Saturday, December 01, 2007

Feast of Saint Zeppo

This week we commemorate the passing of Herbert Manfred Marx, best known as Zeppo. He is the Comedist version of Saint Jude. Often called the funniest of the Marx Brothers off-stage, in the act he was the straight man, always setting up the jokes, but never making them. Indeed, he even starred as the love interest in "Horse Feathers."

In admiration and recognition of his fine and necessary work, good brother Hanno sends this message:

An organization known as the Society for the Prevention of Abuse to Zeppo (SPAZ) has arisen to highlight the importance of Zeppo to the act.

"There is a common assumption that Zeppo = Zero, which this scene does its best to contradict. Groucho dictating a letter to anybody else would hardly be cause for rejoicing. We have to believe that someone will be there to accept all his absurdities and even respond somewhat in kind before things can progress free from conflict into this genial mishmash. Groucho clears his throat in the midst of his dictation, and Zeppo asks him if he wants that in the letter. Groucho says, 'No, put
it in the envelope.' Zeppo nods. And only Zeppo could even try such a thing as taking down the heading and the salutation and leaving out the letter because it didn't sound important to him. It takes a Marx Brother to pull something like that on a Marx Brother and get away with it."

In honor of straightmen everywhere (even those who are neither straight nor men), happy day of Saint Zeppo.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve