"Neither highbrows nor lowbrows nor midbrows, but elastic-brows.” — George Orwell

Not poor, just busted.

Categories: Haw-Haw, HiLo Heroes | 1 Comment
Margaret ChoMargaret Cho

“I’m not going to die because I failed as someone else.”

Categories: Haw-Haw, HiLo Heroes | 6 Comments

It’s never too late to be too soon.

Categories: Haw-Haw, HiLo Heroes | 2 Comments
rickles thumbrickles thumb

A high-wire kind of funny.

Categories: Browbeating, Haw-Haw | 1 Comment

I’m not so much killing my darlings as massacring them


France had Existentialism; England had Hancock.


He generated fields of pure unexpected looniness.


Britain’s only renaissance hooligan.


He punctuated class-centric British life with absurd question marks.

jojo - photo by Justin Moore http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdjsb7/If You Wanta Be Mine - Fork Over Your Heart by jojo

jojo the Burlesque Poetess “Rock out With her Frock out”


He took the weight of English sexual anxiety on his shoulders.


A high school dropout who learned his trade on the Borscht Belt summer circuit, DANNY KAYE’s (1913-87) first taste of Broadway fame came with the 1941 Gershwin-Weill tongue-twister “Tchaikovsky (and other Russians),” in which he spat out, scat-style, the names of 54 Russian composers in under 40 seconds. During World War II, he entertained the […]


The 1960s was a terrible decade for film and television comedy, but it did produce a stellar class of comedians working the beatnik demimonde: Mort Sahl, Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor. Not to mention WOODY ALLEN (Allen Konigsberg, born 1935), whose career as a stand-up comic and author […]


If you were to approach STEPHEN MERCHANT (born 1974) and berate him for looking like a myopic ostrich, he would stare vacantly back at you and, after a pause suffused with the awkward comedic tension that is his lifeblood, mumble to himself, in his unmistakable bumpkin lilt, “Yeah. I know.” For some reason, this deadpan […]


Like Bea Arthur, Pearl Bailey, and Redd Foxx, the televisual omnipresence of JULIUS “NIPSEY” RUSSELL (1918?-2005) belied his status as a veteran of less sanitized showbiz pursuits. He tap-danced his way out of his native Atlanta, acted with a Chicago stock company, and by the early ’50s was a popular emcee at Harlem’s Café Society-styled […]


He was a violent husband (to four different wives) who managed his depression by consorting with an astrologer; and a drug-abusing freemason who dealt with his self-induced heart condition by consorting with a psychic healer. Yet PETER SELLERS (1925-80) gave us such touching and hilarious characters as Clouseau, the dimwitted flic who bumbles his way […]


All hail the Mighty Fin! For was it not JIMMY FINLAYSON (1887-1953), third banana in 33 Laurel and Hardy films, who offered us emancipation through his unique enactment of The Double Take & Fade Away? Let us explore the three stages of political consciousness that The Fin elucidates. The First Take: The conventional bourgeois response […]


Hey, PhD students looking for a thesis topic — here’s a freebie. These sketchy notes are inspired by a B&N.com review of Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel, Inherent Vice, by HiLobrow.com friend James Parker. Parker writes: The ’60s, of course, were a historic low point for humor. I mean humor of the sort enjoyed by people […]


My heart still skips a beat when I look at old Rolling Stone photos of GILDA RADNER (1946-89), an early childhood crush and, then as now, one of America’s greatest comediennes — and it still breaks when I think of her death from ovarian cancer at 42. Whether it was her malapropisms as Emily Litella, […]


While it’s conventional to call Oliver Hardy a “straight man,” it would be more accurate to think of the character created by British comic actor STAN LAUREL (1890- 1965) as the duo’s “curved man.” Though he may seem idiotic, perhaps Stan’s character developed as a result of knowing too much. Ollie, who insists on recognizing […]


Both PHIL SILVERS (1911-1985) and his best-known character, Sergeant Bilko, were driven by a manic energy that sought to control, disrupt, and ultimately collapse all forces of linear, mathematical, or hierarchical order — reflecting the devout wish of the obsessive gambler. Silvers had a Royal Flush-level comedic virtuosity, while Bilko’s monomaniacal obsession with material self-advancement […]