“He Touched Me” sure was a popular theme back in the day. I had no idea it was this popular, though. Whoever this “He” is—if that is, in fact, his real name—he apparently touched just about everybody. This asshole knew no boundaries either, whether it be male, female, adult, child, the elderly, couples and even… entire families, he’d touch ‘em! These album covers are heartbreaking cries for help. Why didn’t anyone pay attention?!
Here’s a visual guide to show you just how many people He has “touched.” F*ck this guy!
Probably the most hazardous double act to appear on TV during the 1980s was the aptly named Dangerous Brothers—a frenetic pairing created and performed by Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. Mayall was the pretentious but sycophantic Richie Dangerous and Ade was the gullible yet blase Sir Adrian Dangerous.
The act was an offshoot of their original pairing in 20th Century Coyote. The Dangerous Brothers carried on with the same kind over the top violent slapstick they made famous through Rik and Vyvyan in The Young Ones and later as Richard “Richie” Rich and Edward “Eddie” Elizabeth Hitler in Bottom.
Mayall and Edmondson first met at Manchester University where both were studying drama. According to Mayall their introduction was across a crowded classroom:
It was our first lecture and the professor swept in with his flowing hair and gown and I stood up because that’s what I’d been taught at school. No one else did. And this one bloke – with long hair and John Lennon glasses and a fag in his hand and his f-ing feet on the table – just laughed at me and said, “Tosser!” That was Ade.
Maybe I always wanted to be as cool as him. Maybe that’s why I took great satisfaction in him going bald. He was always so strong and quick and self-assured. I wanted him to be my friend. I got a 2:2 in the end, which Ade won’t f-ing shut up about because he got a 2:1.
The pair shared a similar taste in cartoon comedy (Roadrunner) with a large dash of Python and a twist of Tommy Cooper. They became involved with the improvisational theater group 20th Century Coyote which soon became just Rik and Ade. By the late 1970s, they were part of the new roster of stars appearing at London’s Comedy Store. Together with Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer (The Outer Limits), Arnold Brown and French & Saunders, they set up The Comic Strip—the foundation stone of Britain’s Alternative Comedy, blah-de-bloody-blah…
Anyhow…after conquering the known universe with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall and Edmondson returned to the small screen with The Dangerous Brothers. They appeared on a UK version of Saturday Night LIve—imaginatively titled Saturday Live in 1985. Compered by comic in a shiny jacket Ben Elton, Saturday Live hosted “a veritable Who’s Who of Alternative Comedy.” Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Morwenna Banks, Harry Enfield, Craig Ferguson and even Emo Phillips all appeared, along with too many others to mention. However, one of the highlights, nay, the highlight of the series was Richie and Sir Adrian Dangerous.
While the bulk of the show was broadcast live Mayall and Edmondson’s insert sketch as The Dangerous Brothers was previously recorded. Thankfully as it would turn out. For in their opening skit Rik set fire to Ade with near fatal consequences—as Edmondson later recalled:
I did set myself very badly on fire in a Dangerous Brothers sketch. They put this special gel on my legs, which was only supposed to go up to my knees, but I must have been feeling particularly confident that day because I told them to go all the way to the groin. I said, “If the flames come too high, I’ll shout out the special emergency code word.” The trouble was I forgot the word, so they let me burn like kindling.
Mayall was supposed to set Edmondson alight for the sketch “The Towering Inferno”—the title gives a big clue. But as the flames took hold no one noticed “that Sir Adrian’s convincingly pained expression was because the flames had started burning through his protective clothing.” Just before Edmondson was engulfed in flames, the filming stopped and the fire extinguished. Yet like real pros, they kept the fire in the final edited package… Edmondson’s legs were badly burnt and his eyebrows singed. Don’t try this at home….
More manic mayhem from the Dangerous Brothers, after the jump…
Recently a meme has been passed around on social media purporting to be a stuffed plushie with actual children’s teeth sewn inside its mouth. Click here to read it. I’m seeing it everywhere and yes people are falling for this. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. What you’re actually looking is a stuffed toy called a Fuggler. It’s a toy that sports human-looking teeth. And not actual kids’ teeth for Pete’s sake! Fake teeth!
Of course this meme is being spread faster than a photoshopped pic of Obama with a bone through his nose via a Tea party mailing list…
Former half term-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was in the news twice last week—with her assertion that President Barack Obama is the reason why her son, Track, hits women, and with her endorsement of GOP presidential hopeful Donald J. “I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” Trump.
Her bizarre, rambling, right-wing-talking-point word salad endorsement of Trump has been cleverly used as source material for a short 26-second video featuring Looney Tunes’ popular angry cowboy, Yosemite Sam. The edit syncs quite well and leaves no question that Palin, herself, is essentially a cartoon character.
The ‘80s actually started in November of 1980, when doddering, happy-talking lawbreaker Ronald Reagan rather brutally defeated Jimmy Carter’s bid for re-election. Culturally, that event was the final nail in the coffin of what remained of late ‘60s counterculture (they put a lot of those nails there themselves, to be fair), and politically it marked the dawn of the vulgarian/reactionary empowerment that still poses an existential threat to the country.
They were far from the only ones to see Reagan’s rise as doom for the left and the man himself as the fourth horseman of the twilight of the hippies, but ABC’s live late night sketch show Fridays did a spectacularly hilarious job of addressing it.
Fridays, it its day, was seen as a weak attempt at catching the lightning in a bottle that was Saturday Night Live—sort of an early ‘80s Mad TV, except Fridays was actually funny. In the rear-view it holds up pretty admirably, as it often went even edgier than classic SNL. In three seasons starting in the spring of 1980, Fridays kicked off the careers of Rich Hall, Larry David, and—you can’t win ‘em all—Michael Richards. And in the wake of the Reagan election, the show’s writers and cast pulled of an extraordinary stunt: an ambitious 20 minute sketch, performed live, parodying both the incoming Reagan administration AND The Rocky Horror Picture Show!
The sketch stars Richards as Brad, and Janet duties fell to the wonderful Melanie Chartoff, who’s best known now for voice acting in kid’s cartoons. It imports VP-elect George H.W. Bush into the Riff Raff role, played by Mark Blankfield, who was the show’s breakout star at the time. John Roarke handles Reagan/Frank N. Furter duties, and Larry David…well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to ruin that one for you, it’s pretty fucking great. Paralleling Dr. Furter’s creation of ultimate sexual boy-toy Rocky, Reagan here endeavors to create the perfect conservative, but it doesn’t go as planned. The sketch was well-written and pretty superbly executed for a 20-minute live extravaganza with musical numbers, and it nails all of its marks but one—it ends optimistically. But it does offer a prescient warning to posterity in this dialogue exchange between Richards and Chartoff:
Janet: Oh Brad! Don’t you see what these people are doing? These people are…
Brad: Janet, relax! This is a great chance to have an intelligent conversation with these right wingers!
Tom Baker is an actor, writer, wit, bon viveur and raconteur. He is best known as the fourth Doctor Who—if not the best Doctor Who. Tom Baker has one of the most recognizable voices on the planet. His sonorous tones can be heard on innumerable voice-overs, adverts and hit TV shows like Little Britain.
Baker is adored by millions. And there are many who believe Tom Baker walks on water and turns it into wine. For them, Tom Baker is a god.
Thankfully, Mr. Baker doesn’t disabuse such people of this opinion. Why should he spoil their fun? But even gods have an off day especially when dealing with idiots. How do we know this? Well, take a listen to this delightfully amusing recording of Baker discussing the merits and demerits of a voice-over script for some advertising jingle and all will become apparent. I won’t spoil it by quoting some of his choice phrases, but suffice to say it becomes quickly known that Mr. Baker is right about everything. Which will be further proof of his godlike status—for only gods are ineffably right.
A fuzzy MTV clipmaking the rounds advertises the 1991 “SACRIFICE YOUR DAUGHTER TO GWAR!!!” contest, and it’s so good that it might give the very young a mistaken impression of what MTV’s programming used to be like. In fact, before that terrible Ugly Kid Joe song came out, the network showed almost nothing but the videos for “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Silent Lucidity,” “More Than Words” and “Every Little Step.” In other words, it was a fat, sad sack of shit, and you would have been waiting a long time if you were waiting for Downtown Julie Brown to cue up live video of GWAR doing “Sick of You” in Antarctica. No, the GWAR contest was not part of MTV’s regular programming, but a sketch on the network’s best original show to date, The Idiot Box.
Even if he had never achieved fame as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in the Bill & Ted series (part three now in the works!)—even if he was not currently slated to write and direct the official documentary about the life and work of Frank Zappa—Alex Winter would still be deserving of two Kennedy Center awards, a statue in every town square and a place in every American heart, because he is the director of the Butthole Surfers’ immortal Bar-B-Que Movie, for which John Ford would have gladly schlupped out both his and John “Duke” Wayne’s prostate glands and let them splat upon the floor, proclaiming, as he prised out both organs with one fluid motion of two callused hands, that’s cash on the barrelhead, son. Nor do Winter’s contributions to our culture end there.
Bar-B-Que Movie surfaced in 1989 on the first (and only?) issue of Impact Video Magazine, directed by Winter and his frequent collaborator Tom Stern. (The pair met as film students at NYU, where they directed the short Squeal of Death.) I haven’t seen much of Impact, but the roster is unimpeachable; along with the Buttholes short, the video included interviews with Public Enemy and Robert Williams, comedy from Bill Hicks, and footage of Survival Research Labs. Armed with this small triumph and the success of the first Bill & Ted movie, Winter and Stern scored a sketch show on MTV: the six-episode run of The Idiot Box.
Though some of the show’s references are now ancient, it holds up quite well on its own. What is hard to communicate is how demented, sick and bad it seemed in the context of the time. Back then, some citizens complained that The Simpsons was obscene and harmful to children, and the vice president of the country inveighed against the corrupting influence of a sitcom for the elderly called Murphy Brown. It was in this inhospitable cultural environment that Eddie the Flying Gimp took wing. Who can say how much higher he might have soared in friendly skies? (This analogy falls apart because Eddie the Flying Gimp is from outer space, but I had a long day and I did my best.)
Hideous Mutant Freekz: Alex Winter and Tom Stern on the cover of the June 1993 issue of Film Threat
After The Idiot Box, Winter and Stern co-directed their gut-busting first feature, Hideous Mutant Freekz, released as Freaked in 1993. Twenty-three years on, I have yet to meet the person to whom I would not recommend this movie. Visit the Freekland channel on YouTube for more Winter and Stern video madness. (The first episode of The Idiot Box is here.) And even if you never got a chance to be baptized by Oderus’ body fluids in person like I did, you can still purify your soul with days of long-formGWARvideos.
Below, in the last episode of The Idiot Box, the GWAR contest appears at 1:43:
The good people at Welcome To Twin Peaks have shared a wonderful web widget with which you can kill some quality time today—”David Lynch Doodle.” It’s a caricature of Lynch (who turns 70 today) with his epic haircut lopped off, and you get to draw it in, with eleven simulated brushes to choose from. (While you justly make fun of my shitty efforts, bear in mind that I went to art school. And graduated. In lots of debt.)
That the music underground is so engaged with Bernie Sanders’ worker-friendly, anti-1% presidential campaign comes as no surprise—punk and left politics have always been extremely comfortable bedfellows (sorry not sorry Michale Graves), and it’s a big plus that Sanders’ oppositional candidacy is being run within one of the mainstream parties, and thus won’t serve as a potential election spoiler like the Nader insurgency that ultimately spelled disaster for both the Green Party and the USA. Last autumn, we at Dangerous Minds told you about Berned in DC, a Facebook group producing image macros of the candidate paired with invented quotations that mirrored hardcore scene purism, to utterly hilarious effect. Today, our task is to show you the work of L.A. artist Mark Mendez and Portland printer Rob Campbell, who’ve created a wonderful series of Sanders shirts based on well-known punk band logos. In an interview with Visual News, the pair offered:
It’s hard to think of Bernie as “punk rock” by his appearance alone. He’s a 74-year-old, white, veteran politician from Vermont. But his ideals are what make him the most punk rock candidate who ever ran for office. He’s been speaking about economic inequality, civil rights, and antiestablishment politics for over four decades. It is people like us who do what we can to support his campaign and raise awareness about who he is, what he stands for, and how we the people can make a difference.
They’ve named the t-shirt line “Bern the White House” (simply brilliant—how has nobody used that before now?), and the shirts can be bought from the pair’s Etsy shop or from bernthewhitehouse.com. The profits from the sales will of course benefit the Sanders campaign up to the amount legally permitted for individual contributions, after which proceeds will go to “Bernie-friendly charities and grassroots organizations.”
Here’s a short video of a chef getting caught cutting a line of coke on a daytime Slovakian TV show. I’m betting the camera guy had a lot of answering to do after that shot. Not the chef. He looks like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.