Friday, August 25, 2006

Smells Like Pumas

My alarm clock/radio is set to come on at 5:15 on station KUT-FM. That means that I wake up to the sound of National Public Radio's Morning Edition. On most mornings, I hit the snooze button about 3-4 times before I finally drag my tired body out of bed and start my day. Sometimes I just listen to the morning news for a half hour before getting up, which is what I did this morning.

Apparently there was a story earlier this week regarding a kid who fell into a vat of melted chocolate. In reviewing the week's stories this Friday morning, the powers that be dug out an old Smothers Brothers routine which dealt with Tommy's having fallen into a vat of chocolate. "What do you do when you fall into a vat of chocolate?", Dick asks. "You yell 'FIRE'", replies Tommy, "because nobody will come if you yell 'CHOCOLATE'!"

Kids today probably have never heard of the Smothers Brothers. Poor, deprived kids. My Uncle Richard had two or three or their albums when I was a kid and I loved listening to them. I watched their television show for as long as they managed to keep it on the air, before the censors gave it the axe for daring to question the Vietnam War. I watched them on the Ed Sullivan show, another experience that has never been available to today's generation. (Elvis and the Beatles live! Eat your hearts out.)

I loved the Smothers Brothers and I loved that NPR remembered that chocolate routine. This morning when I crawled out of bed, I located the one compilation CD I have and listened to it on the way to work. I laughed all the way.

Tom: Mom always liked you best!
Dick: You know why? Because I was an only child!

Tom: The March over the River Kwai was a hit song, even though nobody ever sang the lyrics. They whistled. The lyrics were dirty!

Long discussion on how railroad builders faced horrible perils, such as pumas.
Tom: Pumas are vicious. They hide in big cravasses.
Dick: There are no pumas in America!
Tom: The railroad builders faced horrible beasts! They would hide in cravasses and attack the men. The men said "sure smells like pumas around here!".

"When John Henry was a little baby,
Sitting on his Daddy's knee,
His Daddy picked him up and threw him on the floor,
And said 'This baby's done wet on me!'"

"My old man was a cotton-pickin', finger-lickin' chicken plucker,
What do you think about that?
...And some day, if I can,
I'm going to be a cotton-pickin', finger-lickin' chicken plucker,
The same as my old man!"

Well, you have to hear them to get the full effect. Trust me, they are funny. And though they make liberal use of double entendres, not a word of profanity in their routines. Just two brothers, picking a guitar and an upright bass viol (very competently), singing in harmony, and executing flawless banter that you had better listen closely to or you might miss something hysterical.

I'll take Tom and Dickie Smothers any day over the likes of the so-called comedians that you find on Comedy Central, who seem to think profanity is the key to humor.

Wish somebody would wake up and reissue their old albums on CD.


No comments: