Friday, January 11, 2008

Fluorescent Dawn - 1/10/2008

No kidding, it was this crazy bright over Acton this morning.

If I hadn't stayed in bed so long with Steve Martin this morning I would have missed it.

My friend Diver and I used to watch lots of talk shows. Star-struck from the get-go, in the early seventies we were too young to stay up for the late night cream. We watched the stuff that was on when we got home from school: Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore (it was fascinating when Burt Reynolds came on and we knew they were lovers!)

We were very into stand up comics and were always predicting who would move up to the Tonight Show (which we did see on weekends.) I remember seeing Steve Martin on the Merv Griffin show, I think, and calling Diver to claim him as one of my rising star predictions. The banjo, the arrow through the head. What the heck was happening!?

His King Tut spoof on Saturday Night Live is still one of the most astonishingly funny things I've ever seen. Everyone was Tut-crazed at the time, and it was perfectly kitchy and fabulous. Diver and I learned all the moves at the youth disco we went to every weekend.

I remember diving for the volume control as we listened to the "Cat Handcuffs" on his Wild and Crazy Guy LP in my bedroom. Stuff like that would get you banished in my house (I'd had to return my 45 of Spiders and Snakes a few years earlier, see.) And I wore out an 8 track tape of one of his albums in the truck I appropriated from my dad to drive to my freshman year of college.

He made it big and then bigger. He was my best call. To be fair, Diver called Jay Leno when she saw him live at a comedy club in Cleveland where she had her first nursing job. So we're even I guess.

So, anyway, you see that this Steve Martin thing is not new or fleeting. And of course, you see that I am just reading Steve's new autobiography Born Standing Up. I can't say the writing is great or that he's revealing anything much about his inner life, but it's interesting to a person who's followed him to understand a little about the philosophy of comedy he developed through his stand up.

Don't pick the book up if you're looking for buckets of laughs. It's about as funny as this post.



KathyR said...

Mom and I never missed a Mike Douglas show back then. I remember him fondly. Straight up. Self-deprecating. Willing cheerfully to take on pretty much whatever guests were served up.

I mean, do you remember Patti Smith being on his show? How weird was that?

Sundry said...

Whoa! No, I don't remember that! Quite a culture gap there, I'd think.