Sunday, March 14, 2021

Laughing Games

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning was the clock...which said 7:38. My work shift began at 8 AM! I almost leaped out of bed and rushed around the apartment, eating and dressing as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I couldn't get an Uber driver that quickly. I ended up being 20 minutes late.

The whole day was really a pain in the rear. Work was quiet when I got in...but by noon, we had long lines down the aisles. Not only was it busy, but we didn't have enough help to deal with the crush. Two people up front called out, and I heard employees say that more folks called out elsewhere in the store. It was a sunny day, and though windy, it was still relatively warm for March. I just got so worried about dealing with all those people! Thank goodness it slowed down enough by 3 for me to shut down without a relief.  No trouble getting home, either. I got a ride in 5 minutes.

Went straight into writing when I got in. Charles hands Richard a whiskey. He asks about a job in the area. Charles tells him to ask Marshal Rayburn and the man from the railroad office. The man is Ira Skutch, who also came in on the train with Richard. Richard moves to ask them what's going on when he hears them argue about a gang of cattle rustlers operating in the area...

Broke for dinner at 6. Made Oatmeal-Raisin Pancakes (which I wasn't able to have this morning) and celery sticks with leftover hummus. Listened to Donnybrook! while I ate. This musical version of The Quiet Man was a flop on Broadway in 1961. The cast, other than Eddy Foy Jr. as the matchmaker, isn't in any way distinguished, and the songs are more 1961 showtune than Ireland in the 20's. That said, the songs for the second couple, "I Wouldn't Bet One Penny" and "Dee-Lightful Is the Word," as well as the opening and closing number "Sez I," are pretty fun.

Switched to The Music of Spring as I got set up to take a bath. This is one of two spring Columbia Special Edition seasonal records I own. Only listened to side one. There's some especially good instrumental pieces here, including the Ray Conniff Orchestra's version of "Younger Than Springtime." 

Took a bath for an hour. I can't remember the last time I took a bath. I haven't had the time. It felt absolutely wonderful. I listened to one of my George Shearing CDs and looked over one of my self-help books before leaning back and just enjoying the music and the water.

Spent the rest of the night watching comedy game shows to cheer me up, and as a prelude to Buzzr's Let's Laugh Marathon on Friday. Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life was a comedy show wrapped around a tiny bit of trivia show. Groucho would riff on his contestants, then ask them a few questions after he's finished with them. In the episode I chose, he's met his match in a very feisty little old lady who knows how to keep young - by telling Groucho what he can do with his trademark cigar!

Ernie Kovacs had a little more luck on Take a Good Look. This spoof of the panel shows popular at the time started the same as I've Got a Secret, with a contestant who has an unusual secret or occupation. We then see a skit that may or may not have much to do with the contestant at hand. The first skit with the Native Americans may be a little offensive to some folks nowadays, but the second with Kovacs as the earliest known classical Greek newscaster is still hilarious to this day.

There's been a few versions of Make Me Laugh. I went with the syndicated show from the late 70's-early 80's that was the last hosting job for Bobby Van before his 1980 death from a brain tumor. Three stand-up comedians try to make three audience members and a celebrity guest laugh. Bill Kirkenbauer, later of several sitcoms, and The Unknown Comic from The Gong Show toss out the schtick in the episode I watched. 

Random Acts of Comedy from 1999 is a short-lived Family Channel variation on Who's Line Is It Anyway? David Alan Grier joins a group of improv comics as they act out a random who, what, and where. Two contestants have to guess what they're acting out. Wish there was more of this around. What's on YouTube is pretty darn funny, especially their first skit with Fabio and the bonus round that has them switching musical genres. 

Liar's Club is an early form of Wordplay. Instead of making up wrong descriptions of obscure words, here, comedians and comic actors make up descriptions of odd objects sent in by viewers. Allen Ludden, better known for Password, is a strange choice for host. The panel - including Larry Hovis, Buddy Hackett, and Ludden's wife Betty White - are more game.

I just had to include an episode of Match Game. There's so many to choose from, but I went with an early syndicated show from 1979. This one is notorious for a contestant giving what may be the craziest answer to a Head-to-Head bonus round in the history of the show. It's so wild, Gene and the entire panel burst into laughter on hearing it. 

Laugh into spring and play along with some of the goofiest people to ever appear on game shows! (Look for the original commercials on You Bet Your Life, Take a Good Look, and Make 'Em Laugh.)

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