Category Archives: Tuesday Tribute

Tuesday Tribute: Madeline Kahn, #3 of 1,682

UPDATE: This post inspired a new category: Nomi’s Decoder Ring! Also included in this category are these posts. As you were.

Been enjoying our new Bluray with Roku, which means the interface is much nicer with the Netflix streaming, and I’ve been discovering a lot of the goodness they’ve been secretly adding. (Coming to America? Check. Beverly Hills Cop? Check check. Raw? Check check check.)

So last night we’re watching Clue, because it’s Clue, and during the fabulous “No meaning yes” scene between Martin Mull and Tim Curry–and BTW, we watched Mr. Mom on Sunday night, so we had two nights in a row of Martin Mull and Christopher Lloyd–we all know that the incomparable Mrs. White slams her glass against the fireplace and screams “PLEASE!”

(I should add here that we recently bought an obscenely big television, so watching old movies is like watching new movies, because you can see so, so much more.)

Anyway, I’m anticipating Madeline Kahn being hilarious–which, honestly, is anticipating a leaf falling in September–when my husband says, “WHAT does the fireplace say?”

Still from elijahloverx’s Top 25 moments

We ran it back. It says NOUVEAU RICHE OBLIGE. The fireplace is reminding the tacky nouveau riche homeowners that they should be giving away some of their millions, instead of investing it in carved fireplaces and secret passageways.

And you thought Communism was just a red herring.

P.S. No, this is not so much a tribute to Madeline Kahn as it is a tribute to the Cate Bangs, a set designer and owner of the most awesome name since Johnny Rocks, but since anything involving Madeline Kahn is ultimately a tribute to her, she gets the credit.

Tribute to Gregory Hines: Part 2 of 19,456

I know. I know. I didn’t write a Tuesday Tribute, but it’s not that I forgot, it’s just that I wanted to pay tribute to Gregory Hines, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to pay tribute to White Nights or Running Scared. I’ve come up with a solution. This week: Running Scared. Next week: White Nights. That’s right. Two Gregory Hines posts in as many weeks. What’s wrong with that? Who the eff are you? The Gregory Hines police? You know there’s no such thing, right? Idiot.

You’ve been served!


Hines style!










Just kidding. I got the idea to pay tribute to Mr Hines when Sonia, of The Sonia Show, blogged about that awkward moment when an urbanite wonders what the hell everyone is looking at, and an islander rolls her eyes and says, “It’s the sunset, stupid!” Which of course made me think of the second most bromantic Gregory Hines movie ever made (come back in one week for the most bromantic one…I bet you can’t guess what it is), the 1986 buddy-cop movie, Running Scared, starring Billy Crystal and Hines as Chicago Cops who get tired of the snow and bullets and decide to retire to Key West, Fl. About 12 years ago, I got tired of the snow and bullets and snow in New Hampshire and did pretty much the same thing. I chose Key West because I’d heard that it was THE place for writers to go and write. I soon learned that it was THE place for writers to bartend and drink. Still, I never once took that sunset for granted. This video doesn’t do it justice, though. It does do Gregory Hines justice…he spends most of it sporting a banana hammock. WHAT?! … Stupid Gregory Hines Police. Still no such thing…grumble….

Oh…and in this one, watch the late great Gregory celebrate a three-pointer in a way that should make all of humanity weep for our loss. (Extra bonus points, at the end, when Billy Crystal is doing his miniature-marshmallow-and-Jeopardy-enthusiast-living-in-his-mom’s-basement routine, he mentions Detective Montoya. Detective Tony Montoya is played by Slumber Party icon, Jon Gries. Yeah, THAT Jon Gries.)

Lazlo Hollyfeld!

The other day on Facebook, Jody posted a link to this Think Geek T-Shirt:

No longer available. Rue the day. Rue it!

My first thought was “Ooh!” My second thought was “Lazlo Hollyfeld…” Even in my brain it was a reverent whisper. Lazlo is never far from the front of my consciousness. Appearing, and disappearing, in Martha Coolidge’s epic love letter to smart people, Real Genius, Lazlo was one of the, if not THE, best peripheral characters in Slumber Party Movie history.

A former student at Cal Tech (oops, I mean Pacific Tech), Lazlo Hollyfeld was the star super-duper smart guy until the pressure of all that crushing academia, and the weight of his own impossibly-smart thoughts, imploded in a freak-out break-down so severe, it made this one look like the world’s tiniest foot stomp from a mildly annoyed titmouse:

A break-down that sent Lazlo scuttling about the labyrinth of tunnels beneath Cal (I mean Pacific) Tech, like a less-sexy Phantom of the Opera or a slightly more-sexy Gollum*, scamming the good folks at Frito Lay and serving as a walking, skulking cautionary tale to the super-duper smarteratti upper level dwellers. Sometimes literally, as in this scene where Lazlo softly hammers home the lesson we should all learn from Real Genius (which is either “just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should” or “lasers are bad”).

And then there was WHAT HAPPENED to Lazlo. What? No, he didn’t become Uncle Rico. You’re thinking about what happened to Jon Gries, not Lazlo Hollyfeld–which was kind of a surprise and kind of not, as long as you paid attention to the trail of smarties that Coolidge left for us. Fair warning. Don’t watch the following if you want to follow that trail for yourself:

Which leads to the real super-secret message of Real Genius. Smart guys get laid too.

* My complete list of every character in pop culture by order of sexiness will be posted soon after my oft-rescheduled nervous breakdown.

Phyllis Diller. Gone too soon!

You see how you suck? You suck in comparison to Phyllis.

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.


Tuesday Tribute: Best Drinking Scene in a Teen Comedy

This scene from John Hughes’ Weird Science deserves a tribute for its epic greatness, but also because, since Gary’s pimp character would not pass modern PC standards, a scene like this would not be made today. So it’s not PC…does that mean that it can’t be EPIC? I don’t think so. Let’s remember one thing–Lisa is magic. She has magic powers. She uses them to outfit herself, Wyatt and Gary in the finest prom wear that the 80s had to offer, but instead of using those magic powers to go on a Ferris-Buelleresque tippy-tappy champagne and foie gras tour of only the cuntiest penthouses in the Chicago skyline, Lisa conjures up pink Cadillac so they can cruise to the South Side and drink Blind-Dog Bourbon at a blues bar straight out of a Jim Croce song. Privileged white boys? In the South Side of Chicago? Hilarity surely will ensue, right? Right. But it mostly comes from the common ground that Gary finds with the malakas at The Kandy Bar. And maybe that was what Lisa was trying to teach Gary. He wasn’t the first one to go crazy for a big set of titties. He wasn’t the only guy in the world to get kneed in the family jewels. It was not just him and Wyatt against the slushie-throwing (no, Glee did not invent that) Robert Downeys of the world. He was not alone. And perhaps that was Lisa’s magic. Or perhaps it’s just a funny scene in a funny movie. Either way, enjoy.

Extra Credit: Is it possible that the Kids in the Hall sketch “Mississippi Gary” was not based on Mississippi Fred McDowell, as previously thought, but on Gary’s un-PC pimp character? Discuss.

Tuesday Tribute: Ride, Sally, Ride!

When I was 9, my fourth-grade teacher said we could do a report on anyone in American history, so I picked five women: Dolly Madison, Betsy Ross, Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt and Sally Ride. My mom definitely inspired the first three–she’s a Revolutionary War buff–but I picked the last two. I wrote my report from my mom’s set of encyclopedias (kids: “encyclopedias” are like the internet, only heavier and smelling more like a basement), and when it came to cover Sally Ride, I found…. nothing. I went to the library. Nothing. The high school library: nada.

This was before I knew to check periodicals, in which I could’ve found all that I needed about the first American woman in space, but instead, I had one piece of information: Sally Ride was the first American woman to go to space. Not enough for a report, so I think had to pick someone else. I say “think” because I don’t remember who I picked; whoever it was was probably not nearly as awesome as the first American woman in space. (And big ups to Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya, who came before her. Two points on that: 1) The Soviets put TWO women in space before we got around to it. And 2) Is there a rule that, in order to be a woman in space, you have to have a fantastic name like Valentina, Svetlana, or Sally Ride?)

I turned in the report, decorated with an American flag on the front, and was bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t include Sally Ride. How on earth could a woman be an astronaut and the books not have ANY information about her? HOW?

Fortunately, in the intervening years we’ve had the internet, where you can get everything you need within a reasonable degree of accuracy. We’re not talking launching into orbit, after all; we’re talking just a general “who was she?” And even after thirty years, it turns out we didn’t know everything there was to know about her, because after she died yesterday at age 61, of pancreatic cancer, her family announced that since 1985, she’d been in a long-term relationship with Dr. Tam O’Shaugnessy, a woman. This news horrifies me to some extent: an American hero, who was my own hero for some time, didn’t want anyone to know she was in a loving relationship. By all accounts she was “intensely private,” and while I respect her decision and the difficulties coming out might have caused during her career, I’m so saddened that only in death can her love be celebrated. Other women get their marriage announcements in the NYTimes style section. Hers appeared in the obituaries.

Sally, I would’ve loved you anyway; we all would have. Thank you for your strength, bravery and your lifelong dedication to education (

Because this is, I have to share a clip from the ill-timed but otherwise totally radical Spacecamp, in which Sally Ride is portrayed by Kate Capshaw. I don’t know if I ever watched it at a slumber party, but I know I was in love with Tate Donovan. I wanted to include the scene where John Glenn winks, but all I could find on youtube was the launch. (Watching this again: who the hell names a ship “Atlantis”? Why not name it “Titanic”?)

Tuesday Tribute: Surprisingly Still Alive Edition

Comedian and human Fraggle, Phyllis Diller, turns 95. That means that she has out-joked, out-hammed and out-laughed them all–except Rickles, who is still alive…out of spite. This video is a fitting tribute to our cackling queen of comedy because it makes us wish (oh how we wish) that Phyllis Diller had gotten that role in Spice World and Meatloaf had done voices for a straight-to-video animated flick. Happy Birthday, Old Spice!