Archives For January 2014

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  “Every man for himself!”  It’s natures way.  My son Victor found a tarantula, in the forest, and brought it home as a pet.  We bought a glass tank for the tarantula and would watch it eat.  Now, tarantulas eat live crickets.  So, my we put six crickets in the tank with the spider.  Now, these crickets were born and raised in a pet shop.  They’d never seen a tarantula before.  They didn’t know what was going to happen.  And, they were frolicking around, bumping into the spiders legs.  The tarantula was motionless.  But, as soon as one of the crickets wandered under the spider “Bloop” It was all over.  The tarantula consumed five of the six crickets.

Now, I felt sorry for those five crickets, but no where near as sorry as I felt for the for the one cricket that he didn’t eat.  You see tarantulas only eat about once a week.  So, for a whole week this one little cricket was in that tank knowing what was going to happen eventually.  Now, after a week this little cricket becomes a pet to us.  We don’t want to see him get hurt.

But, what were we going to do?  Play God?  Take our cricket out of the tank?  After much thought we decided to increase our cricket’s odds.  We put more crickets in that tank.  And when we put those crickets in the tank, you should have seen the look on our little crickets face.  He was so happy.  He looked at the spider as if to say “I won’t say a word.”  And he told the other crickets: “Come on in fellows, just stand over there, under the gazebo!”

Unknown

  One night, at The Comedy Store, a man approached me when I came off stage.  It was Danny Simon (Neil Simon’s brother) and he asked me if I would like to do The Dean Martin Comedy Hour.  I said yes and my TV career began.

My Dean Martin Comedy Hour segment was to tape at the Playboy resort in Great Gorge, Pennsylvania.  I got on a plane and flew to Philadelphia.  I’ve never liked flying and the changes in time zones that required me to change my body clock.  These changes to my body clock would, someday, be by downfall.

“I’ve stayed in too many hotels.  To me, hotel room are all the same.  As a matter of fact I think that they are all the same room.  I think they move them around the country with me.  You get suspicious when you check into a hotel room and find your own toe nail on the floor.

And filthy!  I stayed at a hotel, on Florida, that had the biggest cockroaches I’ve ever seen.  Huge!  Now, I’ve slept in a room with roaches before, but I’ve never had one hop in bed  and throw one leg over me.  And then whisper, ‘Hey, we’ve got ants.’  That’s a Bug Cock Roach.”

This bit was the catalyst for me to write the song, “Big Cock Roach”, available on Amazon.

“I’m a lesbian in a man’s body.”  I know you’ve heard it before and now you know who wrote it.  Never tell a joke to a lawyer.  If you do call him back five minutes later and his line will be busy.  That’s because he’s on the phone telling your joke.  And your name will never come up, in the conversation.

When I landed in Philadelphia I got in a taxi and told the driver that I wanted to be taken to Great Gorge.  The elderly gentleman behind the wheel nodded and we were off.  In minutes we were out of Philadelphia proper and into the country side.  That’s when I began to be uneasy.  My driver seemed to be disoriented.  He was all over the road and more than once barely missed semi tractor and trailer rigs, going in the opposite direction.  I would say: look out, watch it, were going to crash!  My driver admitted to me that he had never been outside of the city and was having trouble seeing.  (Everything is closer in the city)  We continued on, using my eyes to guide us.  When we finally arrived at The Great Gorge Playboy Resort I was terrible agitated.  I payed him and tipped him and Checked into the hotel.  I had been through one of the most scary experiences in my life, so far!  After I was checked in I went straight to the outdoor location to do my spot.  There was no audience so I pretended that there was, stopping a bit after each joke so that the editors could put a laugh track in.

Also appearing with me was Andy Kaufman.  (Later to be characterized by Jim Carry, in the film “Man On The Moon”)   I did a G rated set, as usual and Andy did his Elvis Presley impression, as usual.  I tried to always do fresh material on all of my TV appearances, but Andy would do that same routine at least fifteen times on fifteen TV appearances.  He got a lot of milage out of the same routine!

“I’m not a good flyer.  The first thing I do when I get on a plane is check to see where all the emergency exits are.  The second thing I do is figure out who I’m going to have to step on to get to them.  Cause, I know that if something happens to the plane it’s not going to be ‘Hands at your sides, single file, no touching, no talking.’  I mean, if something happens to that plane, I do not believe that the passengers are going to pull their oxygen masks down and breath normally.”

When I landed back in Los Angeles I was exhausted!  Thank God I was picked up by my wife, Lynn, and had an uneventful ride to our home.  Lynn was working as hard as I was and I was amazed at how well she could do all the things involved in running a home, raising our children and also handling our finances.

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  1967 Lynn and I spent the next few years poor, but happy.

The three children and Lynn and I lived in a modest home and had a dog.  A Great, Great Dane.  Duke was huge and staid at forty three inches, at the shoulder.  What a wonderful animal.  He loved all of us and we him.  The best dog I’ve ever known.  As big as he was, he never broke any of the little porcelain or glass pieces we had on the coffee table and end tables.  He would come between the coffee table and the couch, realize where he was and carefully back out.

I miss Duke.  But, when we eventually moved to California we had to give Duke up to some friends.  Later, when we visited them they had given Duke to a butcher and he used duke as a guard dog at night and kept him in the basement at night.

Later, I went to visit Duke.  I was in a large grassy area behind the butcher shop, quite a way from the building. The butcher let Duke out of the back door and Duke immediately spotted me.  He ran to to me and was so excited that urine was coming out of him, as he ran.  I knelt down and jumped on top of me, getting pee all over me.  I didn’t care.  I’m sure that Duke thought I was there to rescue him, but that was not to be.  Duke and I visited for more than an hour, then I had to leave.  I don’t have to tell you how I felt.  But, I swallowed and left and was ashamed of myself.

We all must make difficult decisions, in life.  My obligation was to my wife and children.  Everything else took second place.  I’m sure my children were and are not aware of my conviction.  Maybe, someday, they will look back and understand that, with few exceptions, my life has had one purpose.  To see that my children were safe and sound.  My childhood, being what it was, determined this.

Now I seldom hear from them.  I guess every or most parents go through this.  Children grow up and get on with their own lives.  This is the natural order.  I have come to terms with this and have steeled myself from it.  My life counts too.  And I, also, have moved on.

I am pleased to announce that I well appear at the Ice House, in Pasadene CA. on Maech 23 at 7PM.  One show, one show only. Get tickets @ http://www.laughstub.com/event.cfm?id=281032

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  Diana Ross is a very powerful and tough person, from the streets of Detroit.  I am the only person that worked with her that got billing on the marquee.  She was insistent that her’s would be the only name up in lights.

I was ignorant enough to expect her to abide by the contract she had signed giving me seventy five percent billing, under her name.  Even though I was woking with her, I never saw her.  But every night I would ask the audience if they had seen anyone steal my name from the billboard.  Finally, after two weeks, there was a knock on my dressing room door.  I opened it and there was Diana.  She was wearing rollers in her hair and a chenille robe.  Very meekly she said, “Hello, I’m Diana Ross and held out her hand.  I said, “How do you do, Diana.”  I was also the on;y one on the tour that addressed her as Diana.  I had been warned to only refer to her as Miss Ross.  Well, that’s not the way I role.  No disrespect to her, as a matter of fact I was in awe of he performances and i have never learned so much about entertaining an audience as I did from working with Diana.

Maybe she was impressed with my insolence, because she did allowed me to call her Diana.  When we were in New York I called her and left a message.  She returned my call.  I said, “Diana, there’s a new casino opening tonight, in Atlantic City.  Lets, you and I, go down there and have some fun.

Like most people who play the Tough game, when we were alone, she would turn into a little girl.  Our problem was that I didn’t like her scent.  “Wet Cardboard!” So, that didn’t last long.

 

St Mary's Catholic Church

St Mary's Catholic Scool  At six rears of age, a terrible fate fell upon the horizon.  Something I had not been prepared for.  After all, I was doing fine.  Everything was going well.  I was fulfilling every expectation, in my world, and felt no need for something called school.

   I had to go to school?  Are you telling me that knowing how to tie my own shoes, knowing how to say the Rosary, The Our Father, The Hail Mary and my way to and from church wasn’t enough?  “Jesus Mary and Joseph”  I was six years old and I was being treated like a child.  Crap!

   For weeks before the dreaded day I was sick to my stomach with the thought of going to school, whatever that was.  Then the day I had been counting down to finally arrived.

My first day of school had come and I don’t mind telling you, I was apprehensive.  To me, it seemed like punishment for something I didn’t know that I had done, some infraction.  But what could it be?  I had been doing all my chores, without fail.  I was helping around the house.  Doing dishes, polishing furniture, sweeping the porch, the stairs and all the side walks around the house.  What ever it was, it was a bum rap.

Grandma got me up at Six, as usual.  I dressed myself and tied my own shoes, then, we began to walk.  Strangely enough we were walking in the same direction as we did when we would go to church.  We walked by the Dr.  Pepper Plant, (Not a bad soda, but, a little sweet for my taste) The Pontiac Dealership (I had my eye on a two door hard top) we passed Nino’s Coffee Shop and made a right turn and there she was.  The Church!  St. Mary’s!  Is this what school is?

I had heard the sound of children coming from this building, next door, when we were in Church and I naturally thought it was another orphanage.  I couldn’t help but wonder if these children knew how to tie their own shoes.

Grandma and I entered the building and climbed up three flights of stairs, to where a person called ‘The Principal’ had her office.  This woman came out and said, “Well, hello little boy, ‘I looked around to see who she was referring to’ I am Sister Anastasia.”  She was a, well proportioned, tall lady with a rather prominent mustache.  I thought nothing of this because my Grandma also had a mustache.  Sister Anastasia’s skin was a pale grayish brown color and she was wearing some sort of military looking outfit with a black vail and heavily starched little white brim!  She wore a huge Rosary around her waste and looked as if she were a high ranking leader of some sort of Penguin Army.

Sister Anastasia had a somewhat detailed conversation with Grandma that must have been some sort of background on my capabilities and stature in my community.  I was relieved that Grandma made no mention of my still sleeping in a crib.  Then, she escorted us back down two flights of stairs to some kind of room called The First Grade.  I was impressed that they were going to start me out an the top, me knowing how to tie my shoes, dress myself and all the words to The Hail Mary and The Our Father had obviously impressed the principal!

Another one of these penguin people came out of this, First Grade, room and Sister Anastasia introduced us to Sister Mary Margaret.  Again, she was tall, in uniform, but, rather pretty, however, she was certainly not of a high rank and didn’t have the slightest sign of a proper mustache.

Sister Mary Margaret placed the palm of her left hand on the nape of my neck and gently swept me into a room full of children, seated at tiny desks.  The place reeked of Corduroy, Brill Cream, with a slight back scent of vomit.  There was also the scent of lead pencils.  I liked it!  However, all of these little twerps were wearing uniforms too.  White tops and navy blue bottoms.  I wanted one!  And, I got one!  Oh yes!  This was going to be good and in no time at all I would holding seminars on tying ones shoes!

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  The beatings started again.  I was not allowed to look at my dad.  For instance, if we were sitting at the dinner table and I got caught staring at my dad he would back hand me across the face so hard that I would be knocked backward, off my chair and go sliding across the floor.  Also, I wasn’t allowed to us the word ‘Love’.  If I did I would be back handed.  “There is no such thing as love”, he would say!

As bad as these beatings were, and they were bad, they were nothing like the beatings I would get on special occasions.  And I could never tell when they were coming.  On special occasion, when he didn’t want Grandma around, he would say, “Get in the car, we’re going for a ride.  Even though I was terrified of my Father, I loved going on rides with him and he would joke with me and tickle me and we could have a wonderful time.  But on special rides I would notice that we made certain turns and drove up certain roads and I, then, knew what was coming.  I would begin to cry and I begged him not to do this.  “Don’t do this daddy!  Please don’t do this”  He just stared forward and drove to the ‘location’.  Rockford was a factory town and a Union town and the factories were only running on week days.  On weekends they were deserted.

There were sections of town where there were factory after factory and they went on, block after block, after block and my father knew where there were places that were not patrolled by watchmen or police.  And that’s where we were going.

He would stop the car and at a desolate spot where one could see what he was doing.  These factories would go on and on as far as the eye could see.  He got out of the car and come around to my side of the car, opened the door and pull me out onto the tarmac and throw me down on the cinders.  He then undid his belt slowly, as he gazed down on me with a menacing stare.  As he slowly pulled his belt out of its loops, he said silly things like, “You lost my pliers, didn’t you!”  No Daddy, I didn’t lose your pliers.  He said, “My pliers are missing and ‘I always put my pliers back when I’m done with them.  Where are my pliers?”  I don’t know, Daddy,  I didn’t use your pliers!

Then he would begin whipping me and screaming incoherently.  This would go on for a good twenty minutes.  He used the belt on the covered areas of my body so the welts couldn’t be seen by anyone.  When he had, had his fill he would stand there looking into space and slowly slip his belt back into the loops and as he buckled it he would say something like, “A man needs to know where his pliers are.”  Then, he would drag me back to the car, get in on his side, slap me across the face and say, “If you tell anyone what happened here, today, I’ll kill you!”  He must have taken me on twenty-five rides during my childhood and I never told a soul.  I’ve never forgiven him!

Years later I would take my revenge.  I was hired to perform, in Rockford, for the annual, three day, Italian Festival.  On one of those days, I drove to his home and knocked on the door.  When he answered the door I and stepped out, I gave him a round house slap across the face.  I hit him so hard that he weaved back and forth and his eyes rolled back in his head, as if he were going to pass out.  I turned and walked away, got in my entail car and drove away.  I did not enjoy this.  I can’t help love my Dad, but, it was something I had to do to establish my manhood.

Raquel Welch

 

Raquel Welch was beautiful, and the women in the audience hated her.  The men?  They loved her.  I would watch her from behind the scrim (a sheer curtain).  The scrim wasn’t the only thing that was sheer.  Her dress was see through from my point of view, behind her, I could see the silhouette of her long legs quite clearly. She was hot!

One night, as I was passing her open dressing room door, she called my name.  I went in and sat in a chair that was next to the couch where she sat.  She was wearing nothing but lipstick and a blue satin dressing robe.  We talked for a while, about nothing really, and then she rolled her eyes and put the arch of her left foot up on the coffee table.  With that, her flimsy dressing robe opened and slid to her sides.  There she was, in all her naked glory.  I was totally intimidated.  After gulping and thinking she must be completely embarrassed,  I said, “Well take her easy” and left.  Years later, I thought,  “Hey, wait a minute, Raquel Welch was coming on to me!”  I was very naive.

Raquel Welch, was beautiful and the women in the audience hated her.  The men?  They loved her.  I would watch her from behind the scrim.  (A sheer curtain)  The scrim wasn’t the only thing that was sheer.  Her dress was see through from my point of view, behind hew, I could see the silhouette of her long legs quite clearly.  She was hot!

One night as I was passing her open dressing room door, she called my name.  I went in and sat in a chair that was next to the couch where she sat.  She was wearing nothing but lipstick and a blue satin dressing robe.  We talked for a while, about nothing really and then she rolled her eyes and put the arch of her left foot up on the coffee table.  With that her flimsy dressing robe opened and slid to her sides.  There she was, in all her naked glory.  I was totally intimidated.  After gulping and thinking she must be completely embarrassed.  I said, “Well take her easy” and left.  Years later I thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute, “Raquel Welch was coming on to me!”  I was very naive.

Kip Addotta will appear at The Ice House, in Pasadena, CA Sunday March 23rd, at 7:PM Tickets are available at http://www.LaughStub.com/