Boy, what a week! Last thing I heard, planes had spotted debris in the South Pacific! Big deal! I can look in my refrigerator and spot da provolone, da mozzarella, and de Brie!
Folks, I only kid. There’s nothing funny about air disasters. Why, it seems like only yesterday that a private plane crash in California’s San Rafael Mountains tragically ended the life of two of our greatest and goofiest second-generation funnymen, Red Buttons Jr. and Leander “L’il Doodles” Weaver. It happened back in ’88: these two up-an’-comers had rented a plane to take them from State Line, Nevada, (where they had been performing with fellow celebrity scions Frankie Laine Jr. and Lou Costello Jr.) to the yearly Chabad Telethon in Hollywood (Red Jr. and L’il Doodles weren’t performing – they were just manning the phones, something they were doing to spit-shine their image after they infamously made some off-color jokes about Rebbe Manachem Mendel Schneerson). But if L’il Doodles was still with us, I know what he’d say…
“I’m not sayin’ my date last night was reluctant to put out, but she went down slower than Malaysian Airlines 370.”
…And that’s because ol’ Leander could find humor in anything, and believed any situation could be brightened by a smile. So, folks, if you are offended by these jokes, write my lawyer, L. Ike I. Giveadamn, Esq. But seriously, I want to pay tribute to the “laugh at anything” spirit of Leander Weaver, and that’s why I’m barbequein’ these rib-ticklers. Leander had a hard life: despite having a famous dad (and an even better known relatives – L’il Doodles’ uncle was television pioneer Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, and his first cousin was actress Sigourney Weaver!), Leander suffered from a rare condition called male galactorrhea; in other words, his breasts produced milk. This condition first manifested in Junior High, so you can imagine what a living hell gym class was for Leander. This rare disorder plagued him his whole life; not only did Leander give milk, he gave it prodigiously, and it was not uncommon for him to have to change shirts six or eight times a day. In addition, the small “pinky” toes on each of Leander’s feet had fused to the adjacent “ring finger” toe, causing Leander to walk with a very peculiar gait – he would begin a step on the “toe” of his foot, as opposed to the heel. Most people assumed Leander walked that way for comic effect; but he did not, my friends, and due to this strange gait, by the time he was 25, he had the shins of an 80 year old. Oh, and he had one wandering eye, the result of a rather well-organized albeit shameful assault he suffered at the hands of the girl’s volleyball team in 10th Grade. I suppose it was all these adversities that made Leander Weaver want to make people laugh – the louder he could make them laugh with him, the less he would hear them laugh at him.
I still remember where I was when I heard that Leander had died (I really didn’t give a crap about Red Jr. – he was a nasty piece of work, though he did a great routine about the Wilbur Mills and Fannie Fox scandal): after a hard day at The Bugle covering the fallout from Geraldo Rivera’s groundbreaking reports on the conditions at Willowbrook, I had plopped down in the Barcalounger with a pitcher of cool Rob Roys to my left and a Swanson’s Salisbury Steak Dinner on the TV tray in front of me. I had flicked on the Motorola and I was trying to decide between Alias Smith and Jones on Channel 2 or Me and the Chimp on Channel 7. Then a bulletin came on TV…
WAIT. That’s what I was doing when I heard that Alabama Governor and Presidential Candidate George Wallace had been shot! Damn. L’il Doodles and Red Jr.’s plane didn’t go down until 16 years later. Dammit. Percodan is a cruel mistress, my friends. It leaves holes in your memory bigger than the questions the grieving families must have about the REAL fate of the passengers on Flight 370. If only my friend Artemis Kenyon was here to solve the mystery! But that’s another story, and maybe I’ll tell it to you sometime. Wait…I told it to you last week, didn’t I? My god, Jerry Lewis told me this would happen. Or was it Bernice Massi? Man, she was hotter than a three-dollar pistol, yes she was. She put the “Broad” in Broadway. When I was a kid in Little Neck I had a dog named Duke, named after Duke Snider, and I once saw Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors buying a Chevy Impala at a car dealership on Northern Boulevard. My friends used to call me Johnny Ringo because I would never stop talking about that TV show. What was I talking about again?
Mr. Remarkable is indisposed, and has asked me, his nurse, to think of ‘stuff’ to put into something called…THE THREE-DOT ROUND UP! Boy, there was a long line at CVS today – two of the automated checkout machines were broken! …Boy, if you like pizza, Brooklyn is the right place to live!…Stephanie, she’s the lady who does dispatch at the car service company my brother works at, she says her boyfriend was an extra in that picture The Wolf of Wall Street…wait…Mr. Remarkable says “You’re doin’ a crappier job than Pia Lindstrom” (whatever that means) so he wants me to just write down exactly what he says…I’ll tell ya that Joey Heatherton didn’t have much in the chesticles department, but her tush was firmer than the first tee at Augusta…I don’t know about you, but I still turn on the TV late on Sunday night expectin’ to see The George Michael Sports Machine…Burns ain’t nothin’ without Schrieber and Schreiber ain’t nothing without Burns, those two lovely kids really ought to give it another go…the other day I was standing on Montague Street and someone came up to me and asked me where “Stan’s Church” was!…AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVIN’ IN BROOKLYN!
(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are very much his own)
Tim Sommer has achieved some small degree of note as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive. He is currently writing a book titled Eddie Deezen: The Thinking Man’s Sammy Petrillo (and the role of other Lewis Manqués in the Culture of Hollywood), and he continues his efforts to get the New York Mets to permanently rename the Third Base Coaching Box at CitiField after Ed Yost.