Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Favorite Joke, and a Cool Vid (I think)

I am a member of the cult that worships Steven Wright. I first saw this guy in the UK, of all places. Brit TV is not at all like ours. For one thing, they have mastered the art of actually limiting a story arc and satisfyingly concluding a TV series, rather than milking it into banality or worse, getting canceled before conclusion. For another thing, they still have variety shows.

I think it was in '85 when I saw a variety show featuring "three very unusual American comedians." The host actually warned the audience to be prepared for something they had never seen before. One was Richard Lewis, and I think the second was Sam Kinison. To be sure, the audience didn't know what to make of either of these guys, though there was polite laughter. But the third was totally alien to them--Steven Wright. His one-liners were so unlike anything they'd ever heard that the first four jokes fell flat in silence. I thought they were funny, but it took the Brits that many to adjust. I think one of them was: "It's a small world... but I wouldn't want to paint it."

My favorite goes like this: "I woke up this morning and noticed everything in my house had been replaced by exact replicas." ... pause... "I shook my wife up and said 'honey, someone has replaced everything in the house with exact replicas.' She said 'who are you?'" Completely deadpan delivery--it just doesn't get anymore random than that.

An aside, years later I found out there is mental disorder in which people actually believe someone very close to them has been replaced by an exact duplicate. It's called "illusions des sosies" french for "illusion of doubles." Right out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Creepy, huh?

OK, from the "Ahead of it's Time" department, a video dedicated to the '70s culture involving non-tobacco cigarettes, pipes, hookas, sugar cubes, stamps and mushrooms, to name a few. I love the guitar, you only hear that variety today in smooth jazz. Pre-Stevie and Lindsey Fleetwood Mac:

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