January 29, 2011

Live From New York... It's a BatR Exclusive!

I don't know why I'm frantically throwing this blog entry together considering it's 32-year old news, but being the consummate broadcast journalist I am, I've got the innate fear that someone else may still beat me to it. I was just watching an old episode of Saturday Night Live on Netflix hosted by Milton Berle--Season Four, Episode 17, April 12, 1979. I'd read that his performance on the episode lead to his subsequent "banning" by Lorne Michaels, so I had to see for myself. 

His opening monologue was very old school--rapid fire self-deprecating one-liners and some jokes about black guys, Arabs, and Puerto Ricans. His set is briefly interrupted by a loud sound from backstage (courtesy Bill Murray). As it turns out, karma might have come back to bite Berle in a moment that I have not found addressed anywhere else on the internet. Yes folks, it's time for a Beauty and the RoBeast exclusive!

The premise for the skit is not especially hilarious--it's The Widettes (the big butt family) with Berle as the visiting uncle. He and Dan Aykroyd are planning an Easter egg hunt for the children (Gilda Radner and John Belushi). Here, they sit on the couch just before Aykroyd announcing to the family that the hunt is on.

Milton drools/smiles.

This may look like Milton Berle getting in on another one of those crazy early-day SNL orgies, but I can assure you it's just the young Widettes scrambling for eggs.

Uncle Miltie plops down on the couch while Dan "Zapruder" Aykroyd stays in the back watching the Widette joke play out. 
See, they're always bumping into things with their big butts, and for the first time all night, Berle is not babbling or mugging for the camera. 

Not only is he uncharacteristically quiet, he also looks like he's been shot from the grassy knoll. Gilda's found an egg, but Berle appears to have lost something important. 

It seems to me that Milton Berle has lost his false teeth, but I can't tell if it's a setup or if it was an unintentional accident. 

At this point, Berle actually slams his hands down on the coffee table and frightens Gilda into a split second of silence. He then desperately retreats back to the couch.  

As he sits back, something rolls into sight on the side of the couch. I know this is a jpg capture of a streaming video originally broadcast on network television in 1979, but I'm going to go ahead and assume it's dentures. 

His hand searches the couch a couple times though we never actually see it make contact with the object from the previous shot. Here, he is either jamming the dentures back into his mouth, pretending to jam dentures into his mouth, or just taking stock of what teeth are left.

He hides behind Gilda for a moment than starts saying his lines. I don't really see a mouthful of teeth here, but his dialog doesn't seem horribly affected. Still, the next shot is a very long, awkward, unnecessary solo shot of Aykroyd. It could be an excuse to keep Berle off camera while he gains his composure, or it could just be the lingering 70s camera style. 

After watching the clip about 50 times, I still can't figure if it was

  • the joke
  • an ad-libbed joke
  • actually his teeth falling out

I am reserving my laughter only for option three. Still, I implore you to watch the clip for yourself and tell me what you think happened (if you have Netflix streaming, use this link and skip t\o 14:40). Was it intentional or was it a celebrity tooth-oops? I may have to write a letter to Dan Aykroyd or Jane Curtin.

January 27, 2011

Keep Cool, NYC...

It's going to be a scorcher out there today!

[uneditor's note: the photo is unedited]

January 18, 2011

The Wizard of Idol

I've been seeing this American Idol billboard for a couple weeks now:

Today, it finally dawned on me what it reminds me of...


January 17, 2011

Bruno Mars Has His Hands Full of Destruction

When making my year-end list, I had trouble classifying Bruno Mars' "Grenade." I don't think it's a good song, but I also can't turn it off when it's on (which is all the time).

If you didn't make it 30 seconds to the chorus, let me share with you the insane melodrama you missed:

I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya
I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But you won't do the same

The rhymes seem lifted from an elementary school crush poem, and they're delivered with a passionate straight face, but unfortunately, it seems devoid of irony. This, coming from a guy who was a co-writer of Cee-Lo Green's hugely effective "Fuck You," seems like a real shame. In the chorus of that song, the stereotypical poor, jealous, "pain in my chest" lyrics are decimated by a resounding twist: "Fuck you, and fuck her too!" In "Grenade," Bruno Mars ignores the opportunity to go WAY over the top with the chorus, and instead settles for repeating his generic ways of expressing masochistic machismo. Catching a grenade is fucking ridiculous, but it should really just be the jumping off point for something more awesome.

When I listen to the song, I like to imagine him taking things to the next level--same rhyme scheme, but with crazier non sequitur:

I'd catch a grenade for ya
Spray my apartment with Glade for ya
I'd change my name to Jermaine for ya
You know I'd eat yogurt plain for ya
I would drink Jim Jones' grape Flavor Aid
And blow the dust from your Nintendo Games
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But it wouldn't be the same.

Who knows? If he performed the song my way, maybe he would have taken the song even higher than #1. #0 possibly.

January 10, 2011

dwijus egg roll


I mean MMMMMM....

[on a side note, my new job is insanely hectic, so I have to autoschedule batches of BatR posts until I find more time. thanks.]