Everything He Touches, Dies

As our country’s political apparatus continues to reflect well known parodies from both written media and television, a certain orange grifter is doing everything he can to delay and circumvent the multitude of legal indictments that are facing him, including the federal cases brought by Special Council Jack Smith related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The lawyers for “Agent Orange”, with a straight face, have argued that “Orange Julius” didn’t do what he is accused of and that his position as president at the time gives him full immunity from prosecution for breaking laws. They are resting their flimsy argument on the fact that “Diaper Don” was already impeached and acquitted for his actions by the US Congress, a process that is purely political and has no legal basis in a court of law. Most hilariously, after reading today’s Letter From An American newsletter, comes this fantastic pair of paragraphs:

A number of Republican Senators—including then Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—agreed, saying they would acquit Trump but expected him to answer to the law rather than the political system. “We have a criminal justice system in this country,” McConnell said. “We have civil litigation. And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.” 

Interestingly, Trump’s argument that he cannot now be charged with crimes makes the Republican senators who voted to acquit him complicit. It’s an acknowledgement of what was clear all along: they could have stopped him at any point, but they repeatedly chose not to. Now he is explicitly suggesting that their behavior shields him from answering to the law. 

Heather Cox Richardson

What an utter asshat. I honestly can not wrap my head around what makes “Mar-A-Lardo” appealing to people.

Establishing The Norm

The pilot/premiere (S1E1) of “All In The Family” – 1971

Norman Lear passed yesterday. He was one of the most important and influential television producers of all time, single handedly responsible for all time classic shows like”All In The Family“, “The Jeffersons“, “Maude“, “Good Times“, and “Sanford and Son“, to name a few. There have been numerous great stories and articles shared over the past day or so about Mr. Lear, who from all accounts, still had his fastball at the ripe old age of 100. For me, I’ll just leave you with the above pilot/premiere episode of “All In The Family”, which still crushes 52 years later. If you get the chance and can find the series on you local streaming service, take the time to watch it. It is still funny and tackles social and political issues that are – sadly – still relevant today.

You Spin Me Round

Like we needed a reason to love Paul Rudd any more? He and Jimmy Fallon re-made the iconic 1980s one hit wonder video “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” from ‘Dead or Alive’ and it is just genius. Rudd has the mannerisms and nuances of the leader singer Peter Burns down pat.

The original video is below so you can compare.

Still Bringing The Heat

This past Sunday, I went to NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center) to see a screening of Young Frankenstein, followed by a ‘conversation’ with Mel Brooks himself…all of 90 years young.

Watching the movie in a theater the size of NJPAC was fantastic. I’ve only watched Young Frankenstein (more times than I can count) at home on TV, so listening to an audience laughing and reacting to the movie was a unique experience. It made me appreciate even more the subltle nuances of Gene Wilder’s reactions, and the classic facial expressions of Cloris Leachman and Marty Feldman. You just don’t get that from watching the movie in your living room.

But the real joy came during the conversation with Mel Brooks after the show, where he shared stories and memories of filming Young Frankenstein: how Marty Feldman kept on switching the shoulder of Igor’s hump until someone on the set noticed, upon which Mel thought it funny enough to write it into the script; how in the grave digging scene, an off the cuff quip from Feldman (again) led to him writing in the downpour of rain as being the only thing that could make digging up a grave worse.

Near the end of the conversation, the host read some questions that the audience got to submit for Mel to answer and there were two interactions that illustrated how quick and brilliantly funny Mel Brooks still is:

The Underwear Question

Audience Question: Mel, boxers or briefs?
Mel (without missing a beat): I’m going to give you an honest answer. Depends.
Brought down the house.

Don’t Kiss And Tell Question

Initial Audience Question: Katie asks if you would consider marrying her?
Mel: I’ll think about it. I’ll definitely think about it
Next Audience Question: Jennifer says that she is a huge fan and was wondering if she could give you a kiss?
Mel (again, without missing a beat): Oh, I’m sorry Jennifer, I’m engaged to Katie now and I don’t think that would be appropriate.
Brings down the house again.

Of course, the most popular questions were: When are “Spaceballs II” and “History of the World, Part 2” coming out?

And Now For Something Completely The Same

Saw this bit in the NY Times today about how the remaining members of Monty Python are planning a reunion tour of some sort. Seems it has been in some form of discussion for a few months now.

While I think this is interesting news, something tells me it won’t be nearly as funny as the originals when they were much much younger.

But it’s not about the art. It’s about the money.

You will not find a bigger Python fan than yours truly. However, I am skeptical that revisiting their classic bits as ~70 year old men will enhance their legacy. How will they be able to top the comic timing of The Dead Parrot Sketch, Ministry of Silly Walks, Spam Spam Spam Eggs and Spam, and numerous others? And not to mention their masterpiece Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.

I hope they prove me wrong. I really believe that comedy and movies from folks like Python should be left to let live based on the brilliance of their original work. Because as time goes by, you may see something in everyday life that reminds you of one of their skits (Like when you meet a person named Arthur Wilson. Or you see a postcard with Mount Kilimanjaro on it. Or you see a can of Spam.) and all you can do is smile.

Man On The Moon

Once again, the rumor that legendary comic Andy Kaufman is still alive is gaining steam almost 30 years after his ‘death’. I put ‘death’ in quotes because for these 30 years, it is exceedingly obvious that no one really knows the truth about if he actually died or if he faked his death.

For those of you unfamiliar, Kaufman was a comic who in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s took the world by storm with his innovative and irreverent acts, performance art, and elaborate pranks. Watch these videos here, here and here to get a taste of his act. Oh, and he also starred on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980’s, Taxi.

So this week at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards ceremony, which honors up and coming comics, the rumor of his faked death was re-invigorated yet again:

During the closing ceremony, Kaufman’s brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremonies to once again address the rumors that his brother had not passed away from lung cancer in 1984, but was actually alive, and living in obscurity.

Michael shared a story of finding his brother’s elaborate plans to fake his own death after Andy had passed on, along with a note that he would reappear on Christmas Eve 1999 at his favorite restaurant. Michael went to the restaurant, and though Andy never showed, a letter was handed to him that explained that Andy had gone into hiding to live a normal life and now had a wife and daughter”but didn’t want anyone to find out while the Kaufmans’ father Stanley was still alive.

Stanley, who established the Andy Kaufman Awards nine years ago to recognize upcoming talent in the spirit of Andy (previous winners include Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts), passed away this summer. According to Michael, a month afterwards, a 24-year old woman came forward to him, claiming that Andy had not died 29 years prior, was still very much alive, and quite grateful that the awards recognized young people who had been inspired by his work. The young woman, who was never named, came to the stage, though McCarthy doesn’t report her sharing any sort of story.

To paraphrase Verbal Kint: “The greatest trick Andy Kaufman ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Source: Defamer

Zuck on SNL?

Now this would be fun:

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is being lured to have the last laugh on Oscar-nominated “The Social Network” by making a cameo on “Saturday Night Live” alongside Jesse Eisenberg, who plays him in the movie.

via NY Post.

The Holy Censorship Letter of Antioch

A letter between the producers of the film Monty Python and The Search for the Holy Grail after a member of the British Film Board saw a pre-production screening of the film.

“I would like to…retain ‘fart in your general direction’.”

I am not prepared to pursue this line of inquiry any further and I think this letter is extremely silly.

Via Letters of Note

And Now For Something Completely Different

This week IFC is running Monty Python: Almost the Truth, The Lawyers Cut, the “definitive” documentary on Monty Python as they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. If you have not set your DVR, please do so as the first two episodes have been very interesting and entertaining. They interview the members of Monty Python who provide some great perspective on their thoughts and mindsets when they were creating their famous skits. Last nights was great because they went through some of the favorite skits from the Python troupe as well as some famous (and not famous) comedians and writers. Some of the skits that were called out include:

  • Mr. Hilter Living in Maidenhead
  • Dead Parrot Sketch
  • Penguin on the Telly

And many, many others. If you are any sort of comedy and Monty Python fan, this is a must watch.

Blogging “His Boys”

This is pure comedy.

A football player from the Washington Redskins, Chris Cooley, trying to be all hip and cool with his own blog, posted a photo of a quiz (NSFW) he was taking on the New Orleans Saints defense, because he wanted to try out posting to his blog on his own. He did this while he was naked. And you can see everything. And he didn’t realize it. And it was on his blog for a full day, Sunday, while he was playing the game against the Saints.

Then, he posted an apology that is funnier than the offending post itself.

Don’t mix technology and football players.

Manny Who?

Seen Sunday August 2, two days after Manny Ramirez was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, on a construction site on Lansdowne Street across the street from Fenway Park. Photo was actually taken from within the grounds of Fenway Park.