Curly Howard

7) Fred Sanborn – 1930 “Soup To Nuts”

8) Eddie Moran – Healy Replacement Stooge

9) Sammy (Glasser) Wolfe – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

10) Paul “Mousie” Garner – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

11) Dick Hakins – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

12) Jack Wolf – Healy Replacement Stooge

13) Sam “Moody” Braun – Healy Replacement Stooge

14) Lou Warren – Healy Replacement Stooge

15) Bobby Pinkus – Healy Replacement Stooge

16) Jimmy Brewster – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1936 “San Francisco”

17) John “Red” Pearson – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1936 “San Francisco”

18) Frank Mitchell – performed live with Curly Joe and Mousie Garner

19) Joe Palma – fake Shemp double after his death

20) Mantan Moreland – Black comedian considered to replace Shemp

21) Joe Besser

22) Curly Joe DeRita

23) Emil Sitka – Considered to replace Larry after he suffered a stroke

The Man Who Made The Three Stooges

September 12, 2015


He was a comedian from Texas born in 1896. He didn’t seem very funny. He appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway and in movies. He is best known for creating the Three Stooges. He was an alcoholic. He was a mean drunk. He earned a hefty weekly salary yet underpaid his zany sidekicks. He saved no money. His favorite reading material were racing programs. After his son was born in 1937, he was beaten up outside a nightclub in Hollywood. He died from his injuries. He is quoted as saying “Never treat an audience as customers – always treat them as partners.” He was Ted Healy.


This Just In: Sarah Silverman Is A Comedic Genius

August 10, 2015


The first time I noticed the comedy of Sarah Silverman, she played a writer on Gary Shandling’s “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Then I enjoyed her performance as Jack Black’s roommate’s girlfriend in “School Of Rock.”

Her short-lived “Sarah Silverman Show” where she lived next door to a gay couple was also quite entertaining.

She appears as the very first guest on the late Joan River’s internet talk show called “In Bed With Joan” where the set was made up as a bedroom. Different.

One movie that didn’t quite appeal to me was her role as Jeff Garvin’s love interest in “I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With.” The entire movie was kinda weak actually. Sorry, Jeff.

Lately, she’s been turning up on with Jash-produced videos that are funny. Not ha-ha funny but cognitive funny.

She played a detective along with Seth Rogen and they got shrunk in size to enter a dog’s butt.

She sang a whimsical duet with Jeff Goldblum and one commenter posted that they should burn CDs and call themselves “Gold and Silver.” Cute.

Another funnybone tickler is her “Diva” song where she plays the guitar solo in front of a rainbow and reaches the one-word chorus.

No doubt about it. She is a bonafide genius.

Obviously, There Is More Than One Captain Obvious

February 28, 2010


According to the Urban Dictionary, there are numerous (and repetitive definitions) of “Captain Obvious:”

1. A sarcastic name for someone who states the obvious.

Capt: “The sky is blue.”
Man: “Thanks, Captain Obvious.”

2. A phrase quite obviously inspired by John Madden.

Contrary to popular belief, Captain Obvious is capable of flying but is afraid to, so he drives around the country in an RV, constantly on the lookout for blatantly obvious things to explain to the general public.
“Buffalo trails New England by three points at the two minute warning. When we return, that means Buffalo will have two minutes left to try to score. A field goal will tie the game. A touchdown will put Buffalo ahead. If Buffalo scores with any time left on the clock, New England will have a chance to try and score…”

3. A very slow-witted individual, usually one who states the most obvious thing.

A: “Hey, water’s wet!”
B: “Good call, Captain Obvious!”

4. Someone who says something that is so obvious, it’s not worth remembering what the person actually said.

Jim: “Hey, the world is in the universe!”
Timmy: “Well,well, thank you, Captain Obvious.”

5. Saying something that is obvious, that didn’t need to be said, and someone pointing out, wow, well done.

Another common term linked to this is also ‘No shit, Sherlock!’

6. Anyone who states the obvious.

Someone: “Soda’s bad for you.”
Me: “Thanks, Captain Obvious!”

7. A person who states the obvious as if nobody knew it already.

8. When a person says a thing that is obvious, you call them Captain Obvious.

9. Someone that has stated the clearly obvious.

A. “Hot chocolate is hot.”
B. “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”Coffee Cup

Tell ‘Em Groucho Sent Ya…

January 26, 2010


Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was born on October 2, 1890 in New York City.  His mother Minnie worked as a promoter for her brother, Julius’s Uncle Al Shean, a famous vaudeville comedian (“Absolutely, Mr. Gallagher” “Positively, Mr. Shean”).

Groucho was willing to give up performing and pursue a dream of becoming a doctor, but Minnie organized Groucho, his younger brother Gummo, and a girl named Mabel O’Donnell into a vaudeville act called The Three Nightingales.

Before long, Groucho’s older brothers Chico and Harpo joined the act, which eventually metamorphosed into The Six Mascots (Minnie and the boys’ Aunt Hannah rounded out the sextet). The Marx Brothers changed overnight into a comedy group.  Later blacklisted from vaudeville by E.F. Albee, the Marx Brothers made their fame and fortune in the movie industry beginning in the late 1920’s.

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(To read a witty and sarcastic letter that Groucho Marx wrote back to Warner Brothers, who warned him of possible infringement of WB’s film “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, as the Marx Brothers were making a comedy called “A Night in Casablanca.” …click here).

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Groucho certainly was grouchy.  At times, he was difficult to get close to. He suffered from depression but he was truly an American original.  Woody Allen praised him by saying, “”Groucho Marx was the best comedian this country ever produced. He is simply unique in the same way that Picasso or Stravinsky are.”

A famous French witticism states “Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.”; “I’m a Marxist of the Groucho variety”.

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My favorite all-time Groucho Marx quote is:  “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”

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