Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A (Neo) Vaudeville Moment: The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour

Straight outta 1978, it's a segment from The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, featuring a hot jazz quintet -- the Foxx himself as Dr. Sausage, backed by His Pork Chops -- and some of the most recognizable comedians/characters from the 70s, including Bill Saluga (that infamous Raymond J. Johnson), Billy Barty and The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston) who was a regular on The Gong Show, and yes, that's Hal Smith -- otherwise known as Otis Campbell the town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show.

If you know who's in the band, let me know.   That can't be anyone else but Slappy White on trombone...!

It's interesting, the way they're leaning so heavily on slapstick and vaudeville. It feels out of time for the 70s, somehow.  Or was the schmaltz of yesteryear a part of the joke? And wouldn't the audience have to know that language in order to get it? Would any of this fly on television nowadays? Very little of the neo-burlesque/neo-vaudeville I see downtown wallows in this kind of schtick -- but when it does, there's a lot of smarts in it, a lot of irony. And quite a bit of filth.

If there's anybody that's doing it better than The Slipper Room, let me know.  (And I'm not just saying that because that's where I met MPB.)

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