"In the name of God. Now I know what it's like to be God."
(lines censored from James Whale's Frankenstein, Universal, 1931 -- Fred Wiebel)


It's stronger than God, more evil than the Devil.
Rich people want it, poor people have it.
And if you eat it you die.
What is it?

(See bottom of Planet for the answer)

"Think HONK if you're telepathic!"


An armed, ski-masked thief burst into a Florida bank, pointed his weapon at a guard and yelled, "Freeze, Mother-Stickers, This Is A F__-Up!"

After a period of stunned silence, the snickers started and suddenly the bank guard doubled over with laughter, which apparently saved his life as he'd been about to draw his gun and would have most certainly been shot.

The embarrassed thief chose to leave well enough alone and fled, and though he's still at large, the establishment put up a plaque engraved "Freeze, mother-stickers, this is a f__-up!" in honor of the event.

"Clones are people two."


I was forwarded a "true story" by Janos Gereben who claims that a movie director friend had bought a defective CD of some Bach keyboard pieces and sent his young assistant to the record store to exchange it.

The assistant came back with the new CD and said, beaming, "Jeez, that Bach section is large! Must be a huge record label."

"Did you hear about the redneck who passed away
and left his entire estate in trust for his beloved widow?
She can't touch it till she's fourteen"
(Baxter Lane in the Hillbilly Laugh Book, 1972)


This is on a sign we saw this weekend in the lobby of the Westside Pavilion Cinemas.

"ATTENTION!!! Coffee Is Commonly Known as a 'HOT' Liquid! Please Use Care!! For the Safety And The Consideration Of Others, Please Do Not Put Coffee Cups On Your Head Or In Your Lap!"

While waiting for my coffee to cool and my head to dry, I read a review of "The Dinner Game" by French director Francis Veber, who also directed "Out on the Limb" which he himself describes as "the most horrible film ever done." He says, "Romantic comedy died when people didn't have to wait 90 minutes before they could kiss. But when you put a dog and a cat in a bag and they end up friendly, I like that very much."

And I say "Bow meow" to that!

"Hot, Fast and Post-Human!"
(Janet Maslin, NY Times, for "Run, Lola, Run")


A New York guide to eateries contains the following intriguing bitestop: La Nouvelle Justine, 206 West 23rd St. 212/727-8623.

"Not all theme restaurants are suitable for families. Have you been a bad boy? Here dominatrix waitresses serve French-American fare you can choose to eat doggie-style (from a dog bowl) in a high chair or a cage. House specialties (about $20) include spankings from the waitstaff."

Eat or be eaten...

"How many rednecks does it take eat a 'possum?
One to eat, and one to watch for cars"
(Baxter, ibid.)


And by the by, the New York Times of May 5 ran an article by Alex Witchel expressing outrage on the abusive use of cell phones. More and more places are declaring their dining areas "Cellular Free Zones." For instance, in the Union Square spring newsletter the owner states:

"If clouds of cigarette smoke and pungent fragrances like Giorgio and Poison were the dining room scourges of the 80's, then the rampant, inconsiderate use of cell phones in restaurants has become their baneful heir as we approach the year 2000." Consultant Clark Wolf suggests that "If people have to use cell phones... they should buy the kind that vibrate, so only they enjoy it."

My ex-Riverdale classmate Tim Zagat points out, however, that in some places, like the rowdy steakhouse Maloney & Porcelli, "It almost comes with the territory." But an unidentified manager adds, "when most people want to use their phones here, they can't. It's so loud they have to go outside to hear." And the portions there are so humungous, they probably have to step out to chew, too...

"It's easy to do justice -- hard to do 'right'"
("The Winslow Boy," 1999)


Dear Friends, I'm happy to announce that our website, firesigntheatre.com, was finally recognized by Yahoo -- and the hits have tripled to 3,000 per day! I'm also told by Funny Names Club President Emeritus, Edgar Bullington, that if you go to http://www.laugh.com you'll find some of our record albums for sale, and if you read about The Firesign Theatre on the order page, you'll discover that "this famous group is from Chicago." I never knew that. I thought we were from Goshen.

And Watch This Space, because I soon may have good news about the re-release of the brilliant Mobile Fidelity remixes of some of our most classic albums. To be keeping your ears crossed...

[Go to next column to continue reading]

"You know why I gave up eating processed foods?
I began to picture the people who might be processing them"
(George Carlin)


Abdicate--v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Balderdash--n., a rapidly receding hairline.

Bustard--n., a very rude Metrobus driver.

Carcinoma--n., a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

Circumvent--n., the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

Coffee--n., a person who is coughed upon.

Esplanade--v., to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Flabbergasted--adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Flatulence--n., emergency vehicle transporting person run over by a steamroller.

Gargoyle--n., an olive-flavored mouthwash.

Internet--n., a web of interns in which Ken Starr tried to snare Bill Clinton.

Lymph--v., to walk with a lisp.

Macadam--n., the first man on Earth, according to the Scottish bible.

Marionettes--n., residents of Washington, DC, jerked around by the mayor.

Negligent--adj., absentmindedly answering the door in your nightie.

Oyster--n., one who sprinkles conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Semantics--n., pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood.

Testicle--n., a humorous question on an exam.

Rectitude--n., the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist.

Willy-nilly--adj., impotent.

"I go to bed early.
My favorite dream comes on at 9:00"
(George, again.)


According to director and weekend Doctor, Jeff Mandel: genetic studies at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have shown that some boys will be infertile as adults because they have inherited a genetic defect from their fathers through a method of assisted reproduction known as ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection to you "lay" people. Don't mess with Father Nature!

"What's the most popular pick up line in Arkansas?
Nice tooth!"


In an AP release by Evelyne Girardet, it says that the next actor to play Shakespeare's Hamlet in the famous graveyard scene at Chicago's Goodman Theatre may want to change his line to "Alas, poor Del. I knew him, Horatio."

Indeed, Del Close, a veteran of the Second City comedy troupe who rang down his curtain in March, has willed them his chemically cleaned skull, missing some front teeth, and presented last week on a velvet cushion in a plastic box. He specified that it could be used to play the aforementioned moldy court jester but according to Charna Halpern, Close's longtime companion and the executor of his will, "He was also willing to have it just lie around in some desert scene. He wasn't fussy."

Close, who was known for his dark humor, put the skull clause in his will about a year before he died at age 64 from complications of emphysema; and Robert Falls, the Goodman's Tony Award-winning artistic director, promised to find at least one part for the skull each season at the Goodman, while Del's ashes, contained in a box resembling a book, were donated to Chicago's Improv Olympic, which he helped found. "This is exactly what he wanted," said Charna. "This is Del getting the last laugh."

"Alas, poor Del. We did know him well," Falls said. "He was a man of infinite jest."

"She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her"
(Epitaph for Margaret Daniel, Hollywood
Cemetery, Richmond, VA)


Stanley Soble, a casting director many of us knew well over the years, especially at the Center Theater Group, hung up his phone at the age of 59 due to complications following an undisclosed surgery.

Artistic director Gordon Davidson said, "Actors felt well taken care of by him. He wasn't afraid to disagree with a director if he felt talent wasn't being recognized." To which actor Richard Thomas, currently appearing at the Ahmanson adds, "He was pure theater -- he was everywhere, seeing everything." As he doubtless is now.


And the answer is -- and that's the answer. Get it?



(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor

Published 7/7/99