Category Archives: Tuesday Tribute

Tuesday Tribute: Madeline Kahn, #4 of 1,682

I feel Lili von Shtupp’s pain in this one. If I’d tried to be a stripper, this is the best I could possibly have hoped for. Absolute genius from Blazing Saddles (1974).

Paint the peacocks black because Eileen Brennan is gone.

Well Lerlines. It’s happened. The amazingly talented, funny, and totes hot Eileen Brennan is dead at 80. Her online obits are all touting the Oscar nomination she earned for her role as the perpetually seething Captain Lewis in Private Benjamin.

The difference between you and Eileen is she makes that tree hat look good, girlie.

The difference between you and Eileen, girlie, is she makes that tree hat look good.

But we all loved her  most as Mrs Peacock in Clue, and the fact that she wasn’t nominated for that role is a crime against comedy. Also, her soup spoon should have won a Proppy. Also, there should be an award called The Proppy.


Remember when I said she was totes hot? I wasn’t just whistling Dixie. No one, and I mean no one, can fake French like Miss betty DeBoop of the hardboiled, star-studded comedy The Cheap Detective, which should definitely be on your Slumber Party movie list if it is not already.

So now, in honor of Eileen, all the songs I sing today will be in la la la la form. Try it! It really works for Down by Jay Sean. Oh, and Lose Yourself by Eminem…of course.

Tribute to Gregory Hines #420

My brother posted a news story from a celebration on a Santa Cruz college campus on 4/20  with the caption, “Roman Red.” It inspired me to post this kind vid from History of The World Part 1.

Jointus!

Jointus!

This clip more than speaks for itself, but if it doesn’t, I’ll try. Gregory Hines, wearing an ill-fitting Roman soldier uniform jumped off the back of a chariot into field of funny looking plants, asking for “papyrus! Rolling papyrus!” It was one of the highlights of an already bright career.

Watch for my two favorite lines: “You people don’t know the value.” and “Let the coolness get into our vertebrae.”  Please add your own in the comments.

Tuesday Tribute: Joe Piscopo. Yeah. I said it, and I meant it.

Brad's double thumbs-up has been photo-shopped out of this shot.

Brad’s double thumbs-up has been photo-shopped out of this shot.

Oh holy mother of baby Julius Christ! LL Cool J and Brad Paisley have teamed up together to record a song. That’s right. Ladies Love Cool James and Brad “I Want to Check You For Ticks” Paisley…together…at last? Wait. Come back! It gets better. The song is called Accidental Racist. Stop! No. Don’t look it up. Don’t watch it. Here. Watch that Ticks song instead, it’ll make your ears bleed a little less.

If you must, Rembert Browne discussed the song on Grantland, and his description is vivid enough for anyone with even a modicum of hope for the human race. He has done a great service for all of us–especially when he noted that it was basically a redux of the SNL sketch where Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo sent up Ebony and Ivory. Why not just watch either one of those videos? You can’t lose.

Full Disclosure: I was a huge Paul McCartney fan and still remember sitting on the edge of my grandmother’s bed, watching the World Premiere of this video on Mtv (when that was still a thing). I have watched it twice, non-ironically,  while  writing this post, and found that it still holds up, especially the clapping and hand-shaking part. It’s all  better than the Accidental Rasict video that was released last week and has already been removed from Youtube. Hopefully, the Interweb has been salted so that it may never grow back again.

I am also a fan of Joe Piscopo. What? You heard that Joe Piscopo isn’t funny? Who the eff told you that? Seriously. I want names. Was it Topher? Jules? Ben? Some 20 year old hipster who thinks Dave Chapelle is old school? F@#k those guys. Oh…it was this:

Well…yeah. But he didn’t know about Youtube then. Cut him some slack. You know what? F*#k that. He loves his blonde wife, and he likes to sing bad rock ballads about it. So what? Is that a crime. Screw that! Even if it is, Joe Freaking Piscopo put on one of the best comedic performances in Slumber Party history as Danny Vermin in Johnny Dangerously. How good is it? He’s in a movie where everyone in the cast is in an all-out, on-camera brawl to get the most laughs, and our Joe not only holds his own,  he steals it. Seriously. Did you see the movie? Even the skipper from Gilligan’s Island shows up mid-movie to try to step on everyone’s thunder. What’s up Skip? Don’t you have a boat to crash, you bald, Giligan-smacking bitch?

Don’t believe me? Here is a video of Joe stealing the trailer…by force. Once.

Friday Morning Videos: “Mind Over Matter”…. And a tribute to Roger Ebert.

It’s not Friday. I don’t care.

I checked into Facebook an hour or so ago and saw that one of my friends had changed his cover photo to an adorable picture of Siskel, Ebert, Telly the Monster and Oscar the Grouch. I laughed. Then I scrolled down and saw why he posted it: after many years of an epic battle, cancer finally proved, again, that it sucks the most of all the things that suck. It took Roger Ebert. Come on, cancer. We all agree you’re the Suckiest of the Suck. Just stop.

My dad, sister and I watched Siskel and Ebert religiously. Our local movie theater, a converted opera house, had its own balcony, and it was always closed because of the extreme rat infestation up there, but we always fantasized that we’d sneak up there, just like they did, and get to Talk Movies. In college, my pledge name was “Siskel,” presumably for all the VHS videos I had in my room, and I remember grumbling to a friend that I was SO more Ebert than Siskel.

In the last few years I’ve been reading Ebert’s blog regularly, checking into it every few weeks, and realized some things I hadn’t known about him. He’s a brilliant writer, first of all. He’s a compassionate person. He’s a devoted husband, crazy about his wife in a way that most of us can dream about, and she’s the most extraordinary person: beautiful, strong, and fiercely caring for him. Of course, those descriptions all came from him, and I can’t imagine that he’d ever see her as anything but a warrior angel.

It breaks my heart to re-read those sentences and realize I inadvertently used present tense, and that I should’ve said “was.” He WAS those things. Cancer. Suck.

After wiping the tears from my keyboard, I knew I’d have to post a SlumberPartyMovies tribute to him. To what I’m sure would’ve been his horror, I first thought of “Summer School”–a movie I saw in a drive-in double feature, paired with “Lost Boys.” (BTW: How radical am I? Except that was the first time I’d worn my contact lenses, and one fell out during “Cry Little Sister.”)

My sister and I loved this movie. Like, LOVED it. Like, one summer, when we were totally bored, I helped Samantha write down every word of the movie in the computer so we could print it out and have the whole script. Kids, this is what your elders did before the internet.

Thumbs way up!

Thumbs way up!

I tried finding a scene from the movie when Chainsaw and Dave give one of their Siskel and Ebert reviews–like after the roller coaster, when they give a thumbs-up/thumbs-down, and then confirm it’s a thumbs-up when a classmate barfs into the garbage can. But I couldn’t find it. What I did find was this gem.

The song, “Mind Over Matter,” rocks on every level, and we had it on our version of repeat, which is to say, we recorded it over and over on a whole tape and let it play continuously. The song plays when the students are taking their Big Test and going into labor, and–miracle of miracles–is sung by “Better Off Dead” singer EG Daily. (How did I not know that?)

Watch this video. You won’t regret it. Especially not the part at about 2:10 when motherfucking Carl Reiner dances in a linen suit.  I can’t say for certain, but I’m reasonably sure this is the only appearance he ever made in a music video. What else? Strobe lights, aerobic thongs, and the cast performs onstage, something you won’t see happen again until Rockula.

What did Mr. Ebert think of Summer School? I’d tell you, except the SunTimes server crashed under the weight of millions of internet mourners moments after the news broke. I can tell you what the excerpt on Google says: “Summer School is a movie like that, a comedy so listless, leisurely and unspirited that it was an act of the will for me to care about it, even …”

My guess is, the rest of the review don’t go so good.

But Mr. Ebert, I still choose to pay tribute to you with “Mind Over Matter” anyway. And this might sound as hokey as a principal letting a teacher get tenure even though 80% of his class fails summer school, but you, sir, are the greatest example of mind over matter I’ve ever known. You fought cancer. You lost half your damned face, for Christ’s sake. And still, you wrote to us, and spoke to us, and we developed with you the kind of one-sided personal bond that one can only get by being a blogger, and allowing comments, and sharing your story with the world.

We’ll see you at the movies.

Tuesday Tribute: Christopher Guest

Happy 65th Birthday, Christopher Guest! I’m in a rush to prepare for a business trip, so I’ll just let him make with the funny, and you can all gape at his transformative powers. I think he might be a metamorphmagus.

His first name is Tyrone.

My favorite Christopher Guest character, simply because he’s possibly one of the nicest men in cinematic history.

Everybody dance!

And, yes, I know you want to turn it up to 11. But you’ve seen that one.

Tuesday Tribute: My First Mix Tape (Warning: Sadness.)

I got horrible news a few weeks ago, during the presidential debate. No, not that Obama had been replaced with a pod person, although I can see how you’d think that. Rather, an old friend, Jim, got in touch with me–the first time in 20 years–to tell me his cousin, Drew, had kidney cancer, and was in pretty bad shape. He wanted me and my sister to know. For a few summers in the early 90s we spent nearly every entertaining moment with Jim and Drew, and while I hadn’t heard from them in years, I was thoroughly upset.

Jim told me Drew’d love to get letters from Samantha and I, and I told him I’d write to him. And then the week happened, and I suddenly realized it was the next Friday, and I knew that after work I’d have to sit down and write to Drew.

Only I opened Facebook Saturday morning to find I was too late. The cancer they’d discovered four weeks earlier had finished its work, and Drew with it. He was 38, and newly married, and he was gone just like that.

We wrote to each other my senior year of high school. He was a freshman at PSU, so I kind of had a college boyfriend, even if it was of the no-touching long-distance kind. We talked on the phone a lot. He was magnificently hilarious, incredibly intelligent, and could be petulant and moody in the way that 18-year-old guys are–especially 18-year-old guys who are still shedding the last vestiges of high school dorkiness. But lord, was he funny.

At the time I was deep into my Broadway musical phase, and after an especially spirited discussion about How Broadway Sucks, I sent him a mix tape of my favorite show tunes. He was unimpressed, although he did like “One Night in Bangkok” and thought “Master of the House” would be well-performed by Muppets, a comparison I still hang onto this day. Accompanying the rest of his blistering rhetoric on the awfulness of West Side Story, Hair, and Les Miserables, though, came his own mix tape, compiled from years of poaching his older brother’s music collection, and, I suspect, a few John Hughes movies.

He called it “Unfathomably Good Music,” and I was blown away by it. I listened to it ALL the time, and made my sister a copy. It introduced me to the music of many bands of which I’d only heard, and several that were previously unknown to me. It  traveled with me to college, to New York, to San Francisco, and back to Pittsburgh again. It lost its cover en route, but the tape is still listenable and intact.

So when I found out about Drew, I ran downstairs, into the last remaining box of cassette tapes, and unearthed “Unfathomably Good Music.” The tape lost its cover over the years, so I had to listen to it again to pull together the full playlist. As a result, I’m kind of a teary mess at the moment. But here you go, folks: the playlist of the first mix tape I ever received from a boy.

SIDE A

  1. Ceremony by New Order
  2. Into the Mystic by Van Morrison
  3. Pictures of You by The Cure
  4. Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode
  5. So in Love by OMD
  6. Motion of Love by Gene Loves Jezabel
  7. Just Like Heaven by The Cure
  8. Satellite by Echo and the Bunnymen
  9. Chorus by Erasure
  10. Put the Message in the Box by World Party
  11. Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

SIDE B

  1. No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley
  2. Lips Like Sugar by Echo and the Bunnymen
  3. Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo
  4. Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order
  5. Love Will Tear Us Apart Again by Joy Division
  6. Every Day Is Like Sunday by Morrissey
  7. This Is How It Feels by Inspiral Carpets
  8. One More Time by The Cure
  9. See a Little Light by Bob Mould
  10. The Perfect Girl by The Cure

I know what you’re thinking, San Francisco friends, and you’re wrong. I submit to you track 1 of Side B, “No Woman, No Cry,” aka, the anthem of freshmen who want to get laid by girls. Drew wasn’t gay. He just had really, really fabulous taste in music, in all senses of the word, and it’s because of this mix tape that I knew how to turn on The Cure when I really wanted to get my cry on. It’s because of Drew that I entered college with any kind of musical street cred.

Listening to these songs again, I felt nostalgic and sad, of course. I saw myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom, crying to “One More Time” after I’d called it quits with him. But the song that really killed me–the one that had me sobbing hardest–was this one. It’s the exact opposite of sad. It’s joy and beauty and heavenly boys spinning madly in a mirror-balled dance floor, and harmonizing with choirs of synthesizers. It’s life and fun and the exact opposite of cancer.

Drew started a blog to write about his experience with illness, and called it http://drewgoesthereandbackagain.wordpress.com. He only had time to write two entries, but he never thought for a minute he wouldn’t come back again. I thought he would’ve, too, or I wouldn’t have taken so much time to sit my ass down and send him a letter.

So fuck you, cancer. This is what I think of you. Take your bad cells and your short notice and stuff it in the back dumpster at The End-Up, because your kind is not welcome here. These boys are here to harmonize your ass back to hell.