Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Because I Married a Yank....

Because I married a yank I've had to explore the cultural differences between us.  Let me explain at the outset that when I use the word yank instead of American, I do not mean that as an insult.  For us, it is merely a common slang term.  However, if he were to call me a mick, I'd be mad as hell. 

One of the ways we have sought to understand one another is through the exploration of the popular culture that existed during our respective formative years.  Today I'm going to talk about comedy.  Specifically comedy that was, for us, underground at the time we were exposed to it.  We were both born in the 1960's so bear that in mind when you listen to the video clips. 

Our definition of underground comedy is limited to albums, specifically those albums that were considered too offensive to be broadcast on the telly and were only available to us via a friend or through that "cool aunt" who enjoyed the idea of turning us into delinquents. 

The comedian that met the above criteria for me was Billy Connolly and for my husband it was Redd Foxx.  Despite being born on different continents and in different points in history, the two had at least one thing in common.  Neither felt welcome in America when they first began performing. 

When Connollys' Cop Yer Whack for It  was released in 1974, I was 12 years old and I had a brother who was 16.  He smuggled the album into the house and we listened to it after our parents had gone to bed.  For me it was the equivalent of doing illicit drugs. 

Redd Foxx began recording albums in 1956, but was never paid for them. His albums were underground and difficult to get when my husband listened to them in the 1970's.  There are still a lot of people in the States that have never listened to Redds' early stand-up and never appreciated the role he played in opening doors to African American comedians.  Richard Pryor had to stand on the shoulders of Redd Foxx to achieve mainstream popularity.

This is from Foxx's Jokes I Can't Tell on Television released in 1960.

When my husband and I compare the popular culture of our teen years, we discuss the political climate during those times as well.  After 22 years of marriage, we haven't run out of things to talk about.

Because Bloggerland and Twitterland consist of a wide variety of ages and cultures, I'd be interested to see what you think of these two comedians. If you're from the States, what do you think of Connolly?  If you're from the UK or Ireland, what do you think of Foxx. And if you're young, what do you think of comedy from this period?

If I don't get back to you on comments right away, it's simply because I'm busy today. Likewise I may get to some of your posts later than usual.  Have a fabulous Tuesday. 



  1. I have always liked Connolly even to this day but never heard of Foxx until now, I grew up and started with Andrew Dice Clay and Richard Pryor as my yank comedians.

  2. I didn't know about Foxx until my husband told me about him. He also turned me on to Woody Allens stand-up albums. I didn't know he'd done any. I still love Pryor, but don't know Clay. I'll have to look him up on Youtube.

  3. Americans are awesome but so is Billy Connolly. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

  4. Awesome. I was born in the 60s too but Rob was born in the 70s. However, I was born in NYC and he was born in KY. Hmmm . . . I can't think of a geographical correlation for you that would be relevant but the end result is this:

    By the time the music I grew up with hit KY, he was growing up to the same music. So we had a lot of commonality in our musical history and to this day there are some debates about the cds in our now merged collection. Pink Floyd collection: his. Led Zeppelin collection: hers. Ramones: his. Sex Pistols: hers. Billy Idol and Joel: hers. Dead Kennedys and Johnny Cash: his.

    But there is so much overlap and then those later loves that were technically not part and parcel of our growing up that we just give it up altogether. Sublime, Nirvana, White Stripes, Buckcherry, and others fall into this category. Then there are others which are mutually enjoyed but clearly delineated, like No Doubt, Rob Zombie, Dave Matthews, and classical.

    I think that anyone who came over hoping to listen to some music they like would be happy to stay because we pretty much have it all. And I didn't even mention the funk, hip hop, trance, rockabilly, or showtunes. I tell you, you name it and if we don't have it we have a near cousin.

  5. Billy Connolley is still to this day a god amongst men. His autobiography is also a must read.

    However do you remember the Derek and Clive sketches. Dudley Moor and Peter Cook ......... again humour that even now would be frowned upon.

  6. Interesting post and nice blog!

  7. Redd Foxx I've heard of, but not the other guy. Guess it goes without mentioning that a lot of stuff doesn't cross over to here.

  8. I agree Satia, the States has made enormous contributions to music and there is great diversity. My favorite American musical are those forms which came from African Americans. Jazz, Blues, Funk, R&B. They speak to something inside me.

  9. I adore Connolly Lad. He's one of the greats. There's a great bio on him that I'm going to add to my Youtube collection. And as for Moore and Cook, they almost got prosecuted over those albums. The material on the records is still considered obsene. Do you remember the bit about Jane Mansfield/

  10. @My2Pesos, I'd be interested in knowing something about Latin American Comedians. If you get the chance, drop back by and give me some names and I'll see if I can find them on Youtube

  11. Allen, you may not know him as a comedian, but you may have seen him in some movies. He was in Boondock Saints I & II, The Last Samurai, The X-Files movie, Indecent Proposal and has done voicing in Pocohontas, Muppet Treasure Island and Open Season I and II.

  12. I didn't know them, and truth to be told, i can't really relate to that. I'm glad that i grew up in the internet era, where i had access to pretty much anything i wanted to know (or see). You made a comparison that made me understand the feeling you had though. The feeling of smoking that first joint that a friend got somehow, the need to hide it and the thrill and excitemente of actually doing it.
    Made me feel nostalgic in a weird way :)
    I don't even know if that made sense though hahaha

  13. regarding your comment on my blog: is there anything you can't do? You offend people, you play jazz, you know how to curse and you are like a mad scientist or something. You are one clover patterned pandora's box. And we all love you for that!

  14. I know if you called me a yank Id probably be offended since I was born in Georgia the heart of Dixie. like the blog follwed

  15. I'll snug myself as the young people and say that I admire the older comedians. There was a time where people could be funny without having to curse every other line (and not that I have a thing against those, but I always find it impressive when they can do without). The only problem is some things will be less funny because I wasn't around to experience what the joke was about, but aside from that it's a treat.

    My father used to watch a lot of comedians and I'd sit by him and listen. Redd Foxx was one, but it was so long ago that I'd forgotten his name, so thanks for jogging up my mind! I'll use this to achieve beautiful nostalgia later on.

  16. It made perfect sense Rabbi. I came of age in the 1970's. Tokin' the weed was mandatory. And thank you for the compliment. I like the image of a clover patterned pandora box.

  17. I undertand that aamedor. Some Southerners still refer to Northerners as Yanks. My husband is a yank twice over then. And thank you for the follow.

  18. Thank you for visiting my page D4, your dropping by means a lot to me. Comedy doesn't translate as well across generations as music does. Nor does it translate as well across cultures. For me, just the sound of a needle making contact with a vinyl album brings back the time period.

    I'm turning into a duffer I guess. New movies that cover the 1960's and early 70's are "period pieces" now. Thank you for taking the time to listen D4.


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