Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nice babbling, Brooks

Budding Ventriloquist: Influences
Chapter 1: Albert Brooks

I hear it all the time. The question the world wants answered. And it usually comes out this way:
"Dan. Can I call you 'Dan'? Dan, how did your mind get this way? Where did the buds of the Budding Ventriloquist come from?" 
Well, that's actually two questions. Three questions if you count the ingratiating 'Can I call you Dan' thing.

There's no one answer, of course. But sorting out the riddle leads to this new series, Budding Ventriloquist: Influences. Intentionally, there's no particular order to who goes first, no attempt to be linear. A sense of humor that developed in a straight forward way is not a sense of humor at all. That is just not how it works.*
***
Before his movie career, Albert Brooks was an outstanding stand-up comedian. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, and performed thematic skit-like routines as opposed to a string of jokes or one liners.

His movie career also provided one of those great life stories for me.  I was in college when his movie Modern Romance was released. It was showing on campus and a buddy and I went to see it.  He and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Strangely enough, the other 75 people in the theater did not. At all.

And before you ask, the answer is: No, we weren't high. Or drunk. At least, not yet.

So Albert Brooks is a good place to start. Amazingly, this video found its way to youtube.com. Here's Brooks as a ventriloquist! It's from the Flip Wilson Show.**




And, in a great bit, he stages auditions for a new national anthem.



And now that your developing a real appetite, here's Brooks as a children's song writer. (Sorry, couldn't embed this. You have to make a field trip to youtube. Do it! It is is well worth the bus fare.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Z6AfsNSJA&playnext=1&list=PL95370C605C25A0C0

But of course, when he wasn't doing a a one man skit, he could let it fly with the best of them.


Thanks, Albert.
***
Maybe next on the list is George Carlin.  Carlin came to mind because some of the other clips of Brooks showed him with various degrees of facial hair. Carlin in his early days had no beard as well, then made a statement by growing one. With Brooks, not so much.

It really makes no difference.  Shaved, unshaven, or something in between, it's all so delightful.

***
*That is just not how it works. That and I'm not 100 percent sure where I'm going with this. But this idea is logo worthy for sure.. I could just tell.

** The Flip Wilson Show is a fascinating story in and of itself, because it was a number one show and considered the funniest thing on TV, only to be buried by the homespun saccharine sweet new series - The Waltons. Oh, well. So much for The Church of What's Happening Now.

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