"Funny is money"
(Neil Simon)

 

FUNNY YOU SHOULD SAY THAT

I heard this line in an excellent production of Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" at the beautiful Laguna Playhouse, playing through June 7th.

Ron "El Grande de Coca Cola" House plays the "Sid Caesar" role with hysterical accuracy, (which I also had the pleasure to see brilliantly embodied by Howard Hesseman in an earlier national production.) It's a deep, funny play which reiterates a great irony; to "wit": Caesar was so popular, people bought more and more TVs, and the growing audience demanded more broad-based comedy which led to the demise of his own show!

The house manager, Wally Zeigler, turned out to be a longtime Firehead whom I first met in New Haven during a a radio appearance in the late sixties. Ask him if he likes horses, and he'll fall right over. For tickets call (714) 4967-ARTS.

"How senseless it is to use today to clutter up tomorrow's opportunities with problems left over from yesterday." (Eileen Garvin)

 

RATED PG FOR ME

Recently seen and enjoyed: "Sliding Doors," "Life and Death on Long Island," "Primary Colors" (where we ran into Entertainment magazine's Brad "Development Hell" Schreiber and wormed our way into his column), "City of Angels," "Sour Grapes" (listen for me), and the Norwegian film, "Junk Mail" ("Brubringeren") which takes place hilariously in an ominous Oslo I've never visited, thank Odin. Also seen: "Butcher Boy" (the Irish make their own sandwiches) and "I Love You Don't Touch Me" (I liked the Henry Jaglom joke) -- but otherwise, one of the most derided screenings by my Writers Guild buddies like Paul "Larry Sanders" Willson, who asked, "If I go to the library of cliches, will they all be out?" He had one good thing to say about it, however, "At least it wasn't in Smellavision."

We were also invited to a fund-raising preview for the hilarious short "Who Was That Man" written, produced and directed by John Korkus1 and starring the aforementioned Mr. Willson and his antic wife Pat; and enjoyed the mordant satiric wit and dazzling musical talents of ex-Foreman Roy Zimmerman at McCabe's, presenting material from his new CD "Comic Sutra" recorded live at Luna Park (Listen for my laugh) and available by writing to PO Box 334, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. Cost of CD is $15, checks made out to Roy Zimmerman  - Roy doesn't charge for postage and handling. (Special thanks to Joan Manners for the address correction and other useful info!)

[1. Editorial footnote: this comes from Larry Estes by way of Mr. Procmer: "Just for the record, 'WHO WAS THAT MAN' was written and directed by an actor who spells his name JON KORKES (you spelled it more phonetic) and is best remembered (at least to me) as Snowden, whose guts spill out all over Alan Arkin in CATCH-22. He also appeared in my Robert Downey movie TOO MUCH SUN."]

"Bozone: The invisible layer that surrounds stupid people and won't allow smart ideas to penetrate."
(Firesign Newsgroup)

 

AND THEY SAY L.A. LACKS CULTURE...

The following is from volume 2.5 of "The Informer, a publication for actors & actresses." A 'dark comedy" titled "Existential Surfers" is seeking: Jean-Paul Sartre (23), surfer-philosopher leader; Soren Kirkegaard (22), believes in transcendental existentialism; Martin Heidegger (22), believes in totality of being; Freidrich Nietzche (23), materialist individualist; Albert Camus (22), theorist of the absurd, group clown... and Simone (22,) Sartre's girl." And in keeping with Sartre's great work "Being and Nothingness," don't call us...

"Elephants please stay in your car."
(Spotted in a Safari Park)

 

LIFE ON THE EDGE

An "Atlas of the New West" by William Riebsame omits the entire state of California, according to an L.A. Times article by Stephanie Simon. He feels it's "too high-tech, too diverse, too well-stocked with cappuccino bars." But we're in good company; the author also left out Seattle and Portland.

Oh, well, who cares. "There are more students in the L.A. Unified School District than there are people in the entire state of Wyoming." By 2020, L.A. will experience a population increase "equivalent to two Chicagos." Then, we'll be known as "Large Angeles." Remember the L.A.mo!

Another author, Jim Heimann, has put out "May I Take Your Order?", a Chronicle Books glossy paperback of menus from the 20s to the 60s which includes drinks such as Lana Turner's "Untamed" and Claudette Colbert's "Missionary Downfall" as well as "a Lone Ranger Dinner for 12 dimes and eleven nickles."

Meanwhile, life of a kind goes on, with articles in the Business Section about New Line Cinema's Mike De Luca, who apparently dropped trou' and made an oral agreement with a Hollywood knee-comer at a big companytown par-tee while guests looked on aghast. In a previous interview in GQ Mike said, "People are just jealous that I get away with it." Or maybe it's just because as Hollow-wood golem Edgar Bronfman, Jr. says in the current issue of The New Yorker, "It's a dumb town." He should probably take his own advice and keep his mouth shut.

And so should wunderkind and new CEO of the USA Network, Stephen Chow, who was fired from his position on Fox TV in 1992 for hiring a stripper to perform at a company retreat. (Run away!) He even managed to offend the wife of his boss Robert Murdoch several years ago, when according to the Times he tossed her "cherished pure-blood puppy" into her pool to see if it was realy a hunting dog. "It sunk like a rock... I jumped in I think with all my clothes and rescued the dog. It was surreal." Really? Guess you had to be there...

The week past also commemorated the 98th birthday of the late Charles Francis Richter, who shook us all up with his quake scale. In a L.A. Times magazine article by Michael R. Forrest I learned that he abandoned a career in chemistry "because he had shaky hands." He also "had a violent facial twitch... and for the fun of it sometimes walked around Caltech wearing two ties at once." But come on out! At JC Penney's you can buy a collection of 8 "Mel Blanc Voice Watches" on sale for only $40 apiece. And tha-tha-tha-at's all folks!

"Red squirrels. You don't see many of them since they became extinct."
(Michael Aspel, British Radio 2)

 

ROCK'N'ROLL AND THE END OF THE WORLD

Bob Lloyd tells us that David Merrell, a Suffolk, Va. high school student, took first place in science fairs by demonstrating the effect of music on lab mice. For hours each day some mice heard classical music; others heard heavy metal. After three weeks, highbrow mice worked through their maze in 90 seconds, but the rock crowd was averaging half an hour. For further info get National Lampoon's "Sex, Drugs, Rock'n'Roll and the End of the World."

And AP reports that a researcher at Bowling Green State University using "bat detectors" has discovered that rats love to be tickled. "You get the most laughter at the nape of the neck, " says Jaak Panksepp, professional lab-rat tickler, "where they direct each other's play behavior." (Sounds like me and Melinda.) Rat On, Jaak!

"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind."
(General William Westmoreland)

 

FREE LOVE

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it will always be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with. If it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your phone, takes your money, and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place -- you either married it or gave birth to it!

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the President."
(Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents)

 

MEN AND WOMEN ARE THE SAME SEX

PARIS, Nov. 14 (Agence France-Presse) -- In what is thought to be the biggest merger of all time, Men and Women have agreed to join forces into one sex, to be called Humanicorp. The details of the arrangement are still being hammered out, but early negotiations have men taking breasts. Women have agreed in principle to watch ESPN but have refused to give up self-respect. There are also serious antitrust issues that will need to be resolved. Bob, a spokesman for men, said that men have been trying to merge with women for years, so this is the culmination of a long-held dream for them. Women were unavailable for comment.

"This is the gate of heaven. Enter ye all by this door.
(This door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side door)"
(English Parish announcement)

 

THEY GO OUT LIKE ANYTHING

In the same week where a depressed and moribund Daniel V. Jones blew up his beloved dog Gladdis and then himself in protest of HMOs, Dr. John Scialli writes that major Firesign fan Douglas Fletcher, a 42-year-old ER/ICU nurse in Mesa, Arizona and publisher the "Journal of Nursing Jocularity" was killed in a fiery car crash in NY state along with four other performing medical professionals on their way to a state rally for a performance of "Who's Got The Keys," his anti-HMO musical "about burned-out nurses."

"The final irony in all of this," writes John, "is that it appears now the accident was caused by a woman who nodded off at the wheel in the car in front of them, nicked a tractor-trailer and set it out of control. The woman was an exhausted nurse returning from working a prolonged shift at a local hospital." (http://www.jocularity.com/? -- The question mark is part of the url, as in "Why him?")

"So far... at least one major insurer has decided to pay for six sex acts a month. There you have it. Insurers now control how often clients will have sex. This is truly managed care." - Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe. (MarvWolfman)

 

O, FAYE, HIP HOP

Dominique Aury, secret auteur of the S&M classic "The Story of O" jumped through the circle of life at the age of 90. She admitted to having written the Deux-Magots (Two Maggots) prize-winning novel in 1994 in New Yorker magazine. See the movie.

"He killed you in a previous life. Now you can get even by screwing her."
(Soulmate Reincarnation Dating Service Ad)

Alice Jeanne Leppert, foxy Fox musical star of the 30s and 40s died in her 80s as Alice Faye. Quoth she: "I have great memories -- of the working people, wonderful stars like Don Ameche, John Payne, Tyrone Power, Jack Oakie, Jack Haley, on and on. We had so much fun, we really did. They don't seem to have that kind of fun today." Too bad we couldn't have invited her to a Firesign Theatre recording session for "RadioNow" before she passed over... Regards to late husband Phil Harris.

"There is only two kinds of music - Country and Western"
(Country Music Association bumper sticker)

Eddie "Drivin' My Life Away" Rabbitt, pop-country music star, burned out at 56. Said he, "A writer has to keep one foot in the street and one pocket empty and be hungry for it." Guess I qualify. The question my C/W fan wife Melinda asked is, "Did he die because someone was pregnant?"

 

THE LAST WORD

"I swear I heard Quark say he was waiting for a shipment of groat clusters on last week's Deep Space Nine!"
(Magic Mike)

 

Published 5/10/98

PLANET PROCTOR
1996/2002 by Phil Proctor