It's "Russia Week" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, and they show a new segment each day for his trip to Russia a few months back. To promote the week, CBS released part of this first video, which I posted here at the time. But here is the full thing --
I was listening to some music over the weekend, and for no particular reason Allan Sherman's recording of "The Ballad of Oh, Boy" came on. This was from his first album, My Son, The Folksinger, which was a cultural phenomenon and launched Sherman's career.
The song was never one of my favorites (though I like the music for the chorus). Basically, it's just a bunch of names strung together to the tune of "The Mexican Hat Dance," followed by Sherman's reaction to them by how he says, "Oh, Boy." It's fine, and somewhat fun many decades later to hear the names of people who were of interest in the early 1960s. But I'm posting it here for one specific reason -- the person who pops up at the 3:06 mark -- so pay attention! Nice, too, is that there's a photo of the person.
(The video has pictures of most of those mentioned. It's sort of amusing to see when the guy putting this together didn't know who was being referred to. One I recall is the B'nai B'rith, the Jewish charity and service organization. Another is Bo Belinksky, who was a pitcher on the Los Angeles Angles baseball team, quite an outgoing character known for dating starlets, and who pitched a no-hitter in his rookie season, though his career didn't last long.)
For whatever reason, the music level quiets about halfway through. And I won't give away beforehand the person who comes along at the 3:06 mark, so watch. New readers of these pages might not know why I'm noting this, so I'm describe it all after the video below. But long-time readers here should get a smile.
Okay, so there you have it. "The Ballad of Oh, Boy," from Allan Sherman's career-making blockbuster first album, My Son, the Folksinger.
And there, too, you have a chance to see what public figure I was referring to that comes along at the 3:06 mark of the song.
Yes, none other than Newton Minow, father of the wonderful and oft-mentioned around these parts, Nell Minow. (And her sisters, of course. They count, too. Martha, the dean of Harvard Law School, who was Barack Obama's law professor, recommending him to her father and his firm, Sidley Austin, where he ended up working and meeting Michelle Robinson who he married) -- and Mary, an expert in library law who worked for a while in the Obama administration. But that's all secondary, since what counts around these premises is Nell. She has been mentioned here, is one of the world experts on corporate governance, and a film reviewer with her Movie Mom books, and now working for RogerEbert.com. But also my co-partner in the Apology Institute of America, fine analysts of apologies by public figures since 1832. In addition, several years back, Nell reached her lifetime goal since a child of becoming a Kuklapolitan...)
Newton Minow himself -- oh, yeah, right, him -- is included in the song here because he was the FCC Chairman under President John Kennedy, and was made famous by his speech calling television a "vast wasteland." But I prefer to think it's because he poker buddy of my dad, and one of my dad's patients, though I'm admittedly biased.
And to complete the full picture, his wife and mother of those three daughters above is Jo Baskin Minow. And yes, if "Baskin" sounds familiar, it is indeed the ice-cream family.
The only thing remaining is to check with Nell herself and find out if her dad's middle initial is, in fact, "B" -- of if Allan Sherman just picked that randomly to fit the syntax.
And now you know.
UPDATE: We have our answer from Ms. Minow. She answers The Question (about if her dad's middle initial ws, in fact, "B"), as well some other comments below in the Comments section.
The pseudo-patriotic, far-right Republican base that is still supporting Trump & thinking Russia is our ally must be SO despondent these days. It gives new meaning to "Red, white and blue".
Driving home this afternoon I was listening to the radio news and Trump was reading a speech, and it was SO sing-songy and whiny and childish, that I couldn't take it and just instinctively started mocking the noise. And then it hit me, and I realized who he sounds like when he's reading off a teleprompter - Beaker from the Muppets.
He's even got the right hair.
This is a very funny segment from last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live show that deals with a young man who had a "Jimmy Kimmel-themed" Bar Mitvah. But as amusing as that part of the story is, it veers off into much-funnier when a surprise guest shows up -- Jon Stewart.
(Some people commenting about the video online have chided the kid for not recognizing Stewart, but two things are clear -- first, he's having a hard time with the two-way transmission, and second, if you listen carefully, the boy actually says "Hello, Jon" before the he introduces himself.)
Plus, there's a really nice, unexpected bonus at the end.
P.S. At one point says something in Hebrew. It means, "Please, be quiet."
About a month ago, I posted a wonderful -- and long -- speech here from 1996 that Al Franken gave as the invited speaker at the White House Correspondents Dinner, long before he had plans to become a United States Senator.
What I find particularly impressive is that that talk not only was the second time he had been invited to be speaker at the event -- but the first time was only two years previous!
Here's that speech from 1994, when Al Franken was the guest speaker at the White House Correspondence Dinner for first time. His second appearance was probably a bit more polished, even being only two years later, having a slightly better idea how to play the room, but this is still very smart and a lot of fun.
Peter Sagal's guest contestant on this week's NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is comedian Eddie Izzard. Among other things, they talk about him doing his comedy act in four different languages, which is quite an impressive achievement.
It's been a while since we've had a "Comedy Against Trumpism" video from the Liberty TV consortium that began with The Netherlands, and other countries just glommed onto it. So, this time, we find if it should be America First -- Lithuania Second. Though as they point out, Lithuania isn't always good enough to come in second...
Yes, even Lithuania has gotten into the act. And Trump wanted to take action so that the world wouldn't laugh at us. Boy, did that train leave the station long ago...
Okay, I guess we might as well continue this thread to its logical conclusion. We started with a posting about a documentary on Frank Loesser. That brought about a video of a classic song that most people didn't know Frank Loesser wrote the lyrics for. And today?
Today, we have the song that Mel Brooks wrote for his 1974 film Blazing Saddles that parodied the Loesser number. Plus, a bonus.
The original song in question is "The Boys in the Backroom" which Marlene Dietrich sang in the movie Destry Rides Again, that had lyrics by Frank Loesser and music by Frederick Hollander. And Mel Brooks parodied it with his song, "I'm Tired," for which Madeline Kahn knocked down the room with her take-off on Marlene Dietrich.
And here's the bonus.
In 1986, Madeline Kahn recreated the number for Comic Relief. I have to believe that she watched and rewatched and then watched the movie again, because it's seriously impressive has spot-on she did the number a full dozen years later.
The video quality is lousy. But that's the only thing that isn't a hoot. And it's especially a joy watching her do the song with a theater audience because it means this time, she gets the very-deserved laughs.
This is a special edition of our "Not My Job" segments that we post here from the NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! In part that's because it's from the archives, aired a decade ago, originally broadcast on March 27, 2007. It's also much longer than most of the "Not My Job" segments -- almost twice as long, in fact. And it's probably the most-famous of them all. I wasn't sure I'd be able to find it...but happily, I did. If you don't usually listen to these, for some reason known only to you, make an exception this week.
Host Peter Sagal's guest contestant here is none other than -- okay, are you ready? -- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. No, really. Not the sort of contestant you generally find on radio quiz shows. His sister-in-law was a fan of the program and nagged him to appear, and finally he relented. And the show makes the most of it. The interview, as I said, is long -- usually these pieces run about 9-10 minutes. This lasts for 17 minutes. And it's a joy all the way through. And often very funny.
(Earlier, I had written about hearing this broadcast live, and my recollection of a story he told about baseball. My recollection is incorrect. He doesn't tell it here, and he was born after the even occurred, so clearly my memory is pretty bad on this point.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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