Category Archives: variety shows

Humor Comes in All Sorts of Packages


Sometimes there are things you may “think,” but you would never

put into words. You may even admire the one who seems to have

listened to that impudent ‘voice in your head.’ You may, on the other

hand, cringe and think, “Oh no! That is way too blunt!”


Comedy is often built around those ‘cringe-worthy’ moments.  I

laugh at movies, which if someone were to actually DO the things

which are depicted in the movies, I may actually display a face

full of horror.  I may be outwardly ‘aghast’ but I also might be

laughing on the inside, too.


In Shakespeare’s time, his plays often added humor sometimes

displaying a bit of ‘sauciness.’ While taking a high school English

‘mini-course,’ we studied Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The school

administration encouraged our teacher, Mr. Billman, to send home

parents’ permission slips before we read and discussed this rather

controversial book. It makes me smile a little to think we needed

permission to read this bawdy collection of tales. They are considered

‘classics.’ This book has been on some lists for ‘book-burning,’ too.


When the history of ‘drag queens’ is studied, you learn that the

ones who were “dressed as girls” became called, “drags.” While

those who were wearing men’s (otherwise known as ‘boys’)

clothing were named, “drabs.”


Women dressed as men, sometimes in the most interesting

situations. In the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously,”

Kevin Costner’s character has a ‘male’ friend, a photographer.

Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress in her male role.


In the movie, “Yentl” Barbara Streisand portrayed a young man

in this Jewish story. It was unusual in that it was considered to be

a “romantic musical drama comedy” movie released in 1983.


In the more recent 2012 movie, Glenn Close depicted the main

character and title role in, “Albert Nobbs.” She was nominated for

Best Actress in this movie, along with Golden Globe and SAG’s

but did not win in her fascinating portrayal of a man.


Women were not often ‘allowed’  in stage productions, due to the

impropriety.  So, the original ‘drag’ performers were considered

‘normal,’ while performing in traditional plays. Their wardrobe

choice would fit the role they were playing. This made men wearing

women’s clothes, considered ‘appropriately attired.’


In the making of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life, in the movie,

“Amadeus,” there are several scenes where the fine, classical and

renowned musician is carrying on with people of questionable

sexual orientation.


Funny. how when the black and white movie, with Tony Curtis,

Jack Lemmon and the gorgeous, Marilyn Monroe cane out in 1959,

no one made a big deal about men hiding in women’s clothing,

from the Mob. The same theme came into play, in the television

series, “Bosom Buddies.” This resulted in giving us the famous,

funny and talented actor, Tom Hanks.


There are many other examples of men dressing up like women

which makes the audience laugh.


Why does it bother some people then, to go and see a Drag Queen

or a comedy performance with men dressed as women? I guess

this is up to each person’s level of Comfort Zone.


There may be some of Mary Nolan’s humorous comments listed

in this post which you may not like. You may even consider them

‘distasteful.’ I hope you will laugh instead. But, at least I gave you

‘fair warning’ of the content in the remainder of this post.


I edited out a few of this transgender Columbus native’s raunchy

descriptions of famous people and left the more ‘palatable’ ones



There is something to be said about bluntness and edginess. I am

one who doesn’t believe in censorship. What I hear in a comedy

sketch or stand up routine performed in a local tavern, bar, film or

comedy club is usually off-color but comical, one way or another.


I have to admit, I may like ‘shocking’  or ‘bawdy’ content. Now, be

honest: Have you ever laughed at “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie”

or “There’s Something about Mary?”


This is not “R-rated”nor even “PG 13,” so hope you find something

to laugh out loud about. But if not, this is fine. Humor is like food

and other ‘tastes:’ To each his own!


Each of these comments were published in the January, 2015,

“Outlook” magazine.  These are taken from Mary Nolan’s column,

“Reading is Fundamental.” The main readership of this monthly

publication  comes from  the culture of Ohio’s  LGBT  and  Ally

community. You can find this in the lobby of our Delaware County

District Library and other central Ohio locations. It is free to all.


1. About John Boehner-


“Hey John, skin cancer called and it doesn’t want you either!”


2. About Taylor Swift- (appearing with the Victoria Secret models

in her own white outfit, circlet of white feathers on her head and

angel wings):


“It’s like the cast of “Glee” gang-banged a bag of sugar-coated

rainbows and the offspring was the most nauseating collection

of happy teen angst.”


3. About Kim Kardashian-


“I’m all for big (“a- – – -“) behinds, but this girl makes Ohio

bottoms look slightly less hungry.”


4. About Nick Jonas- (appearing in a photo without a shirt on):

“Nope, not gonna try to read this one except to say that he was

talentless in the group, Hanson.”


5. About Johnny Manziel-

“Nice work in that first start. Helen Keller did a better job of

finding the mark.”


6. About Mike DeWine- (on the subject of legalizing same sex


“Fiscal responsibility apparently stops when it comes to a couple

of queens getting hitched.”


7. About Sherri Dribblelipz-

“I’m all for French broads and their hairy bodies, but for Christ’s

sake, would it kill you to take a weed whacker to them pasty white

airplane pillows? It’s like this: whatever happened to Baby Jane?

I don’t care!”


8. About Rosie O’Donnell-

“She’ll huff, she’ll puff and she’ll blow all of your interest in her

out the window.”


9. About Suze Ormon- (financial advisor)

“I’d rather get stock advice from the guy who sells drugs in a gay

bar bathroom stall.”


10. About Jesse Tyler Ferguson-

(From “Modern Family,” where he is the thinner man in the gay

couple and has red hair):

“For the love of everything unholy, flesh colored beards have never

been and never will be attractive!”


11. About Bianca Del Rio-

“Bianca calls her bit the “Rolodex of Hate.” It’s more like the

“Rolodex of Repeat.” She’s had the same material for her entire

40-year career! Speaking of which, Bianca, what were the 70’s



I used to listen to RuPaul, a famous Drag Queen, actress and

author. She made the rounds on talk shows and often appeared

in comedy skits. You can see him in such family movies as,

“The Brady Bunch Movie” and “Brady Bunch Sequel.”

His two books were published and had good sales.

RuPaul’s two books are called,

“Letting It All Hang Out” (an autobiography)

and “Workin’ It.”


Here are three RuPaul quotes for you to read:


~”When you become the image of your imagination,

it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”


~”If you don’t love yourself, how the H- – – you gonna

love someone else?”


~”We all come into this world naked.  The rest is all drag.”


Viva le difference!


Old Time T.V. “Reality Shows”


My friend and coworker, Karen and I were talking about the old-

fashioned “talk shows.” We were comparing them to the old style

“variety shows.” In the talk shows, we agreed, mainly the famous

people gathered on chairs or sofas, with a “Host” or “Hostess” who

seemed to be monitoring the conversations. One recent experience,

that both Karen and I ‘caught’ was the subject of laughter and some

convivial spirits floating around our lunch table in the break room.

On “Me-TV” or some such channel, while I was looking at a better way

to greet my day than the news on CBS Channel 10 in Columbus, Ohio.

I found an old classic, “talk show,” with Jack Benny as the “Host.”

It was hilarious in the two sketches or skits that were presented, as

if they were ‘real’ situations.

The first one was with four wives of famous people, gathered together,

around a card table, while playing cards being the impetus for casual,

“impromptu” conversation. This auspicious occasion included the wives

of Milton Berle, Grouch Marx, Kirk Douglas and we were trying to decide

what the fourth person at the table’s name was!

Our memory of the conversations included some details about each of

the famous husband’s professional and personal pastimes. Along

with Jack Benny interrupting to ask, “Can I play the violin in the

next Kirk Douglas’ movie?” or “Can I be a guest, playing my violin,

on Groucho’s variety show?”

The humor is how Jack Benny is not considered to be a very talented

violin player. His accomplishments don’t indicate that he was one,

at least to our knowledge!

Notice, we did not mention any current “Reality Show” traits like

hair pulling, name calling or people hitting one another! The simple

act of playing cards, conversing and including little popular facts

about, at the time, famous people was the motivation to watch this

show! Everyone may look back and remember how some television or

even radio shows were based on pleasantries…

Another ‘famous’ fact about Jack Benny came to the forefront in the

next comedy skit. His “penny pinching” ways meant he was not going

to leave lights on, using up lightbulbs or spending a lot of money

on different items. Many times this characteristic was one that

would bring laughs, sometimes due to a family member sharing this


There was a person who ‘mugs’ him or ‘kidnaps’ him, finding that

he is famous, decides that Jack needs to get a ransom together.

He gets taken to a bank, where once Jack fills out the withdrawal

slip, he approaches the bank teller, asking for a huge (at the

time) sum of $10,000!

The astonished bank teller, turns to the next one in her little

area, with the bars across, small slot where the person’s slip

is passed to the teller. Then, the teller, usually, will return

the money, by counting it. In the ‘olden’ days, the money would

be placed into an envelope with a slip enclosed.

The stunned teller whispers, in a ‘stage whisper:’

“Mr. Benny wishes to withdraw the amount of $10,000!”

The live audience roars with laughter, while seeing the woman

leaning over to tell the next teller, repeating the message.

Until the last and final teller, calls the police!

Once the police arrive, the punch line is delivered…

“How on Earth did you know that Mr. Jack Benny was being held

for ransom?”

The distraught and agitated woman responded,

“Because he NEVER, EVER withdraws money!”

(I apologize, but these two scenes on “The Jack Benny Show” were

paraphrased, since both Karen and I were not, at 5 a.m. in the morning,

paying close attention to the actual words being spoken! The ‘gist’ of

these is easily grasped, though. I hope this gave the people who are

my age and older a chuckle or two!)

Together we had a few laughs over how ‘these days,’ this would not be

nearly ‘controversial’ enough to get high ratings!

We made a compilation list of our favorite variety and talk shows from

our memories, at lunch, too. I would like you to read the list, make

comments on which ones you liked or remembered and please feel free to

add to our list! Melvin, Tammy, Chuck, Robin and Karen made this list!

Smiles for these memories and hope you have a great Friday evening!

1. The Jack Benny Show

2. The Jack Paar Show

3. The Jackie Gleason Show

4. The Merv Griffin Show

5. The Dinah Shore Show

6. The Lawrence Welk Show

7. Hee Haw Show

8. The Groucho Marx Show

9. The Johnny Carson Show

10. Regis and Kathy in the Morning Show

11. In the UK, The Good Old Days (1953-1983)

12. The Sonny and Cher Show

13. The Andy Williams Show

14. The Rowan and Martin Laugh-In Show

15. The Joey Bishop Show

16. The Dean Martin Show

Your turn to add to the fun…