Friday, March 21, 2008
Since music is my background and has been since the age of 9 and that I have been a comedian since 1980, I felt it only fitting that I do a Top 10 list of my favorite comedy songs. There have been so many novelty songs on the charts and in movies over the years and I hope I can remember all the ones that I have enjoyed. I will surely do my best to cover them all. If I forget any of yours, let me know and I will update my list. I will just go through most of them and then put them in my list. With all that being said, here we go:
Monty Python has provided numerous songs that I have loved over the years; Sit On My Face, Brave Sir Robin, Look On The Bright Side Of Life and of course their infamous The Lumberjack Song. I also loved the theme song from their old television shows, Monty Python's Flying Circus. It was said by George Harrison that he had felt that when the Beatles broke up, Python had taken the baton, so to speak, and continued with the same aura and spirit. I agree totally. Their shows, movies and songs are classics and so was the play Spamalot, which I thought was absolutely hysterical and brilliant.
Mel Brooks has been terrific at supplying us with great comedy songs and theme songs. Blazing Saddles and I'm Tired from the movie Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety from the movie of the same name, Springtime For Hitler and Prisoners In Love from The Producers, and Putting On The Ritz from Young Frankenstein. Mr. Brooks never ceases to amaze me with his talent and sense of humor.
Ray Stevens has written and performed many, many great comedy songs throughout his illustrious career. Please Mr. Custer, The Streak, Ahab The Arab, Harry The Hairy Ape and one of my favorite titles of all time that they actually were able to fit on the label of the old 45's, Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated, Quick Dissolving, Fast Acting, Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills. I am still amazed that the record company went for that title and agreed to print it on the cover. That's a lot of extra ink per record.
Allen Sherman, in the 50's & 60's, used to do a lot of parodies of classic songs. His most famous one was Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah. It was about the tribulations of a kid at camp. Very funny and relatable for kids and adults alike.
The Playmates did a great comedy song in the 50's that got faster and faster as the tune went along called Beep Beep (Little Nash Rambler). I loved that song as a young boy. It was very unique and was in the rotation on radio stations for many weeks.
Sheb Wooley had a great song in the 50's called Flying Purple People Eater. I remember the visuals that song conjured up as a kid. I mean, how could you possibly escape from a Purple People Eater that could fly too?
Dave Seville had loads of big hits with his famous chipmunks back then; Simon, Theodore and ALVIN! "OKAAAAAY!". The Chipmunk Song and The Witchdoctor were the first songs to use the technology of raising a person's voice mechanically and making it sound like that. Dave's real name was Ross Bagdasarian and his son eventually took over the job later on.
Spike Jones was such a great novelty act of his time and his songs were simply hysterical and unique sounding due to all of the sound effects they used and performed live, I might add. Cocktails For Two and You Always Hurt The One You Love were superb, always made me laugh and still do until this day.
It seems to me that the 50's was a very big era for comedy and novelty songs. I don't really know why they seemed to have disappeared over the years. There are still some around but not in quite abundance as before. Maybe because the world was much more innocent back then and people aren't as easily amused these days. I don't know the reason but I think it's a shame that more aren't made today. I think people need more humor in their lives in these crazy times we live in.
So, here we go:
My Top 10 Favorite Comedy Songs
1. Springtime For Hitler
2. Sit On My Face
3. You Always Hurt The One You Love
4. Brave Sir Robin
5. The Lumberjack Song
6. Please, Mr. Custer
7. Beep Beep (Little Nash Rambler)
8. High Anxiety
9. Look On The Bright Side Of Life
10. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah
My honorable mentions are anything by Weird Al Yankovic, He Had It Coming from the Broadway play Chicago, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Dr. Elmo, Hooray For Captain Spaulding from the movie Animal Crackers with the Marx Brothers and Lydia The Tatooed Lady also with the Marx Brothers from the movie At The Circus, King Tut by Steve Martin, The Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler, Rappin' Rodney by Rodney Dangerfield, Blue Christmas sung by Porky Pig, They're Coming To Take Me Away by Napoleon XIV (aka Jerry Samuels), songs by Stephen Lynch, I Can't Stop My Leg and Colonoscopy by Robert Klein, Everything by John Valby, and Whose Your Little Whosey? from The Stooge with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
If I didn't mention one of your favorites, let me know and I will add it to my honorable mentions list or update my favorite Top 10 list if I agree with it. I am sure that I have forgotten so many over the years. Until then, thanks again for reading from, THE COMEDY TORNADO!!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I have been doing lots of Fundraisers as of late and I always truly enjoy doing them for many reasons. First off, everyone is in a great mood to begin with because they are there for a great cause, so the audience is always ready to laugh, which is terrific for a comedian to work with. If you can't make a fundraiser audience laugh you might as well look for another vocation. I have been in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York recently for these shows.
I almost died in a severe car accident coming home from a club called Smokey's in Stan Hope, NJ on February 9. Here is my story, but don't worry it has a kind of funny ending. I was driving from Route 206 on the ramp to 80 East, I wasn't even on the main road yet and I hit some black ice. I started to lose control and started sliding right into a massive tree head-on. I knew I couldn't let that happen because I wouldn't have survived that. So, I spun the wheel to try and hit the tree from either the side or the back, which I did. Good job Paul, I thought to myself, but when I banged into the tree with the back of my van it spun me around and sent me down a 40 foot ditch off of the ramp. On the way down so many thoughts went through my head like 1. Oh this is it. I'm gonna die now. 2. I'm gonna die the day after my twin girls birthday...how nice! 3. I just did a kick ass show and now I'm going out like this. It's amazing how much you think of in such a short amount of time. Relativity I guess, right Mr. Einstein? I finally come to a stop at the bottom of the ditch and I realize that the van is destroyed but I am perfectly sound. There is a God. I walk around the area to see what the damage is and everything is all over the place inside the van and outside I realize that most of my windows are gone and that the back of my van is completely totalled. My tires are alright and I think the truck is drivable if I can just get out of the ditch. So I call 911, my motor club and my wife. About 15 minutes later, after gathering my things and putting everything back together somewhat, I walk back up the hill to the ramp and see a trooper and I say, "That was quick" He says, "I didn't come here for you. I didn't even know you were down there. There have been 40 accidents in the last 10 minutes on I-80 due to black ice and they have closed down the road from here (Exit 25) all the way to The Delaware Water Gap." WOW! I have never seen anything like it. It wasn't even cold out but the fog made contact with the road and caused all this mess. It actually looked like a war zone. As I was talking to the trooper cars were sliding into each other and bouncing off the road and turning over all over the place. It was really scary. The trooper said that he had never seen anyone so happy after being in such a terrible accident and I told him that if he saw what I just went through he would know that I was happy just to be alive and be able to see my family and friends again. He then stated that if I was waiting for tow truck it would be about 4 hours with all the accidents going on and that I should just leave my truck down there and go home for now since I was not hurt. There was no way I was going to do that with all of my equipment in the van and no windows anymore. That was my livelihood. So I went back down and started to walk around through all of the brush and small trees and soon realized as I walked along the ditch, parallel to the road, that the slope got less and less about a 1/4 mile down. So I walked back, got in my van and drove along the bottom until I was able to get out and back on the road. I drove home somehow without any windows and with the heat on full blast. I was alive and well with no bruises or soreness whatsoever. Amazing! Anyway, here's the kicker: the next day I wake up and realize that I got poison ivy from walking through the brush that night. Only I could get poison ivy in the winter. So now I was alive and well but itchy! A good trade in my estimation. I'm a lucky man. I guess it wasn't my time to go yet. Here is another funny thing about this story too. I was talking about the incident at one of my shows one night and at the end a black gentleman yells out, "What do you mean that you hit some black guys?" I replied, "BLACK ICE, NOT BLACK GUYS, SIR!" You gotta love it.
Be careful out there my friends and remember to live each day as if it was your last because someday it will be. Love your family and friends to the max. It can all be taken away from you and them in a flash. Live Fully, Love Deeply and Laugh Often and thanks for reading from, The Comedy Tornado!!