A COMEDY DEBATE IN HEAVEN
By Lou Goldstein
Imagine that somewhere in heaven we could all
“sneak” a peek in on a debate about comedy… and
life in general…being conducted by many of the great
comedians of all time that have passed away....
and are now having their own debate.
We all know that when we are laughing we are happy.
So it stands to reason that we should try to laugh more often.
What you might not know is that it has been proven that laughter can be good medicine for what ails you…both physically and mentally.
Here we go again with facts versus opinions.
Let’s deal with the facts first.
Studies have found that 10-15 minutes of laughter can consume 50 calories. This is comparable to a couple of minutes on an exercise bike. People who laugh a lot have a more normal blood flow than those who don’t. Laughing more will help reduce your blood pressure.
Laughter helps diabetic people decrease their blood sugar levels and effectively activates the immune system. It helps reduce pain. Laughter stimulates the brain and relieves stress. Laughter improves a person’s emotional and mental well being. It helps you connect and interact with other people.
The bottom line is that humor and laughing makes you feel good and helps you develop a more positive outlook about life in general.
So, I thought I would try to do something that would make you laugh.
You have to understand that most of the comedians, being in heaven, are really old. This means that it will bring back some funny memories for all the old “alive” people reading this. It also means for some of the “young” alive people you may not have ever heard of these great comedians of the past. Hopefully, this will introduce you to the way comedy used to be and you will discover a “new” brand of comedy that you will be able to laugh at.
I can picture it happening this debate happening this way. ( Words in italics and in quotation marks were actually said by the person speaking. The other stuff is mine.)
HENNY YOUNGMAN: OK let’s get this debate underway. You guys settle down now. First, here are the rules. No dirty stuff. You can be a little risqué but none of the really bad stuff that almost prevented you from getting here. Remember where we are (Heaven) and the deal we made to go north instead of south at the fork in the road. Yes, Yogi what do you want to say?
CASEY STENGEL: (Interrupting) “All right, everyone line up alphabetically according to your height.”
YOGI BERRA: “I’ve always said that when you come to a fork in the road…take it.”
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Wait a minute you guys aren’t even comedians. Casey you need to go back and sit in the audience. Yogi, you aren't even dead so go back home and wait your turn.
YOGI BERRA: OK.. I snuck in the back door because I missed you guys. But before I go I want you all to know that, "I never said most of the things I said.”
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Thank you Yogi. You all know that Yogi “Used to go to school with his dog. Then they separated. His dog graduated.” Another rule is that some of us will take turns being the moderator of the debate. Before we begin… you will notice that we have a rather large dais with the people that have been selected for this debate.
In addition to them we have numerous other comedians scattered throughout the audience. At the conclusion we will invite comments from the audience. I’ll begin with the first question. What are some of your happiest moments when you were alive?
DEAN MARTIN: Hey Henny, for me it was having 7 kids.“The 3 words you heard most around my house were “Hello”, Goodbye´ and “I am pregnant.” (actually those were 5 words but who is counting?)
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Thanks, Dean. Before we go on, has anybody seen Richard Pryor? He is missing from the dais.
DEAN MARTIN: I don’t know where he is now Henny… but I saw him an hour ago smoking a cloud.
HENNY YOUNGMAN: OK Dean, I wonder how he got in heaven anyway.
DEAN MARTIN: Maybe it’s because Redd Foxx was the gatekeeper when Richard tried to get in?
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Would someone please try to find him? I have to let you know that Richard once “had a doctor who gave him six months to live. When he couldn't pay his bill, he gave him another six months.”
And we all know that Dean “was the town drunk. Most of the time that's not so bad; but New York City?” Dean was also “Frank and earnest with women. In New York, it was Frank and in Chicago he was Ernest.” Let’s see now, who wants to be next?
GEORGE BURNS: I’ll go next. First of all I have to say that, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family… in another city.” Having said that, I will tell you, that to me,“Happiness is also a good cigar, a good meal, another good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle.” I was also happy when I was still able to have sex when I was 90. Although, I found out that “Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.”
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: I’ll take it now. It’s difficult for me to talk about happiness. “I came from a real tough neighborhood. Once, I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand.” “ I bought a waterbed and found a guy at the bottom of it.” Besides, “I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”
AND, “ I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it.” I mean, I had some really bad experiences growing up,
“I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.” Then after 3 days“the kidnappers sent my parents a note that said, "We want five thousand dollars or you'll see your kid again."
I was also ugly .“My father carried around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet”. and, “My mother had morning sickness after I was born.” Besides that,“My mother never breast fed me, she told me she only liked me as a friend.” In fact, “When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” So, you see, it’s hard for me to talk about happiness. Maybe I’ll catch up with you later with a different subject.
HENNY YOUNGMAN: OK, Rodney, sorry about that. Although I just found out you recently had a happy moment when you “Just got back from a pleasure trip…you took your mother-in-law to the airport.” I would like to share a happy experience I had with my doctor recently. Even though we are in heaven we still have medical problems... and last week “When I told my doctor I couldn't afford an operation, he offered to touch-up my X-rays.” I thought that was nice. And also, a couple days ago, “There was a girl knocking on my hotel room door all night! Finally, I let her out.” I see that Richard has found his way to his seat. So, Richard, would you like to tell us some of your happy moments when you were alive?
RICHARD PRYOR: I’ll answer that one Henny. For me, it was when I went to Zimbabwe. Because “When I went to Zimbabwe I realized why white people are so relaxed living in America. Cause when I heard the police car’s siren I knew they weren’t coming for me.” I was also happy when I was married… even though I was married 8 times. My marital experiences taught me that, “Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings... and lawyers.
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Thanks, Richard. By the way, would you please put that cloud away? You know the rules here in heaven. Clouds are for sleeping on …. Not smoking.
RICHARD PRYOR: Sure, no problem.
HENNY YOUNGMAN: And, while you are still conscious would you tell us why you shot your car?
RICHARD PRYOR: Henny, “It seemed fair to kill my car to me, right, ‘cause my wife was going to leave me, so I told her, not in this car you ain’t. Uh-uh. If you leave me you be drivin’ them Hush Puppies you got on. ‘Cause I’m goin’ kill this car here.”
GROUCHO MARX: Hey Henny, How about me?
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Sure, Groucho, what do you have to say?
GROUCHO MARX: "Before I speak, I have something important to say.” First of all Henny, I want to talk about your book. “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.”
I would also like to say that I don’t know if I even want to join this group because,“I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people likeme as members.” You should also know that, “I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.” There, I’ve said what I had to say now leave me alone. Besides, I’d rather have Rodney be the moderator…and change the subject.
HENNY YOUNGMAN: Well, George, that’s fine with me. How about it Rodney, would you like to take over?
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: What took you so long? I never thought you were funny when you were alive. “If it wasn't for pick-pockets you’d have no sex life at all.” It’s time we changed the subject. Let’s talk about married life.
After all, I’m an expert on being married. Once I remember,“My wife met me at the door in a sexy negligee. Unfortunately, she was just coming home.” Also, “My wife was afraid of the dark... then she saw me naked and also became afraid of the light.” I mean I never got any respect.
I once went to a psychiatrist and“I told my wife the truth. I told her I was seeing a psychiatrist. Then she told me the truth… that she was seeing a psychiatrist, two plumbers, and a bartender. The same psychiatrist “told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.” Then when I told the him “I keep thinking about suicide, he told me I would have to pay in advance.” And when I told him, "Doc, I keep thinking I'm a dog." He told me to get off his couch.”
I also “Told him that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet.”
Getting back to my wife, “My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.” “ I tell ya, my wife was never nice. On our first date, I asked her if I could give her a goodnight kiss on the cheek - she bent over!” "After we got married she wanted to have sex in the back of the car... and she wanted me to drive.”
She had some weird sexual habits. “During sex my wife always wanted to talk to me. Once she even called me from a hotel.” Then there was the time,“One night I came home. I figured, let my wife come on. I'll play it cool. Let her make the first move. She went to Florida.”
“ There was the time she cut me down to having sex once a month. I was lucky because I knew a couple guys she cut off completely.”
“I'll tell you one thing, I knew how to satisfy my wife in bed, yeah, I would leave.” “We didn’t even think alike. She donated money to the homeless, and I donated money to the topless!”
She was also fat. How fat was she? “She was so fat that when she got on a scale a note came out that said, One at a time.” “She was so fat her bath tub had stretch marks.” She also was a terrible cook. How bad a cook was she? “In my house we prayed after we eat.” “Her specialty was indigestion.” “Why her cooking was so bad the flies pitched in to fix the screen door.” AND“ I left dental floss in the kitchen and watched the roaches hang themselves.”
I really didn’t blame her for everything. I was no bargain. “When I was born the doctor came out to the waiting room and said to my father, "I'm very sorry. We did everything we could...but he pulled through." My entire family wasn’t so bright. “During the Civil War my great uncle fought for the west !” “I had a cousin that was gay, he went to London only to find out that Big Ben was a clock.” “We always told him that in our family tree he was in the fruit section.” “In school while other kids were dissecting frogs, he was opening flies.” “One time my whole family played hide and seek. They found my mother in Pittsburgh!”
“I tell you, I'm not a sexy guy. I was the centerfold for Playgirl magazine. The staples covered everything!” I mean,“Once, I went to a hooker. I dropped my pants. She dropped her price.” “Whenever I went to a massage parlor. I was told It was self service.” Hey, Jack Benny, wake up and say something.
JACK BENNY: I would be happy to talk about marriage. You all know that “My wife Mary and I were married for forty-seven years and not once did we ever have an argument serious enough to consider divorce. Murder, yes, but divorce, never.
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: And what about you, Red Buttons?
RED BUTTONS: The best thing about marriage are your kids. I have a word of advice about kids, “Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.”
HENNY YOUNGMAN: “Take my wife….Please.” “I was in love with the same woman for over 60 years. If my wife would have ever found out she would have killed me.” There was one time that “My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a waterbed. She called it the Dead Sea.”
“The first car I got her was a little Italian car. A Mafia. It had a hood under the hood." " It took her three weeks to learn how to drive it and another two weeks to learn how to aim it.” My wife was something else.“One day I came home and the car was in the dining room. I asked her how did you get the car in here? She said easy, I took a left at the kitchen.”
My wife also loved to shop.“Once she was sick for a week, and three stores went under.” Then there was the time that “Someone stole her credit card. I never reported it stolen because the thief spent less than she did.”
Those were jokes but seriously, I want to share a secret that my wife Sadie and I had that helped keep our marriage happy and successful. “We took time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She went Tuesdays, I went Fridays.”
GROUCHO MARX: Wait a minute, I have a few things to say about marriage. “Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.” Actually, “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.” Although I must say that,“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” I’ll have more to say later.
SAM KINISON: “I don't worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: Alan King, what do you have to say?
ALAN KING: You know me, Rodney I have plenty to say. I can tell you about marriage that, “If you want to read about love and marriage, you've got to buy two separate books.” AND, “Marriage is nature's way of keeping us from fighting with strangers.” I have to go to the bathroom…talk to you later.
RED SKELTON: While Alan’s gone (or going) let me talk about marriage. “I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.” Remember, “Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.” My wife and I didn’t have many fights. But I will admit that,“Our last fight was my fault though. My wife asked, “What's on the TV?” I said, dust.”
We,also “Slept in separate beds. Hers was in California and mine was in Texas.” Seriously, “I took my wife everywhere - but she kept finding her way back.” Once, “She got a mud pack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.” I really shouldn’t complain about her because, “All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.” Whoops, now I have to go to the bathroom, bye.
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: I’m getting sick and tired of you guys complaining all the time. I mean, I’m the one that gets no respect. Even here in heaven,“A girl phoned me the other day and said... Come on over, there's nobody home. I went over. Nobody was home.
When I was alive,“I worked in a pet store and people would ask how big I would get.” AND,“When I played in the sandbox, the cat kept covering me up.” I mean I never got any respect. When I was young “ My uncle's dying wish was he wanted me on his lap. He was in the electric chair.”
AND,“On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.” Then there was the time “I went to a freak show and they let me in for nothing.” “I asked my old man if I could go ice-skating on the lake. He told me, "Wait til it gets warmer."
“Another time I asked him, "How can I get my kite in the air?" He told me to run off a cliff.” Even my son showed me no respect. “When I told him about the birds and the bees he told me about the butcher and my wife.” Although I will say “I had good looking kids. Thank goodness my wife cheated on me.”
I think it’s time for someone else to be the moderator so I can go to the bathroom. How about you George?
GEORGE CARLIN: Sure, Rodney. Even though I’m kind of the “rookie” here I’ll do my best. But Rodney, I want you to know that, “Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town.” So do your business, wash your hands and come back. We may need you later.
I have no idea what subject to talk about because,“Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.” I do have a“Weather forecast for tonight… it's going to be...dark.” For all you people in the bathroom, “You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar.” I think we better get back to the business at hand. What subject should we talk about now?
DEAN MARTIN: Does anyone have any booze?
GEORGE CARLIN: OK let’s talk about drinking booze.
DEAN MARTIN: Great, I’ll have a double scotch on the rocks. “ Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I'm thirsty, not dirty.”
GEORGE CARLIN: Dean, do you ever drink too much?
DEAN MARTIN: Actually George, I think,“You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.” In fact,“I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day.” The scariest moment I had while drinking was when “I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up.”
W.C.FIELDS: Excuse me Dean but comparing your drinking to me… is like comparing Mike Tyson to Elton John. In other words, there is no comparison.“I always carry a case of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore… I always carry a small snake.” I also“cook with wine…sometimes I even add it to the food.” In fact, “I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.” As far as drinking too much, “I never worry about being driven to drink… I just worry about being driven home.”
GEORGE CARLIN: W.C., how did you start drinking?
W.C.FIELDS: Well, I’ll tell you. “It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her for it.” I’ll close by saying, “I drink therefore I am.”
GEORGE CARLIN: Well thank you Mr.Fields,it has been an honor to speak to you. Just remember “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila... floor.” I had dinner with Mr. Fields the other night. “We ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.”
SAM KINISON: George, before we close I just want to say that you should "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.”
GEORGE CARLIN: Gee, thanks for that Sam, you can go back to sleep now. Now let’s see, where were we?
DEAN MARTIN: I’ll have another drink please.
GEORGE CARLIN: Right. Drinking, who is next? Oh, I see that Rodney is back. Rodney, tell us about drinking.
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: Sure, no problem. By the way Red Skelton is still in the bathroom and if I were you I would stay away from there for awhile. My problem with drinking is, “I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.” Right now “I’m drinking a mixture of Scotch, Viagra and prune juice. I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but I don’t give a damn.” I really didn’t drink that much so I’m going to go smoke a joint and take a nap.
GEORGE CARLIN: Well, this has been just great. But I can see that everybody is dozing off and we all probably need to take a nap. Before we close we need to form a committee to organize THE FIRST ANNUAL DEAD COMICS ROAST. Who will volunteer to be the roastmaster...and who should we roast?
RODNEY DANGERFIELD: I'll volunteer to be the roastmaster and I will let you know who will be on the dais along with who will be roasted later.
GEORGE CARLIN: OK, thanks Rodney. We will look forward to hearing back from you. Does anyone have anything to say before we conclude?
DEAN MARTIN: Yeh, where is the bar?
GEORGE CARLIN: Dean, you are laying underneath it. And, on that note, this meeting is over.
See you next time,