The Disappearing Drunk Act

Times have changed.  Years ago, comedians who feigned drunkenness, and milked their inebriated state for laughs, were commonplace — and successful.  Now, the increasing sensitivity about the societal costs of alcoholism and the focus on drunk driving, among other changes in our cultural mores, have made the drunk comic a thing of the past.

In my view, there was no better drunk comic than Foster Brooks.  If you ever watched a Dean Martin celebrity roast, you saw him — and I bet you laughed out loud.  This clip of Brooks at a Don Rickles celebrity roast is a vintage illustration of his act.

Christmas With Dino

There are lots of good Christmas albums out there.  One of the better ones is Christmas With Dino — Dean Martin’s happy contribution to the holiday season.

Christmas With Dino is a good example of intelligent matching of song and artist.  Dean Martin’s well-lubricated, jovial singing style isn’t exactly well-suited to religious carols like O Holy Night or We Three Kings (unless he sang the version about the rubber cigar).  But it’s pitch-perfect for the lighter songs of the season, songs that celebrate snow, snuggling with your significant other, swinging parties, and general holiday merrymaking.

There are lots of good songs on this album.  My favorites are Let It Snow, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (or, Rudy the red-beaked reindeer, as Dino sings at one point), Christmas Blues, Jingle Bells, and I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.  The best song, I think, is a definitive version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside, with Martina Mcbride singing the role of the indecisive female.  You just know that, by the time the song has ended, his entreaties and well-made cocktails have convinced his lady friend to cast aside her worries about her maiden aunt and spend some more quality time with ol’ Dino.

Holiday Mix

Christmas is less than two weeks away and the signs of the approaching holiday are everywhere.  The Christmas decorations have been taken from the basement and put in their familiar locations.  This weekend we will get our tree, trim it with the ornaments we have collected over the years, and hang our stockings on the chimney with care.   At the office, Christmas cards are arriving and being displayed on doors, and people have started to add seasonal touches to their clothing.  Women get to wear festive sweaters and scarves; men make do with holiday ties and socks (of which I have a decent assortment).

And, of course, a big part of the holidays is the music.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love Christmas music, and it is well-represented on the Ipod in the Holiday Mix playlist, which is 293 songs and 15.8 hours long.  I like mixing up music and I’ve tried to do that with my Christmas music playlist — instrumental music with vocal, traditional carols with pop songs and James Brown, jazz-influenced treatments with the Salvation Army band, classically trained tenors with ’50s crooners and torch singers.  The first 20 songs on the Holiday Mix playlist are as follows:

Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) —    Vince Guaraldi,   A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Christmas Song —   Linda Ronstadt,  A Merry Little Christmas
Gruber: Stille Nacht (Silent Night) —    José Carreras, Christmas Favorites From The World’s Favorite Tenors
Sleigh Ride —    Leroy Anderson,  Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Colleion
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen —    Bing Crosby,  White Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock —   Bobby Helms, Season’s Greetings-Disc 2-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
O Come, O Come Emanuel —   Robert Shaw Chorale, A Festival Of Carols
The Holly & The Ivy —    Mediaeval Baebes, Mistletoe & Wine: A Seasonal Collection
Blue Christmas —    Elvis Presley, Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits
Go Tell It On The Mountain —   Mahalia Jackson,  Christmas With Mahalia Jackson
II – Redemption : Alma redemptoris —    Edward Higginbottom,  Nativitas
The Spirit Of Christmas —    Rosemary Clooney, Rosemary Clooney: White Christmas
What Child Is This? —    Oscar Peterson,  An Oscar Peterson Christmas
A Holly Jolly Christmas —    Burl Ives, Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas —    The Carpenters, Christmas Portrait
O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel) —   Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Let It Snow —   Dean Martin, Christmas With Ol’ Dino
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A – Danses Caracteristiques: Marche —    Alberto Lizzio: London Festival Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake (Ballet Suites)
Feliz Navidad —    José Feliciano,  Feliz Navidad
Please Come Home For Christmas —    James Brown,  Funky Christmas