jerry lewis

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MARCEL MARCEAU INTERVIEWED (2001): It's all talk, talk, talk . . .

MARCEL MARCEAU INTERVIEWED (2001): It's all talk, talk, talk . . .

Within minutes, literally fewer than five, Marcel Marceau is back in the unadorned dressing room at Sydney's Capitol Theatre and, still in full pancake makeup, enthusiastically giving an interview after another thunderously received performance.The speed at which this private audience has been expedited and the sheer rush of words from a man...

THE GENIUS OF JERRY LEWIS: All fall down

THE GENIUS OF JERRY LEWIS: All fall down

Jerry Lewis is in his early 80s so it’s hardly surprising people don’t talk about him much anymore. His last decent movie appearance was in The King of Comedy in 83 as the arrogant television talkshow host Jerry Langford stalked by Robert DeNiro’s deluded Rupert Pupkin. Lewis was terrific, oozing oily indifference. The last...

THE THREE STOOGES: Violence spoken here

THE THREE STOOGES: Violence spoken here

The debate about the amount of violence on television isn’t going to end soon. There are too many people doing well-funded research for it to die quietly. By the time kids get to school they have seen, oh just heaps, of violent acts on television. They’ve also seen lots of programmes about sharks, but has anyone conducted a...

NORMAN McLAREN, ANIMATOR: Making the screen come alive

NORMAN McLAREN, ANIMATOR: Making the screen come alive

When a history of animated film is written, it is possible that the largest chapter about how this genre emerged will go not to Walt Disney or Otto (Felix the Cat) Mesmer but to a modest quietly spoken Scots-born Canadian, Norman McLaren. McLaren’s whimsical films charmed and delighted audiences for nearly 50 years. He entered the...

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The director defining the landscape

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The director defining the landscape

There was a scene in Michael Palin’s much acclaimed travel-doco Himalaya which, even if you didn't see it, you'll recognise. It was of a towering mountain with clouds scuttling over at about 10 times the speed. Such an image is over-familiar these days -- you see it often in ads which indicates how cliched it has become -- but the...

MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN, 30 YEARS ON (2009): Still a bit of a naughty boy

MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN, 30 YEARS ON (2009): Still a bit of a naughty boy

It seems only yesterday that Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ was being debated for its uncompromising brutality. I wonder if those who bought it on DVD watch it often? And will they watch it 30 years time? Gibson has a sense of humour -- he made Braveheart after all -- so maybe he would get a laugh out of the irreverently...

LAM CHING-YING (1952-97): The fearless vampire killer

LAM CHING-YING (1952-97): The fearless vampire killer

Those who knew Hong Kong actor Lam Ching-ying describe him as disciplined and often severe, generous to his colleagues, but so private that when diagnosed with liver cancer in mid-1997 he didn't even tell his closest friends.  He died that November, aged 45, and his pallbearers included actor/director Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. At his...

F FOR FAKE, a film by ORSON WELLES (Madman DVD): Rooms full of mirrors and smoke

F FOR FAKE, a film by ORSON WELLES (Madman DVD): Rooms full of mirrors and smoke

The context of this curious film needs to be sketched in before the innocent venture into its bewildering chicanery and capriciously obscuring nature. Made in the early Seventies and one of the last films that Welles, a notorious unfinisher, actually completed, it is on one level a look at the life of the art forger Elmyr de Hory (if...

CORNER GAS (Madman DVD): A whole lot of nothing

CORNER GAS (Madman DVD): A whole lot of nothing

It is a peculiar thing that Corner Gas -- a wry, understated and very droll Canadian comedy series -- isn't screened on New Zealand television. It has many similarities in its humour to that of Flight of the Conchords, not the least in its gentle wit, the slightly confused and often naive characters, and the similarity between what Canadians...

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

In retrospect, one of the funniest incidents in the Flight of the Conchords' second television series was when the nice but naive New Zealand prime minister Brian turned up and seemed out of his depth, and desperate to be liked. Who knew that the actual PM John Key would later turn up on Letterman looking alarmingly like Brian? But the...

THE HAUNTING PAST OF CINEMA: Classics illustrated

THE HAUNTING PAST OF CINEMA: Classics illustrated

For those of us who are pay-per-view civilians, television is a kaleidoscope portal from the present (the Oscars, downtown Baghdad on a bad day) to the past (the History Channel), and sometimes into an imagined future (although heaven forbid it should be as po-faced as Stargate SG-1). The time-shift possibilities can be fun, but they are a...

Fatcat and Fishface: Birdbrain (Jayrem)

Fatcat and Fishface: Birdbrain (Jayrem)

This irreverent outfit who sing songs ostensibly for children but with major adult appeal, have appeared at Elsewhere previously with their very silly The Bestest and Most Horriblest Songs for Children. They are more Spike Milligan and Monty Python than Teletubbies and Play School. This one is aimed rather further up the kiddie demographic...

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

On New Zealand's national Poetry Day in 2004 a television news team buttonholed people on the street and asked them to recite a piece of poetry. One guy did an impromptu local variant of Spike Milligan's Silly Old Baboon. By coincidence, that very day a letter writer to the New Zealand Herald expressed outrage about the artist et.al...

THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO a film by JAMES L. WALCOTT (1958) (Triton DVD)

THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO a film by JAMES L. WALCOTT (1958) (Triton DVD)

Everyone is allowed their guilty secrets when it comes to bad movies: I have an unnatural affection for Zardoz (Sean Connery in the future somewhere) and The Long Ships (in which Sidney Poitier seems to swim from somewhere Moorish to the land of the Vikings). These are stupid but fun and allow you plenty of couchtime to add up the continuity...

Peter Sellers; The Trumpet Volunteer (1958)

Peter Sellers; The Trumpet Volunteer (1958)

There has been a long tradition of mocking the pretentions of rock and pop singers, which isn't that hard. Many of them take themselves very seriously. When National Lampoon for example got stuck into a Pink Floyd-like musician who wanted to create a massive rock opera (on their '75 album Goodbye Pop, helmed by Christopher Guest of Spinal...

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

As Nick Tosche revealed in his remarkable biography Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, Dean Martin didn't have to try hard at anything: he was good looking, could sing whatever was put in front of him, was a natural straight man and comedian, and he'd just turn up on a movie set and do his lines with charm, ease and utter...

Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring (1965)

Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring (1965)

The offspring of Hollywood were just as swept up in Beatlemania as anyone. The two sons of comedian Soupy Sales -- Hunt and Tony, drums and bass respectively -- were in Tony and the Tigers who appeared on Hullabaloo and had a couple of records out . . . although went on to more interesting things later when they joined Todd Rundgren, Iggy...

Ian Dury: Razzle in My Pocket (1977)

Ian Dury: Razzle in My Pocket (1977)

With Will Birch's biography and the film of his life Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll (Andy Serkis as Ian), there was something of a revival and re-appreciation of Ian Dury recently, a bit more than a decade after his death at age 57. Dury came to the punk era as someone more than a decade older than most performers, and he had considerable...

IMMODESTY BLAIZE presents BURLESQUE UNDRESSED (EMI DVD)

IMMODESTY BLAIZE presents BURLESQUE UNDRESSED (EMI DVD)

Well, if you can have an Olympic event on the parallel bars, why not on a vertical bar -- especially when many thousands of people across the world are dedicated to it. So why not pole dancing as demonstation sport at the next Olympics leading to official recognition as sport thereafter? Well, here is why not. Pole dancing is, like, just...

Stan Freberg: The Old Payola Roll Blues (1960)

Stan Freberg: The Old Payola Roll Blues (1960)

While British commentators congratulate their culture on its history of comedy and satire (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, David Frost, Peter Cook, Monty Python et al) they conspiciously fail to note that America had a similar, but often darker and more biting, tradition. Stan Freberg was -- although at the time of this writing he is still...

Hayseed Dixie: Killer Grass (Cooking Vinyl)

Hayseed Dixie: Killer Grass (Cooking Vinyl)

You might have thought the Hayseed Dixie joke -- a band from the fanciful Deer Lick Holler playing bluegrass treatments of (mostly) rock songs, interviewed here -- would have run its course by now. But eight albums in they are still going. And of course it is still kinda fun: here they knock off Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody), Black Sabbath,...

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

Before they got into movies like Animal House and the Vacation series (with Chevy Chase), National Lampoon was a satirical magazine which also delivered a very funny sideline in records such as Lemmings (which skewered Woodstock). One of their funniest albums, but hard to find unfortunately as it doesn't appear to be on CD reissue anywhere,...

Age of Consent: Fight Back Rap (1983)

Age of Consent: Fight Back Rap (1983)

Who said the gay power movement lacked humour? Quite the opposite in fact, and humour is a powerful weapon. This one-off appeared on the Harvey Kubernick-curated double album English as a Second Language in 1983 on Freeway Records, another in his series of recordings of poets and spoken word artists from LA which included people like Jeffrey...

Alfred E Neuman: It's a Gas (1963)

Alfred E Neuman: It's a Gas (1963)

There's the widely held if rather snooty view that fart noises and belching are only amusing to adolescent boys. This rather ignores the obvious: that there will always be adolescent boys, and even more people who have been adolescent boys. Which perhaps explains the enduring if low appeal of this outing by Mad magazine's Alfred E Neuman....

CLEOPATRA; HISTORIES, DREAMS AND DISTORTIONS by LUCY HALLETT-HUGHES

CLEOPATRA; HISTORIES, DREAMS AND DISTORTIONS by LUCY HALLETT-HUGHES

It seems curious that Madonna, who has had the unerring instinct to reinvent herself in the image and iconography of others (yesterday Marlene, today Marilyn) has never – at least not yet – alighted on Cleopatra for inspiration and a new dress code. Here, at least in myth, is a wannabe seductress and style-setter for...

CORNER GAS; SEASON THREE (Madman DVD)

CORNER GAS; SEASON THREE (Madman DVD)

Does Canada make the most consistently interesting but largely unseen television programmes? Possibly: any country which can give the world The Beachcombers (filmed in quaint Gibsons and sold to 50 countries in the Seventies) and also the very droll Corner Gas (sold to considerably fewer) gets my vote as a nation which has found its points...

Lou and Simon: Converted Maori Car (1965?)

Lou and Simon: Converted Maori Car (1965?)

Lou and Simon (Lou Clauson and Simon Meihana) were one of the most popular and entertaining groups of the early Sixties. Like the Flight of the Conchords they were a kind of folk-comedy duo and very adept at parodies. The other side of this single is a medley which pokes fun at Les Andrews' then-current song Click Go the Tollgates (itself a...

SPINAL TAP, NIGEL TUFNEL INTERVIEWED (1992): The wind cries Spinal

SPINAL TAP, NIGEL TUFNEL INTERVIEWED (1992): The wind cries Spinal

Rock history is littered with legendary bands, some more legendary than others. Some of these legends will live for ever, others even longer. But there is one rock hand which stands above all others, the most legendary of all legends. It is, in a word, Spinal Tap. The story of Spinal Tap is now part of rock’s rich tapestry, an...

Anna Russell: Folk Songs (1952)

Anna Russell: Folk Songs (1952)

With her beautifully modulated tones and remarkable voice -- which went from a soprano squeal to a screech quite effortlessly -- Anna Russell was an enormously popular comedy-cum-classical act in the Fifties. She would poke fun at Wagner and contemporary classical music equally: of the latter she said it was music for the singer who was tone...

Groucho Marx: Churchill, Chicago critics (1972)

Groucho Marx: Churchill, Chicago critics (1972)

The great Groucho has been so often copied (Alan Alda, Welcome Back Kotter etc) and parodied down the decades we forget how irreverent he was in his day. By the time of this recording however he was an old man and just five years away from his death at 86. Yet remarkably he undertook this stand-up show at Carnegie Hall and other venues where...

I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH, a film by JEFF GARLIN (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH, a film by JEFF GARLIN (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

If Seinfeld introduced the idea of a television show about nothing in particular, then the series Curb Your Enthusiasm -- written by and starring Seinfeld producer/writer Larry David -- elevated it to an art form. Although some of Curb Your Enthusiasm had a long arc of storylines, much of each episode was taken up with what seemed like not much...

Mel Brooks: To Be Or Not To Be; The Hitler Rap (1984)

Mel Brooks: To Be Or Not To Be; The Hitler Rap (1984)

Very few people -- and arguably only Jewish comedians? -- can get away with making fun of Hitler and the Nazis. Mel Brooks has been relentless in his ridicule which some find tasteless and others say is a necessary corrective. Whichever way you cut it, it is dark humour which Brooks makes seem genuinely funny. By way of comparison, is...

Tiny Tim: We Love It/When I Walk With You (1968)

Tiny Tim: We Love It/When I Walk With You (1968)

If you were there at the time, Tiny Tim was novelty act: the long-haired eccentric with a ukulele singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips in an impossibly high falsetto. But that was the late Sixties for you, a time when the retro sound of Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band and I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith could...

Ronnie Ronalde: If I Were a Blackbird (1950)

Ronnie Ronalde: If I Were a Blackbird (1950)

Roger Whittaker does it, and so does Bryan Ferry when he sings John Lennon's Jealous Guy. They whistle on stage, which isn't the easiest thing to do -- least of all if, as with Roxy Music playing in Auckland earlier this year, it's a breezy night and the wind is in your face. Whistling was once a commonplace and every now and again in the...

Atlanta Rhythm Section: Imaginary Lover (1979)

Atlanta Rhythm Section: Imaginary Lover (1979)

There's no real reason for this particular installment of From the Vaults other than the sheer silliness of it. The trick here is to look at the video clip first before you play the sample track: what you get is singer Ronnie Hammond up front of the Atlanta Rhythm Section who were a band of seasoned session musicians pulled together...

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

When he died, Time ran an eight-page tribute and put him on the cover with a simple tag-line: “Francis Albert Sinatra 1915 – 1998”. They might have added “The Voice”, “Old Blue Eyes”, “He Did It His Way” or some other catch-phrase, but none could have encompassed the complexity of...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (Sub Pop)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (Sub Pop)

Writing parody songs is harder than it seems -- one Neil Young is possible but then try for Neil Diamond, the Bee Gees, Hendrix etc. Yet the Flight of the Conchords accomplish it with what seems an effortlessness, which just shows how smart they are. This album was given a major review at Elsewhere on release (here) so we needn't go over the...

Stan Freberg: Rock Island Line (1956)

Stan Freberg: Rock Island Line (1956)

Because a parody only works if you know the original it might be useful to check out the video clip here (kinda cute in its own way) before playing American comedian Freberg's poke at it. The original of Rock Island Line was by Leadbelly in the Thirties but Donegan's version of 1955 was emblematic of the skiffle era in Britain where young...

FleaBITE: In Your Ear (Jayrem)

FleaBITE: In Your Ear (Jayrem)

Everyone is allowed to have fun, right? Which is why Elsewhere sometimes includes bizarre or just plain stupid stuff when it pulls From the Vaults. And also why we posted the Fatcat and Fishface album for kids (C'mon, tell me that isn't Yoko Ono on the posted track). And that is also why we are posting this by FleaBITE -- from the Fatcat...

ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS SHARKTOPUS, directed by DECLAN O'BRIEN (Anchor Bay DVD)

ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS SHARKTOPUS, directed by DECLAN O'BRIEN (Anchor Bay DVD)

Some years ago in this interview the master of B-grade flicks Roger Corman admitted that these days he often just thought up the title and let other directors flesh out the actual film. Hence Dinocroc. And of course, Dinocroc 2. Which also explains this amusingly low budget affair ("Half-shark. Half-octopus. All killer") in...

Ennio Morricone: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

Ennio Morricone: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

The relationship between some movie directors and composers is so close that it is hard to imagine certain films without their soundtracks: Hitchcock had Bernard Herrmann's gripping scores for Psycho and North by Northwest and others; Werner Herzog with the German avant-rock band Popul Vuh providing the eerie music to Aguirre, Wrath of God and...

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