Seriously. Wasn’t it just a little over a month ago that I posted about Phyllis for Tuesday Tribute’s Surprisingly Still Alive edition? And then yesterday, I was surprised to be surprised to hear of the older-than-toilets-that-flush comedian’s death. Today, instead of posting another tribute to Lady Frizzelda, I’ll tell you about another time I paid tribute to her. A few years ago, I worked for Foot Comedy Walking Tours, giving a tour about some famous women of San Francisco called Go West Young Woman!* I had stops for museum magnate Alma Spreckels, dancer Isadora Duncan, topless pioneer Carol Doda, a poisoned-rum-punch slinging bartender pirate by the name Pigeon-Toed Sal and, at The Purple Onion, the spot of her first stand-up routine (at the ridiculously young age of 38), I paid tribute to the old girl herself. Instead of just blathering on about Phyllis’s life, I decided to illustrate the fact that the fast-talking funny gal was famous for spewing out 12 punchlines in about a minute by forcing the tourists to read 12 classic Diller lines from a Foot-brand index card (such as “I put on a peekaboo blouse. He took a peek and booed.” and “Cleaning the house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.”). I had to encourage them, telling them not to worry…we’re all friends…no one was going to make fun of them…blah di blah di blah. I timed them. It usually took them about three minutes. I spent the next two minutes making fun of those tourists, telling them in great detail how much they suck in comparison to Phyllis Diller. And they still do, Phyllis. They still do.
*The tour is still there and still funny and fabulous, but someone else is giving it.