Saturday Odds & Sods: The Comedians

It’s hotter than hell in New Orleans. We had a brief respite from highs in the mid-Nineties, but they’ve crept back this week. Perhaps we should have Mayor Teedy yell at Mother Nature. It’s what she does best.

This week’s theme song was written by Declan MacManus DBA Elvis Costello in 1984 for the Goodbye Cruel World album.

We have two versions of The Comedians for your listening pleasure: the studio original and Roy Orbison’s brilliant cover version. Roy topped *this* Elvis.

Before moving on to our second act, here’s one of Groucho’s signature songs:

That tune is almost worth sitting though At The Circus again. Almost: it’s one of their lesser efforts. The Marx Brothers work best as fishes out of water. They fit in at the circus. Oh well, what the hell.

We begin our second act with a piece about Marxism: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo style.

Vulture’s Marx Brothers Listicle: Donald Liebenson comes up with a unique list: All 13 Marx Brothers Comedies In The Order You Should Watch Them.

He starts with Horse Feathers the Brothers college comedy and winds up with Love Happy, which is barely a Marxist tract. It’s a stinker: much like Debrisville trash.

I strongly disagree with Liebenson on A Day At The Races. It’s one of my faves.

My own Marxian list is more conventional and can be found in our third act.

The Bear is a new FX show, which airs on Hulu the following day. It’s a genre jumper infusing elements of comedy, tragedy, and drama. It’s a completely original show.

The Bear tells the story of Carmen Berzatto who returns to run the family eatery after the suicide of his brother, Michael. The staff are still mad at Michael for allowing the business to go downhill and for killing himself. That goes double for the Berzatto bros cousin, Richie. He’s an angry, profane, and funny motherfucker.

Carmen aka Carmy has been away from Chicago working as a chef in some high-end fine dining restaurants. He’s a fish out of water in Michael’s dump and encounters friction with the eatery’s entrenched staff but he slowly but surely wins them over.

Chicago is a major character in the show. The Bear captures the Chitown vibe beautifully. Cousin Richie is the ultimate working-class ethnic Chicagoan. He’s a reverse snob: he mocks a relative for being a Cubs fan and riffs on the name of one of the fancier eateries Carmy worked at, The French Laundry. I’m with Richie on this one: what the hell kind of name is that for a restaurant? Do they wash and fold shirts?

Dr. A did not like the first episode. She found it loud, jarring, and too intense. I urged her to stick with it because they got the kitchen during service thing so right. She even admitted that I was right after the series hit its stride in the third episode. I was so pleased that I did not say, I told you so.

Here’s the trailer:

Grading Time: I give The Bear 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+

The last word of our second act goes to The Who with a song that declares, “There ain’t no bear in there. Not a single bear in there.”

Cache, cache.

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: We go from the Marxes to the ultimate Marxist.

We also went from The Bear to the Russian bear. The whole thing is unbearable.

The Movie List: There’s more Marx Brothers content ahead. WC Fields enters the comedy fray with our second half dozen. Ah yes, my little chickadee.

The Marx Brothers Half Dozen

  1.   Duck Soup
  2.   A Day At The Races 
  3.   Horsefeathers
  4.   Monkey Business
  5.   A Night At The Opera
  6.   Animal Crackers

The W.C. Fields Half Dozen

  1.  David Copperfield
  2.  Never Give A Sucker An Even Break
  3.  The Bank Dick
  4.  Tillie and Gus
  5.  You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man
  6.  It’s A Gift

Here’s what Groucho Marx said about W.C. Fields to Roger Ebert:

“I knew [W.C.] Fields well. He used to sit in the bushes in front of his house with a BB gun and shoot at people. Today he’d probably be arrested. He invited me over to his house. He had a girlfriend there. I think her name was Carlotta Monti. Car-lot-ta MON-ti! That’s the kind of a name a girl of Fields would have. He had a ladder leading up to his attic. Without exaggeration, there was $50,000 in liquor up there. Crated up like a wharf. I’m standing there and Fields is standing there, and nobody says anything. The silence is oppressive. Finally he speaks: This will carry me 25 years.”

I am briefly speechless. Groucho never was.

Best Of SCTV: I’ve deliberately stayed away from the more famous SCTV bits until now. I was asked about the Schmenge Brothers the other day, so here they are:

There’s no stunt accordionist in any Schmenge Brothers sketch, Eugene Levy learned how to play it as a kid.

Saturday GIF Horse: The Marx Brothers are everywhere this week.

Tweet Of The Week: 

Has Arizona goober wannabe Kari Lake noticed Trump’s petite hands? You know what they say about small hands. I apologize for cracking the same joke Marco Rubio made in 2016.

I feel a song coming on:

Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music. American music. Summer music.

Saturday Closer: I give you the video for one of the best sum-sum-summer songs in rock history.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to the cast of The Bear.