Guest-starring Rich Little!

Pete and Ben do an impression of a pair of knowledgeable podcast hosts and discuss the career and contributions of Rich Little. They also examine the essential heart of the act of an impressionist, realize that their patented Wild Speculation™ is the equivalent of Wikipedia’s [citation needed], and make a LOT of references to other podcasts.

Sources and References:

Ben was trying to find this photograph of the real and puppet forms of Foo-Foo next to each other in the Of Muppets & Men book, and mentioned Barkley and Muppy as other Muppet dogs that were constructed to look as real as possible (although, looking at the Barkley page, one would doubt his memory or judgement).

Joseph Bailey’s Memoirs of a Muppet Writer provided the anecdote about coming up with the dancing chicken sketches, as well as their origin as one of the gimmicks Col. Tom Parker used in his early sketchy show-biz days. The instances of the name “Adolf Nureyev” appearing on the internet will have just increased slightly because of this entry, but as mentioned, the main instances that were non-Muppet related that Ben could find were the appearance in an Ecuadorean academic journal that he believes to be a typographical error, and in Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory.

Rich Little being “banned” from The Tonight Show is a contested topic, and the summary of Little’s relationship with Carson on the Wikipedia page is interesting, but not necessarily borne out with interviews Little has given. Little seems to first take to the public press in 1985 saying he’d been banned — which was earlier than his portrayal of Carson in the 1996 The Late Shift. In 2020, Little recalls meeting with Carson after his retirement and claiming Carson said he enjoyed the fact that Little did an impersonation of him, and continued to state that in 2021, so the Wiki assertion that “Little’s spot-on impersonation allegedly got under the thin skin of Carson” may not be founded — or, at least, Little is doing his best to counter that narrative. IMDB provides the source of the trivia about him doing more Nixon impressions on film than anyone else and filling in lines for David Niven and James Cagney, and Wikipedia links to three articles — only one currently extant — that talk about the chilly reception to his gags at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner for President George W. Bush.

While Josh Robert Thompson was debuting as a stand-up while opening for Craig Ferguson, he also did a short version of his set on The Late Late Show, so you can see how he attempted to combine punchline structure with impressions, and how some of that humor is predicated on catchphrase familiarity and some of it has to do with a celebrity “saying” things outside of their persona.

The sketch of Cindy Crawford and Kermit singing Maurice Chevalier’s “I Remember It Well” is uploaded separate from the full Muppet Tonight episode on the Muppet Songs YouTube channel. And because, as Pete pointed out, the original lyrics include the lines, “You wore a gown of gold/ I was all in blue”, it really should be added to the Gold/Blue Know Your Meme page as the origin of the confusion. Get on that, Internet!

“Chanson D’Amour” by Art and Dottie Todd can be heard on YouTube in its 1958 45RPM single version, including the non-Crazy Harry “rah-tah-dah-tah-dah”s. The archived Wikipedia entry where “Elendil’s Heir” claimed the Beatles are excerpting the “rah-tah-dah-tah-dah” in “All You Need is Love” lists that addition as arriving in August 2010 and remaining unchallenged until “El Clemente” found it dubious in April 2019. One of the blogs that cited that “fact” as true between its claim and its qualifier was The McCartney Project in November 2016.

The Muppet Fandom page lists thirteen different variations on “The Glow-Worm” sketch, and The Cookie Monster Fan Channel has put together a YouTube playlist of them from 1964 to 1977.

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