“It’s my house!!!” from Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” (1983)

Video

Eddie Murphy was one of the best stand-up comedians in history. Unfortunately, a lot of his older material (specifically his material on gays) doesn’t carry over quite as well in these more enlightened times.

However, Murphy’s monologue about his drunken dad during a 4th of July cookout is still a classic and still one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. Even when I first saw this when I was 13-years old, this was the bit that had me laughing the hardest. Though nowadays, I find myself laughing less and understanding his father’s laments. Seriously, I pay the bills in the motherf–ker and hey, kiss my a– if you don’t like it!!!! ‘Cos it’s my house!!!

Needless to say, not safe for work.

“The Top” (1984) with Andy Kaufman, Dan Aykroyd, Rodney Dangerfield, etc.

Video

If this seems like a really bad attempt at avant-garde humor/entertainment, you’d be correct. Why am I posting it here? Because it’s an extremely rare debacle that involved a lot of famous people doing a favor for someone named David Jove. Jove was the producer of the infamous (and truly great) early 1980s hardcore punk cable TV show “New Wave Theater.” When that show’s host Peter Ivers was murdered in 1983, some of Ivers’ friends tried to help Jove get a new show started.

“The Top” is similar to “New Wave Theater” in tone, but with a lot more money thrown at it and a lot less balls and heart. Originally Chevy Chase was hired to host, but when he got stuck in the middle of a spontaneous slam-dancing session which he had no knowledge of, he fled the studio and the producers hired Andy Kaufman instead. This was Kaufman’s last live appearance and sadly, it’s not particularly good. Still, it’s a good example of what sometimes happens when the avant-garde tries to go mainstream.

Andy Kaufman on “The Dating Game”

Video

I’m not quite sure when this aired, but professional comedians were often hired as ringers for the infamous daytime game show of the 1960s / 1970s “The Dating Game.” Here Kaufman does a version of Latka as a contestant who seems clearly puzzled by what’s expected of him. Very funny stuff. Especially the bachelorette who seems like a parody of a 1970s porn star, even though that may not be her intent.

“True Faith” – New Order

Video

You know how certain songs bring you back to certain times in your life. “True Faith” evokes vivid memories of the fall of 1988: the smell of stale beer, cigarettes, turtlenecks pulling on a 10:00 pm shadow, and hair that’s not quite hip enough to be a mullet. How could a young lass with an Elanie Benes haircut and acid-washed jeans resist? Surprisingly, they did … but that’s beside the point …

“Baltimore” – Randy Newman

Video

One of Newman’s best … from 1977’s “Little Criminals.” A beautiful, but despairing look at a city in crisis, very similar in tone to Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Also highly recommended (thought I can’t find it on YouTube) is Mink Stole’s recent cover from her album “Do Re Mink”.

When Terry Met Gene … Terry Gross interviews Gene Simmons on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” February 4, 2002

Here it is folks … the infamous interview Terry Gross did with KISS’s Gene Simmons for her NPR talk show “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” in 2002.  The interview has been split into 3 parts for your edification.  I can’t tell if Terry had any idea of what Gene was like prior to this interview … but Gene is playing himself to the hilt.   It’s hard to tell who wins this battle of the bands, but I think Terry and Gene put up a good fight.   I can’t tell if Gene is acting more like Ted Nugent or Andy Kaufman here.  I think he’s way smarter than Nugent and there’s elements of this that seem tongue-in-cheek, but I also don’t think his performance in the interview is a complete put-on.   Regardless, it’s one jaw-droppingly entertaining (almost) 30 minutes.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

“Larry David v. Susie Green” …A “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Anthology

Video

Here’s an almost 10-minute compilation of some of the funniest verbal abuse in TV history. It’s an anthology of Susie Green (wonderfully played by Susie Essman) dressing down Larry David’s character on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” from multiple episodes/seasons. Susie may seem unnecessarily harsh, but to be fair, Larry is an insufferably neurotic maniac who doesn’t always make the best choices. Not safe for work by any stretch of the imagination. But no one can sling an f-bomb like Susie Green.

“(I Know) I’m Losing You” – Rod Stewart

Video

The original version of “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by the Temptations is one of the legendary Motown group’s best songs. But Stewart’s explosive cover from his 1970 masterpiece “Every Picture Tells a Story” is one of those rare covers (like Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” and Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”) that blows the original out of the water. I feel bad for saying that because the original Temptations song is strong stuff. But I would argue that Stewart here, already one of the greatest vocalists of all time, invests so much of himself into this song that this is a peak which Stewart has yet to duplicate … even 43 years later. Not only does Stewart shred on this song, but that freakin’ drum sound by Mickey Waller will rattle your fillings. Greil Marcus once said that Waller deserved the Noble Prize for Physics for his drumming on this album and I do not disagree one bit.

“Handbags and Gladrags” – Rod Stewart

Video

Recognize this one? A cover of this was the theme of the UK version of the seminal comedy TV show “The Office.” However, the song was originally written by Manfred Mann’s Mike D’Abo. This version by Rod Stewart from his first solo album in 1969 (called “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down” in the UK, but was released as “The Rod Stewart Album” in America). Makes you almost forget about “Tonight’s the Night” or “D’Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

“The Boys in Company C” (1978) dir. Sidney J. Furie

Video

One of the first major studio films to deal with the Vietnam War after the war was over, “The Boys in Company C” was released near the beginning of 1978. The film got mixed reviews at the time and whatever notice it got was overshadowed by the double punch of Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” (released at the end of 1978) and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” (released in the summer of 1979).

It’s a real shame that “The Boys in Company C” has been shuttled to the sidelines over the years, because it’s a really good movie. Admittedly, it’s uneven at times (at one point, it shifts from a war movie into a sports movie). But the film is extremely ambitious, attempting to tackle several important subjects (combat, drugs, racism). And the film boasts several terrific performances, specifically by Stan Shaw, Andrew Stevens, Craig Wasson, Michael Lembeck, James Canning, R. Lee Ermey, James Whitmore Jr., Noble Willingham, and Scott Hylands.

This was R. Lee Ermey’s first acting role and it’s very reminiscent of his role in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket,” which many people mistakenly believe is his debut. Ermey plays the same hard-ass drill instructor we all know and love (and — gulp! — are deathly afraid of), but in “Boys in Company C,” there’s also a humanity that’s missing from his performance in Kubrick’s film. The scene above is a compilation of Ermey’s entire performance, but the part you really need to watch is the scene that starts 3:10 into the clip. This is Ermey and Shaw having an intense discussion about boot camp, Shaw’s struggles with being company leader, and Ermey’s explanation of what he needs Shaw to do. It’s a powerful scene, wonderfully acted by Ermey and Shaw. Please note that because it IS Ermey playing a drill sergeant, the language is beyond rough and extremely politically incorrect.

And not to slight Shaw. Most people remember Shaw as the doomed Toomer from “The Great Santini,” but his performance as Washington is outstanding, and in a film that’s basically an ensemble piece, Shaw is the lead of the film. Had this film come out a few years later, Shaw arguably may have had the career Denzel Washington had. His performance in “Boys in Company C” demonstrates he has the talent and charisma to have gone all the way.