Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Feast of Saint Groucho

Brothers, Sisters, and Transgendered Comedists everywhere,

This weekend brings us one of the holiest days on the Comedist calendar, the feast day of the one and only Saint Groucho. Born Julius Marx into a family connected with vaudeville and a neighbors that included Erich Weiss (better known as Harry Houdini -- Chico wasn't the only Jew back then to pretend he was Italian), the brothers began a singing act. When they began to get silly on stage, they got better reactions and soon changed the act to comedy.

The nickname does not refer to a prickly personality, but was given during a fateful poker game when all the brothers received what would become their stage names, Groucho had his money in a grouch bag to keep it safe and so Julius became Groucho, a name that became synonymous with comedy, especially verbal ad-lib comedy.

While his most famous ad-lib is most likely apocryphal:

GROUCHO: "Why do you have so many children? That's a big responsibility and a big burden."

MRS. STORY: "Well, because I love my children and I think that's our purpose here on Earth, and I love my husband."

GROUCHO: "I love my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while."
there are so many others. My favorite involves the hefty hostess of a party Groucho attended, when some one made a joke about her weight, she replied indignantly that she thought she had a fine constitution. Groucho replied, "It isn't your constitution that we're worried about lady, it's all the amendments."

When he was denied membership to a swimming club because he was Jewish and the club was restricted, Groucho asked, "My son is only half-Jewish, can he go into the pool up to his waist?"

Of course, there is his famous "resignation" from the Friar's club, "I do not care to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

When asked what the country should do about Vietnam, he said, "We should pull out...which is what Nixon's father should have done."

Some other classics:
Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men, the other 999 follow women.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A man's only as old as the woman he feels.

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.

Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Here's to our wives and girlfriends... may they never meet!

I made a killing on Wall Street a few years ago...I shot my broker.

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
There is one thing the multiply divorced Groucho never said, though...On his deathbed, Groucho's final words were,
"Die, my dear? Why that's the last thing I'd do."
All praises be to his greatness, Saint Groucho.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve