Sunday, October 03, 2021

Game for a Laugh

Started off the morning with Chocolate Chip Pancakes and The Will Rogers Follies. I've been looking for this cast album for years. This 1991 musical tells the life of humorist and cowboy Will Rogers, using the Ziegfeld Follies (he starred in at least four of them) as a backdrop and link between incidents in his life. The voice of Ziegfeld (Gregory Peck) "directs" everything, insisting that he and his eventual wife Betty Blake (Dee Hoty) can't get married until the end of the first act and losing his fortune - and sending Will to Hollywood - in the second.

This show won the Tony in 1991, over such candidates as Once On This Island and Miss Saigon...and darned if I could tell you why. Sure, Keith Carradine makes an adorable Bill, Dee Hoty is lovely as Betty, and some of the songs are charming, but on disc, it's all pretty forgettable. I have the feeling this one needed the lavish visuals, the chorus girls with plumed headdresses and dog acts and cowboys doing rope tricks, to distract from how pedestrian it is. 

Headed off to work even before the CD ended. Work was steady, never really overwhelmingly busy, even right before the Eagles-Chiefs game. There were no major problems. A college girl went in for my break, and it slowed down enough for me to shut down without a relief. The Bryers sale was so good, I grabbed a mint chocolate chip container on the way out, along with toilet paper and gift cards for Amanda's birthday (it was Friday) and Lauren's (it's my last day of vacation). 

Went straight home and into regular clothes after that. I grabbed a yogurt and apple and put on the Eagles game. It was actually pretty close at that point, 14-13. One team would get a touchdown, and the other would turn around and get one. Alas, the Chiefs started pulling ahead in the second half when the Eagles got too many penalties and won 43-30.

Went online and sent messages to a few apartments that looked interesting, then worked on writing for a while. Charles is so terribly nervous, he bites into the teacup and tries to drink from his bread and butter. The Red King and Queen Betty demand he produces evidence, which just induces more nerves and whining to Orson the March Hare.

Jodie brought over margarita pizza, so I broke early for dinner. Finished The Will Rogers Follies, then put on Nipper's Greatest Hits of the 60's Vol 1 while cleaning the bathroom. Though this one started out with the depressing "Tell Laura I Love Her," it was uphill from there. "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens, "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane, "These Eyes," by the Guess Who, and "Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet" by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra are all a lot more fun.

Cleaned the bathroom, then took a bath. Boy, did I need that bath. I've been going crazy lately. Everything is going wrong at once. My hours are so crazy, I'm too tired to do the things I need to do, including look for the apartment I badly need. 

Finished the night online with more comedy game shows after I got out. I desperately needed a laugh. Can You Top This? started out on radio, where people would call in their jokes to be told by comedians on the air. Whomever got the most laughter on the laugh meter won. The 50's version isn't easy to find, but I did dig up a short-lived revival from 1970 with Wink Martindale hosting and Richard Dawson and Morey Amsterdam among those dishing out the jokes.

Hollywood Squares, Liar's Club, and Match Game made syndication and daytime safe for double entendre and a lot of partying in the 1970's. Paul Lynde is firmly in command of the jokes and the center square in the 1976 Squares episode I went with; he's joined by Michael Landon, Sandy Duncan, Joan Rivers, and Roddy McDowell, among others, along with host Peter Marshall. Betty White, Larry Hovis, William Conrad, and Dick Gautier try to describe a strange object and hope the contestants will vote for them on Liar's Club. Betty's hubby Allen Ludden tries to figure out who's the fibber. Betty and Richard Dawson return for a hilarious Match Game PM episode from 1977, where they play Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers respectively.

With the revival of You Bet Your Life with Jay Leno currently running in syndication, I thought it was a great time to check out Groucho Marx's version again. Despite what's listed there, this isn't the first episode of the series, but it is funny. Groucho has the best time with a couple of teenagers, one of whom does a nice rendition of "A Woman In Love" from the film version of Guys & Dolls

Groucho was far from the only comedian to headline a trivia show. Win Ben Stein's Money was a huge hit for Comedy Central in the late 90's-early 2000's, and it's still well-regarded today. Three contestants try to stump deadpan comedian Stein and win his loot. The questions are funny, and Stein is funnier, especially when someone does prove to smart enough to pick up his cash.

If you need a laugh as much as I do now, check out these side-splitting forays into wild and wacky games! (Look for commercials on Win Ben Stein's Money...and a bad tape on the ultra-rare Liar's Club.)

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