Friday, August 31, 2007

Leprechauns in the Hizzouse

This is another one of those superpopular clips that got viewed four million times before I'd ever heard of it (thanks to Barstool Sports for showing me the light).

In the tradition of Bubb Rubb and Li'l Sis, here's a local news report from Mobile, Alabama, where residents are convinced they see a leprechaun in a tree and act accordingly. Just when you think you've seen the best part, along comes something even better. Sure and it's enough to set the brain crossways in ye.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jonathan Richman has nothing to say

Jonathan Richman is rock's greatest case of arrested development. He started out with the immortal "Roadrunner" and "Pablo Picasso" (who was "never called an asshole"); a few years later, he was doing "I'm a Little Airplane." I'd say that lost him a lot of fans, but he was such a cult artist to begin with that I think the fans he gained offset it pretty well.

Anyway, for years he didn't like giving interviews; in one case he pretended he'd lost his voice. That didn't stop the interviewers. And that didn't stop Jonathan, either.

Just so's you get to actually hear him in action, this is his video for "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Very Secret Diary of Legolas

This makes me smile. It's a fanvid from the Lord of the Rings movies that makes Legolas turn narcissism into an art form. Better yet, it's scored to the famous music to spin plates by, "Sabre Dance" by Khachaturian.

Just out of curiosity, when was the last time Orlando Bloom got praised for anything?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Get Well Soon, Owen Wilson

I was really brought down to hear about Owen Wilson being hospitalized for what's reported to be a suicide attempt. I always thought that he was getting good money to be himself onscreen, and more power to him for that. Plus the fact that he cowrote The Royal Tenenbaums, which makes him The Man for me. But now scenes like the attempted suicide in that film (acted out by his brother), plus this one, will resonate in a whole different way.

But for today, let's focus on the good he's brought us, with his unforgettable walkoff in Zoolander (with a very special cameo for the judge)...

...and his singing in Starsky and Hutch.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hee Haw meets Cirque Du Soleil

Here we have the Ross Sisters in the 1944 MGM musical Broadway Rhythm. The first minute is taken up with an unremarkable song about the starchy picnic food loved by hundreds. But then they start going all pretzely on us.

I love how one internet commenter summed this up: "Aggie, Maggie, and Elmira Ross can do stuff Tex Avery couldn't even draw!"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Be it ever so humble

Last year, Les Paul won two Grammys for his album Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played. At the time, he was 90 years old. How amazing is that? And of course, he's still feted for his innovations on guitars and studio recording technique.

This is "There's No Place Like Home," performed with his wife Mary Ford on The Colgate Comedy Hour. I thought it would be a nice way to welcome in a Sunday. And check out that skittering string-busting solo toward the end.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Baby, if you've ever wondered about bonds

The Treasury Department knows how to sell a product. In the early eighties they had sitcoms make promotional films about buying saving bonds. Taxi and Cheers did these, and so did WKRP in Cincinnati.

Here's their fascinating take on it, missing only an audience and Loni Anderson (who was filming a movie). Everyone's in costume and in character, and there's even a song that would never make it to DVD at the end.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hey now!

There are a few TV shows that I've only seen one episode of - I Love Lucy and Picket Fences spring to mind - but of all those limited-exposure shows, the one I enjoyed the most is The Larry Sanders Show. I was in a hotel room, and took the opportunity to watch cable, and they were playing the episode where a sex tape of Hank's gets leaked.

Here he is shortly after the revelation, on the talk show set with Larry (Garry Shandling), Norm Macdonald, and Henry Winkler. For some reason the clip poster left off the great last line, which I'll post in the comments field.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Short Attention Span Theatre 4

Yes, it's time once again to cram as many clips into one minute as I can. Today, that includes:

Golfing with a Molotov cocktail...

...American Beauty, give or take two hours...

...Fidel Castro getting a headbutt...

...John Candy placing his famous order in The Blues Brothers...

...Michael Landon's laugh overdubbed...

...Stewie discovering static electricity...

...bad animation, catchy as all hell percussion...

...a blonde joke from a cutie...

...Keith Hernandez apologizes...

...and a Martian laughs.

Ten clips in 1:01 - I think that's a record! And, as it turns out, it's a few too many - you may need to hit "reload" partway through or you'll lose the sound...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Colbert!!

One of the more popular entries to this blog, if my statcounter is any indication, is "Stephen Colbert Loses It," where he cracks up during a report on Prince Charles's alleged homosexual leanings.

Too bad YouTube took down all the Comedy Central clips and the entry proved a dead end.

But I went looking for it elsewhere and found the site Colbert On Demand, which collects some of his greatest hits. For how long? Who knows. But long enough for me update the blog so some of those dead entries can live again. Huzzah! (Yes, they're a touch oversized, but they're THERE!)

Let's celebrate with a couple new Colbert clips. Here's his response after Rep. Barney Frank, angry at the way his interview went off, called the show "a waste of TV space."

And here he is interviewing Jane Fonda, who makes him so palpably uncomfortable as to be an absolute riot.

And don't forget to check out the other Colbert clips. Even if they look like they won't work. Heh, heh, heh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Music is the new pornography" - Jimmy Swaggart

I've been looking forward to today for a few months now. It's the day the fourth New Pornographers album, Challengers, is released.

For those not in the know, the New Pornographers are the Canadian power pop collective (don't call them a supergroup) led by A.C. Newman, with other relatively big names passing through. The biggest is Neko Case, but I think drummer Kurt Dahle is their secret weapon.

One of the remarkable things about the band is that their previous three albums have each featured one of the greatest songs of the decade. Hyperbole? I don't think so, but judge for yourself.

Mass Romantic, released in 2000, had "Letter from an Occupant" on it.

2003's Electric Version had "The Laws Have Changed," which has a video inspired by Bunuel's 1965 film Simon of the Desert. (But hey, who doesn't?)

Finally, here's "Use It" from 2005's Twin Cinema. Featuring a David Cross cameo and the line "Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shit-faced," which I nominate as the best lyric of the decade.

That's Challengers, folks, now at a music site near you.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Let's Get Lost, a documentary on trumpeter Chet Baker that originally came out in 1988, was rereleased this summer, perhaps to make for the good DVD release that had always been lacking. Chet's been a favorite of mine for some years - for someone who "can't sing," his voice is quite moving, and his trumpet playing's nice too. So even though the pic never came to my neck of the woods, I'm glad to know it'll be widely available on DVD soon.

But be warned - you're going to see Chet ruined. It's shocking to see him go from this... this.

If those brief clips intrigued you, watch Siskel & Ebert's take on it here. And if you'd like a longer clip, here's a beauty - Chet and Van Morrison duetting on a remarkable version of "Send In the Clowns."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good vibes

I love a good vibraphone. Or, to be more accurate, I love a good vibraphone player.

Sure, seven good vibraphone players, six of them strapless, accompanied by maracas and a standup bassist who goes out of his tree, have their place, I can't deny that. (Don't believe me? Check this out.) But when you're talking vibraphone players, to me it all begins and ends with Milt Jackson, of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

One of the great foursomes in all music history, the MJQ had a look, a sound, and an attitude all their own. I recommend their Complete Last Concert CD, recorded on what they thought was their final concert, in 1974.

Here they are in 1990, performing "Django" on the late night show Night Music.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC.

Post number 400. Yay!

What I'm about to type isn't going to be news to a number of you, I'm sure, but I really want to take a moment to give what the kids these days call "props" to ItsJustSomeRandomGuy. In the past six months he's put up a dozen and a half or so homemade videos with our favorite comic stars mingling, and his writing and vocal talents, not to mention his ability to pose action figures, has won him a huge following.

It started simply enough, with parodies of the Mac/PC commercials, with Spidey helpfully pointing out to Supey all the ways Marvel was better than DC.

Then Batman got involved, and RandomGuy's girlfriend let him use her Barbie furniture.

More and more characters showed up...

...and now there's a genuine serial going on. I recommend watching the lot; it won't take much more than a half hour, and you don't have to know your comics inside and out to appreciate what he's doing. And appreciate it you will.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nice hand

I just got back from a game of poker. Not that I actually played in the game, but it was fun to sit back and watch everybody. So I thought I'd put up a poker hand.

I know next to nothing about poker, but I know about Chris Moneymaker. Aside from having that name, he's written a book about playing that I've taken a look through. He managed to get into the World Series of Poker in 2003 by winning a $40 online tournament, and once there, he rode quite a wave, besting a few of his heroes. Then he got to play against Phil Ivey, who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at the tables and is known as the Tiger Woods of poker.

Watch how one of these two was eliminated.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Once and Future King

"When its time for me to die, that's how I want to go;
fat and stoned and wealthy and sitting on the bowl."
- The Dead Milkmen, "Going to Graceland"

Today's the thirtieth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and I thought I'd commemorate that by showing people doing their level best to act like him.

First, here's Doug Church, considered the best Elvis impersonator alive, ripping up "Unchained Melody." (For the real deal, click here.)

Next we have Andy Kaufman. His Elvis is pretty well known, but this was a clip I hadn't seen before, of him doing "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" on a Johnny Cash Christmas special.

And speaking of Johnny Cash, here he is doing his best take on his Sun labelmate who did everything he could to woo away June Carter. (Imagine if that had worked...)

You know, sometimes these entries just write themselves.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What a croc

My number one "Oh, for crissakes, give me a break" movie stunt, the one that pulled me out of the story and into ridicule mode, has always been the part in Live and Let Die when James Bond runs across the backs of several crocodiles to escape being somebody's meal.

Any guesses as to how many takes it took to get that to work perfectly?

Here's a little background - the sound's way out of synch, but nothing fatal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Oh, I've got a treat for you guys today.

There's a guy on YouTube whose account has over a hundred retro Volkswagen ads. These are from when Doyle, Dane & Bernbach had the VW account, and got their points across with humor and brilliance. You can see all the ads in beetlejuice150's account here: I just want to show a few of my favorites.

Watch and learn how the Beetle is efficient with gas...

...handles well in the snow...

...and doesn't cost much.

Bonus: Perhaps the best ad to involve a funeral procession...

...and unquestionably the best to involve the "La Cucaracha" horn.

Monday, August 13, 2007

High winds in Walnut Grove

Sundays at eight, the whole fam damily got together in front of the TV for some Little House on the Prairie action. I'm not going to look down my nose at it too much; there were some great episodes, particularly when Laura's baby brother dies and she runs away.

But therein lay the trouble. There was always something intensely dramatic going on - death, blindness, fire, etc. After a while, you were begging for comic relief.

Fortunately, someone on YouTube understood that. So they took this scene, where Jonathan Garvey (played by Merlin Olsen, post-Mitchell) and his wife are in divorce court, under the watchful eye of the Ingallses. And they dubbed in one small sound effect. And suddenly, everything's all right.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Look out, Marshall Lucky! It's High Prices!"

Long before winning an Oscar for directing Forrest Gump, Robert Zemeckis was at the wheel for Used Cars, without question the funniest film about used car salesmen. Starring everyone from Kurt Russell and Jack Warden to "Grandpa Munster" Al Lewis and "Oh Yeah, That Guy" Dub Taylor, it was rambunctious before rambunctious was cool, and the box office sadly reflected that. Still, we're left with a lot of laughs and at least one scene that'll go down as one of the great pieces of film comedy.

There are two competing used car lots, and salesman Russell's doing his damnedest to keep ruthless rival Warden from controlling them both. One way to do that is by interrupting a nationwide address from President Carter with an ad that shows a cowboy destroying some of Warden's stock. Russell, far from the scene, is pitching woo and doesn't want the girl to see what's going on; unfortunately, they're standing in front of a wall of for-sale TVs.

And here's what happens.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Nice work, Harry"

You know what? Yesterday's Orson outtakes were so much fun, I'm going to give you one more.

This is a sketch that appeared on Laugh-In.

And here's an earlier take, where things fall apart pretty much completely.

The best thing about this? Orson's performance is almost exactly the same.

Friday, August 10, 2007

IN July, peas grow there

Orson Welles. The name conjures up so many magical moments. The "War of the Worlds" broadcast... "Rosebud"... The Magnificent Ambersons... Touch of Evil... and of course, the stirring catch phrase at the end of this ad:

But there's a segment of America that knows him best for his outtakes. He's either plowed or blustering, and what comes out is strangely riveting, and not just in a "how the mighty have fallen" sort of way. Here he is staggering through another Paul Masson ad.

And here's his legendary "Frozen Peas" for Findus frozen foods. The audio is the real McCoy, but these are actors reenacting it, and brilliantly.

This clip has been parodied on The Critic, Animaniacs, and Pinky and the Brain, which does it note for note.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Confession time

A little bad taste is like a nice dish of paprika. - Dorothy Parker

I like to think I have a cerebral sense of humor. I like my wit to be literate; I'm a fan of George S. Kaufman; I'm a huge fan of verbal dexterity, from puns to palindromes. I consider Woody Allen's Without Feathers, a collection of New Yorker essays, to be one of the greatest humor collections of the 20th century. Yes, I take pride in my refined comedy tastes.

Then I see this clip from Date Movie of a cat taking a dump, and I laugh so hard I cry.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

First Time Live

I like that there are a number of YouTube clips where we get to see performers debuting a song for an audience. The songs are familiar to us by this point, and hearing the crowd not cheering at the opening notes is refreshing. Here are three of these debuts, in reverse alphabetical order for no particular reason.

The Police introduced "Message in a Bottle," not only to a live audience, but on television. This was back when Sting had stones.

Here's Bob Dylan playing "Blowin' in the Wind" to a television audience. The host doesn't seem all that impressed...

Best of all, here's Johnny Cash doing "A Boy Named Sue" at San Quentin. Yes, this is the original performance to the very definition of a captive audience that still gets played on the radio today. Seeing the prisoners' delight adds another dimension to the song, as does watching Johnny reading the lyrics off a music stand.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Since 1884

Normally I wouldn't put a Bugs Bunny cartoon on MeTube, as experience has taught me it'll be taken off YouTube in a jiffy. But I had to put up Ballot Box Bunny here, not because it's one of the funniest Bugs/Yosemite Sam cartoons (was Sam ever louder?), nor because there's yet another appearance of Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody on MeTube, but to point out the boxes behind Bugs as the ants take away his picnic food.

Yes, folks, Bugs Bunny drinks Moxie!

I used to enjoy subjecting people to their first taste of Moxie and recording their descriptions - my favorites were "rancid cough syrup" and "a Coke gone wrong." It's older than Coca-Cola and was once more popular; now it's more of a local favorite, but it's making an effort to go national once again. Last Sunday's Boston Globe had a nice article about it which you can read here.

Generally there are two reaction to drinking Moxie: either this...

...or this. (Wimp.)

Me, I brought two 2-liter bottles back from Maine the last time I went. It's definitely worth your while. (But stay away from the diet version.)

Monday, August 06, 2007


There's a famous scream that's appeared in dozens of movies called "the Wilhelm Scream." Its appearance has become kind of an in-joke among Hollywood sound people; any time a character falls from a great height, it's worth listening to see if he screams a certain way.

For an excellent article on the Wilhelm Scream, click here. To see some examples, check out the clip below.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fred Rogers and Miss Cleo - together again!

One of the sad things about Caller ID is that it's cut down on the number of people who dare to make prank phone calls. (Of course, this could also be one of the more fortunate things.) Still, there are a few daring souls left out there...

Here's a guy who uses celebrity sound bites to engage people in conversations. There's a simplicity to the camerawork here that I enjoy, and the calls are wincingly funny.

First, Mister Rogers asks a Holiday Inn worker if she's lost her kitty.

And here's Miss Cleo asking a man at the airport if he has a gentleman in his life. Surprisingly, the answer is "yes"!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My traditional wedding present

I'm going to western New York state for a few days to attend a wedding; I don't know if I'll have internet access or not, so if I don't, I wanted to get this post in now...

I'm not exactly rolling in wealth; Andrew Jackson and I are barely nodding acquaintances, and Ben Franklin's but a rumor. So when I go to weddings these days, my gift is usually pretty low budget. But it's a good one (don't worry, the impending bride & groom don't know about this blog) - this book, a collection of Matisse painting illustrating the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's song "Dance Me To The End Of Love," plus a CD recording of the song.

I've heard it takes place in a concentration camp, but I can't confirm that that's the case. At any rate, it's a gorgeous song, and there are a lot of versions available on YouTube. This one, though, suits my purposes best. Use it as the soundtrack in your life. Go ahead. I dare you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Who's gayer - Picard or Costanza?

I was lucky enough to see Love! Valour! Compassion! ("Terrible! Title!" - New Yorker) in its off-Broadway production. Nathan Lane originated the part of Buzz, but when I saw it, his understudy was playing the part (I forget his name, but he harassed Ralph Fiennes in the phone booth in Quiz Show). The rest of the cast remained the same. They were intact for the film version as well, only this time Buzz was played by Jason Alexander, who deliberately chose a part as far from the homophobic George as he could get (and inadvertently outed a lot of people when he announced he was the first straight person to play the part).

Another off-Broadway play from around the same time was Jeffrey, written by the very funny Paul Rudnick. The movie version starred Patrick Stewart as Sterling, and he was way, way better than Steven Weber as the title character. So good, in fact, that while these clips are fun...'s even more fun to see him in a full scene.