Thoughts on the Python Reunion (and the Beatles)

By |2014-08-08T09:56:33-07:00August 7, 2014|Breakup, comedy, Monty Python|

Just got back from watching Monty Python Live (Mostly), the filmed record of the Python reunion concerts performed at London’s O2 Theatre last month. It was — and I say this as someone who bought the expensive tickets primarily out of affection — a ball, a delight; if you can see it, go see it. The two and a half hours flew by; I laughed a lot, and even got a little choked up there at the end. I’m so glad I’ve lived at the same time as Monty Python. (A shaky fan video of their farewell — "Always Look on the [...]

The Beatles on Stella Street

By |2014-07-14T12:08:29-07:00July 14, 2014|comedy|

The Beatles on Stella Street? Yes, indeed -- although I don't think impressionists Phil Cornwell and John Sessions' hearts are in those impressions. It's not John and Paul, but the idea of John and Paul. (George and Ringo are even sketchier, and Yoko...aiyiyi.) When they do people like Richard Burton, Michael Caine, or Larry Olivier (I can call him that because we share a driving instructor -- really), there's much more precision and juice there. Thanks, Buck Turgidson, for this bit of Beatle comedy from BBC2.

Michael Caine Impressions

By |2014-07-03T22:06:11-07:00July 7, 2014|comedy, Swinging London|

Doing impressions of Michael Caine, Swinging London institution and drinking buddy of John Lennon, has become a bit of a cottage industry in Great Britain. The slow-burning meme was kicked off (apparently) by comedy great and drinking buddy of Ringo Starr Peter Sellers in 1974...And I agree: for reasons I don't quite understand, I can't get enough Michael Caine impressions. Hear for yourself, but be warned -- they're addictive.

The Fab Files, Pt. 2: Beatle Traces in the Mid-Atlantic Conference

By |2014-04-05T06:25:09-07:00April 5, 2014|1969, alternate history, Beatle-inspired, Beatles fiction, comedy, Fab Files, Paul Is Dead (PID), Paul McCartney|

“We’ve never seen the body.But we know he’s there.” DEVIN McKINNEY  •  Having written about the McCartney death rumor in Magic Circles, I knew that campus papers in the Middle West and Near East were the seedbed of the whole thing. For several weeks in the autumn of 1969, student editors, reviewers, lit majors, and budding gag-writers scrambled to co-opt, rip off, outdo, or otherwise find their place on the bandwagon begun by University of Michigan student Fred LaBour’s seminal satire-dissertation, “McCartney Dead? New Evidence Brought to Light,” printed in the Michigan Daily of October 14. Lately I’ve been researching [...]

Will the Real Mr. Sellers Please Stand Up?

By |2014-01-10T21:20:56-08:00January 10, 2014|1969, comedy|

Sellers, ready for his close-up MIKE GERBER • Devin's post earlier this regarding the "film merde" of Ringo Starr couldn't help but bring to mind Ringo's most accomplished co-star, Peter Sellers. Sellers is one of my favorites, as he seems to be for a lot of Beatlepeople; as with Monty Python, there's a lot of overlap between him and the Fabs, as much or more than any musical group: The Goon Show, his Beatles covers, the Peter Sellers Tape, The Magic Christian. All four Beatles were fans, but weren't close; nobody, it seems, was close with Peter Sellers. I recall [...]

Starrtime: Defining Moments from Ringo’s non-Beatle movies (1)

By |2015-10-21T20:19:44-07:00January 7, 2014|1960s, 1968, alternate history, comedy, Film merde, Psychedelia, Ringo, Ringo movies, Ringo Starr|

The two dozen or so films Ringo Starr has made outside of the Beatles may constitute, more than any other legacy, a hefty bequest to the genre known unofficially as film merde. In spite or perhaps because of this, a surprising number of the all-star extravaganzas that make use of our favorite drummer’s amenable presence and recognizable nose have generated cults of some size (at least, if you believe Internet commentators who themselves, rather than stating existing facts, may merely be hoping to originate such cults). If nothing else, some of them offer a window on that passage in cultural history when, [...]

Introducing…The Beach Pals!

By |2014-12-30T21:27:04-08:00August 29, 2013|comedy|

From the wonderful site LiarTownUSA (h/t Jonathan Schwarz). Don't go there unless you want to lose two hours, minimum. I wonder if anyone's done a whole Pet Sounds parody album? Mr. Innes, your agent is on line one. I think they cover "Fiper in the Body."

He’s at it again

By |2013-08-01T22:34:15-07:00June 29, 2013|comedy|

This month, I wrote two introductory essays—one for Harold Lloyd's 1923 film Safety Last! (see here), the other for Russell Hoban's 1975 novel Turtle Diary. I give a nod to the Beatles in each. In Bookforum, Brian Gittis takes up the book-compared-to-music thread that I put in my Hoban intro.   In his introduction to the New York Review's reissue of Russell Hoban's oddball 1975 novel Turtle Diary, Ed Park characterizes the book as a sort of literary cousin to the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby." It's a humble tale of urban loneliness, quotidian in flavor—which makes it an anomaly in Hoban's large, very strange, [...]

BBC Arena: "Magical Mystery Tour Revisited"

By |2022-07-08T06:04:53-07:00October 18, 2012|1967, comedy, Magical Mystery Tour|

The Beatles relaxing during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour, 1967. Oh my god, I enjoyed this documentary on "Magical Mystery Tour." I think you will, too. As I watched the clips, I was reminded of both The Running Jumping Standing Still Film and The Bed-Sitting Room, among other things. MMT uses the same homely vernacular you see in everything from Spike Milligan to The Pythons, and twists it in a lot of the same ways. While it's old hat to compare MMT to Buñuel and the underground, it's maybe fairer (and more interesting) to place it astride the meandering line of British humor as [...]

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