Friday, February 2, 2018


johnny optimism, medical, humor, sick, jokes, boy, wheelchair, doctors, hospital, stilton jarlsberg, art therapy, painting, smock, steve allen

If you're under 65 or so, there's very little chance you'll get this joke.

And while we're on the subject, Steve Allen was a freaking comic genius and a great man.


sergio said...

Steverino a composer, pianist, comedian and author ("How to be funny") who paved the way for late-night TV, taught the incomparable Johnny Carson the trade

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sergio- Yep, yep, and yep. Such a talented man - and by all accounts a genuinely nice guy.

Bobo the Hobo said...

Hi ho, Steverino!

Steve said...

I’m only 60, so I didn’t get the joke. But Steverino is one of the funniest and most talented ever. And my parents brilliantly named me after him.

Bruce Bleu said...

Steve, you're 60... Steve Allen was named in 1921... even if your name was George, you were named after him.
I met Steve Allen in Sherman Oaks California during the running of the movie The French Connection. Nice guy. Not full of the typical Hollywood ego. My uncle worked for him for a while. He told me Steve plays 100 instruments. According to IMDB he wrote 50 books and 7,400 songs. A talent when talent was "talent", not shock.

Bobo said...

My dad said he knew Steve, back in the day in Phoenix AZ, and played Ping Pong against him on occasions, saying Steve was a good player.

John Robert Mallernee said...

I'm seventy-two years old and, as a boy, remember watching Steve Allen on our family's black and white console television in our living room.

But, alas, I didn't get the joke.

mindful webworker said...

Bruce Bleu: "He told me Steve plays 100 instruments."

Including, of course, the bicycle (for four hands, with a young Frank Zappa).

I'm 2/3rds of a century, but Smock Smock goes over my head.

(I'll take that one:
"Well, the smock is supposed to go on your arms, not over your head!" rimshot)

TrickyRicky said...

@mindful webworker- I've been aware of Steve Allen, of course, but been a yuge Frank Zappa fan for decades. Thanks for the link to that incredible video!

JustaJeepGuy said...

I may have mentioned before that I once heard an interview Steve Allen did with the Firesign Theater guys. All seriousness aside, that was some funny stuff! I never got to hear/see as much Steve Allen as I'd like to have.

I read a story of one of his bits in the early days of the Tonight Show where he was out on the street with a huge salami. He flagged down a taxi, opened the back door and threw the salami in, told the cabbie "Grand Central Station--and STEP ON IT!" and the cab took off like a shot. I'd love to have seen that!

AuntJoy said...

I didn't get the joke, either. But we didn't get a TV until the mid-50s. I do remember watching Steve Allen if it was on the one channel we received. So what does SMOCK SMOCK refer to?

She’s A Beauty said...

Now THAT'S comedy, damnit!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- Okay, I knew the joke was going to be obscure...but obviously it was even more confusing than that! Basically, when Steve Allen would get the giggles doing his show (which happened delightfully often), he would flap his elbows like a bird and cry "Smock! Smock!"

Why? Because it was silly. And because it was funny. And yes, nonsensical. So I was just indulging in some nostalgia here, although I didn't mean to be the ONLY person who got the joke. Which, I suppose, means the joke's on me. Smock! Smock!

NVRick said...

I well remember 'smock smock'.
Those were the days when tv didn't have to be dirty to be funny.
Uncle Milty was also great on the Texaco Star Theater and I got great laughs from Ernie Kovacs (who left us too early). Who could forget the Nairobi Trio? And a real shame Edie was left so much in debt.
I recently turned 71, so some of these memories may be better than the actual events.
Jack Paar was a little too cerebral, but kept true to himself. Imagine one of the current late night 'comedians' fighting for the right to say "water closet". I sure can't.(Now, they go straight to the toilet, literally and figuratively.)
So many others, back then, like Jackie Gleason, Lucy, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca.
Many before color tv, much less HD and Ultra HD, but black and white was more than enough, because most of the comedy (except Lucy) was based in what they were saying.

Gee M said...

I remember how much I loved the Red Skelton Show, Dinah Shore, Uncle Milty, Jack Benny,and further down the road Bilko, The Life Of Riley, The Gale Storm Show, My Little Margie, and soon the sitcom showers with the likes Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and on and on...
I was a tadpole then, but loved Red and Milty and Jack (Rochester was hilarious); I remember little of jack Paar but his final show, I remember Johnny from years of watching, but the parents controlled the 3 channels we got.
"See the USA, in your Chevrolet! America's the greatest Land of all!" How badly would that go over nowadays?
Steve Allen was there, George Goebbels ("if it wasn't for electricity, we'd all be watching TV by candlelight."), George and Gracie...these guys were and still are FUNNY!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@NVRick & Gee M- Oh, what sweet memories this conversation has reawakened! When I watch some of those ancient shows today, it's amazing how well they hold up. Amazing, but not surprising - comedy was HARDER when the performers couldn't go for the cheap laugh or off color remark. And - oh yeah! - let's have a lot of shows do it LIVE.

Forget about nostalgia - those shows were just flat out better than most of what we've got today.

Similarly, I sometimes laugh at the notion of getting a 65-inch 4k television with 3D capability because so much of what we watch and enjoy is old black and white movies from Turner Classic Movies. Does anyone really want to argue that "The African Queen" would have been a better movie if they'd included a scene of nude humping between Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn? I think not. Back then, people knew how to tell a story - even a passionate story - and maintain a PG rating.