It’s Friday! Procrastinate and countdown to happy hour with these lovely bits!
Comedian Soupy Sales passed away yesterday, which immediately made me nostalgic. Soupy hosted a kids’ show in the 1950s and 1960s, probably one of the first to make any attempt to appeal to adults at the same time as children. It actually gathered something of a hip following at one point, particularly when production moved from New York to Los Angeles.
I wasn’t old enough to have seen that show, but my grandparents had a couple of old Soupy Sales records at their house, which I remember listening to and enjoying many times. They were kind of corny, even to a little kids’ ears, full of bad puns and the like, but fun. One of the record, Spy with a Pie, was a full-length James Bond parody, inexplicably featuring a Bela Lugosi-esque vampire puppet and a come-on from a Mae West honey trap. (“I’d like to run mah finger through your black, wavy hair.” “No thanks, I got a comb.”)
When I heard that he died, I figured I’d go online and try to find some clips of his old show, which I’d actually never seen. You can see a direct line from him to Pee-wee’s Playhouse, definitely, in the free, anarchic universe they both inhabited in their shows.
If anything, Soupy’s world is a little too free; I seriously doubt there was any kind of script. And you can totally see the sets shake every time somebody moves. But I admire the cheapness (although I doubt it was a conscious aesthetic choice) because cheapness is funny.
Plus, Soupy played some kickin’ tunes on his show. Check out this clip, where his pal Pookie dances/lip syncs to Oscar Peterson’s “Mumbles” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom” (not the John Lee Hooker version, though).
Can you imagine a kids show playing music like that nowadays? Well, maybe Yo Gabba Gabba. Interesting side note: Two of Soupy’s kids, Hunt and Tony, formed Iggy Pop’s rhythm section for Lust for Life. Seriously.
And speaking of swingin’ tunes, check out this lengthy clip in which Soupy serves dinner to som brat and his dad, and members of The Rat Pack. I can’t say this all that funny or exactly classic TV, but you do get to see Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop get hit in the face with a pie.
The Soupy Sales Show – Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis jr
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As for the modern funny, my brother recently sent me this video in which John Mulaney talks about The Best Meal ever. I have to admit I was largely ignorant of Mr. Mulaney until he appeared in studio on The Best Show earlier this year. But me likey, definitely. I know this isn’t really a video per se, but seriously, if this story does not make you bust a gut, you are dead inside.