In our circle is a gentleman (or a wannabe gentleman) who calls himself “Wannabe Moralist.”
Because he tries so hard to be funny, he could call himself a “wannabe comic.”
Come to think of it, the tag “wannabe comic critic” also should be pinned to him as he loves to judge the funny men and women he catches on TV, the movies, or on YouTube. (Those he judges are funnier than him and this irony escapes him.)
We would be less tolerant of this boisterous fellow if he hadn’t curated the following comedy clips.
He’s something of a YouTube scavenger. And while our friend can’t seem to share a single YouTube discovery with without adding his moralizing quips, we realize that nobody is perfect. Especially not our friend.
Anyway, we asked him to recommend some enlightening gems and here is his reply, unedited.
1. Greetings! And more greetings!
Per my New Year’s oath, everything I write to you, or anyone, will be sent in the format of a “Top 10 List”. For the duration, at least, of one year. And as I am doing here now, with this communique.
2. Woe is I.
This practice of numbering has already been denounced as “condescending” by an offended stranger. (On Facebook, of course.)
3. Is it my private fantasy or do more and more of the strangers who encircle and populate our lives seem more and more prone to take offense?
4. Worse, these strange specimens seem to prowl for opportunities to be offended, you weasels.
5. These online “Thought Police” are quick to frisk any naive comments we make . They pounce with thunderous righteousness and say things like: “You have provoked my noble blood and innocence, you dastardly sexist or racist or ignoramus!”
6. Anyone who has bothered to read My New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 knows that my resolve to number my thoughts as a “Top 10 List” (as I am doing here) came from a simple desire to improve the focus and order and clarity of my personal life. Which, Dear Honest Reader, has nothing whatsoever to do with what you are wearing or your own personal smells.
After all, the year 2017 was, for this wannabe moralist, a year of small defeats, stagnation, woe, chaos, and “tired footpaths” (I think I read that last somewhere).
In others, 2017 lacked small triumphs, growth, content, and clarity.
So that’s why I thought numbering my thoughts and words, so as to prioritize them (or just see them better), might help to inject my days, and even my writing, with pep and transparency.
In support of this plan, the great WILLIAM FAULKNER repeated the following credo over and over again in his nonfiction (the phrase pops up like a tic): “Change or die.”
(Funny. I guess most antifas types would assume — they love to — that an old white Dixie Aristocrat like WILLIAM CUTHBERT FAULKNER just HAD TO BE 100% racist. But what if he were more complex than their simple fantasies? “FAULKNER” (as he renamed himself) specifically used and reused his “CHANGE OR DIE” credo when talking to white people about black people. NOT the other way around.)
“Change or die.”
You can look it up.
Over and over, Faulkner wrote that.
So I thought I might. Okay: I’ll try Change myself.
Hence my inspiration to write “Top 10 Lists” for the whole of 2018.
But, of course, somebody on Facebook took offense.
7. Anyway. Where was I?
Oh, yes. TV comedy.
At its peak, TV comedy makes me wanna stage that Old School dance routine called the HARLEM SHUFFLE.
That’s how great comedy affects me. Perhaps it affects you in the same way? If so, why aren’t there more HARLEM SHUFFLE fan clubs online?
Some Old People remember the 1986 version of “HARLEM SHUFFLE” that THE ROLLING STONES had on their DIRTY WORK album of that same year.
Okay track. But not close to the original by the largely forgotten BOB & EARL from way back in 1963. BOB was BOBBY BYRD (born 1927 in TOCOA, GEORGIA; died in 2007).
EARL NELSON was born in LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (birth town of the fab NELLIE LUTCHER and the fab LUCINDA WILLIAMS). And he died a year after his partner. May both rest in peace.
Speaking of white-boy covers of HARLEM SHUFFLE, here’s a faded but fantastic lip-sync clip from 1966 by that Fantastic Hairdo known as WAYNE COCHRAN:
(WAYNE COCHRAN: Born 1913 in THOMASTON, GEORGIA.)
Who’s says White Boy Soul ain’t legit?
8. Anyway. Where was I?
Oh, yes. TV comedy.
I still catch any episode of KING OF QUEENS I can.
THE KING OF QUEENS (bad title) materialized in 1998. And dissolved from TV screens in 2007.
The show’s main character was the underrated KEVIN JAMES.
The other players in THE KING OF QUEENS troupe, all equal in Star stature, and all equally underrated, were:
* LEAH REMINI as KEVIN JAMES’s battle-ready spouse. And an underrated actor who catches and returns every nuance of anyone she’s paired with. REMINI was ESSENTIAL to the success of the series.
REMINI was born in BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 1970.
Here’s a quickie clip featuring REMINI and JAMES. They perfected the art of “Two Partners Squabbling”:
* JERRY “I’m Funnier Than My Son BEN STILLER” as the Old White Guy in the KEVIN & LEAH Household (her father; his father-in-law). No offense to STILLER JUNIOR.
Every time STILLER SENIOR enters a scene, the floor vibrates, the walls shake. In other words, he enters a room like ELVIS and the atmosphere changes.
STILLER SENIOR’s utterances, wit and timing seem never to fail as surreal.
With such deep and durable writing, JERRY STILLER proves himself to be a HALL of FAME talent. Here are REMINI and STILLER SENIOR:
STILLER SENIOR was born 1927 in BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
* VICTOR WILLIAMS as KEVIN JAMES’s deadpan, long-suffering best pal.
There is no emotion VICTOR can’t underplay with perfect realism. Without him, the series would’ve lacked vital talent and heart.
WILLIAMS was born in BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 1970.
Here are VICTOR WILLIAMS and STILLER SENIOR. “Race” comedy. With heart. Not venom. GENIUS.
9. Wanna hear something funny?
Of all those cast members, the only actor who wasn’t born in BROOKLYN is KEVIN JAMES, the show’s main man.
The lone non-BROOKLYNITE KEVIN JAMES (real surname: KNIPFING) grew up in LONG ISLAND and was born 1965 in MINEOLA, an hour’s drive from BROOKLYN.
But don’t kid yourself. BROOKLYNITES probably have very rough names for people from pipsqueak MINEOLA. Rougher than “You Knipfing!” (Can you blame them?)
Nonetheless, to anyone not privy to the minutia of Eastern gang wars, NEW YORK is NEW YORK, and maybe the real presence of NEW YORK mojo is the only explanation for the ease and smoothness which distinguishes THE KINGS OF QUEENS, this superb, weirdly underrated show.
Now here are JAMES and STILLER SENIOR loud-mouthing each other in a quintessential New York way:
10. I could go on. And on.
If you want more, here’s a longer sequence of highlights:
Your Flung-Far E-Correspondent,
The Wannabe Moralist, Et Cetera