Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mama's Day

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!This is my favorite mother joke. Actually it's a mother-in-law joke and it comes from the very politically incorrect but screamingly funny AMOS & ANDY SHOW. I believe this was written by Mosher & Connelly (who went on to create LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and THE MUNSTERS).

The Kingfish sets up a blind date for "Mama". Hoping the poor guy would like her and take her off of his hands he arranges for Mama to go to the beauty parlor. He's talking to the hair stylist, describing Mama. He says (and I'm paraphrasing), "Picture a grapefruit that's been out at sea. And it washes ashore, all covered with seaweed and crabs. Now it sits in the sun for a couple of weeks and gets all wrinkly and rotted and bugs are now flying around it. Can you picture that?" The hairstylist says "Uh huh." And the Kingfish says, "Good. If you can make her look that good I'd be satisfied!"


Kevin said...

Oh man. This show gets such a bad rap from people that I believe have never watched or listened to it. I have about 150 episodes of the radio show in my collection along with about 10 episodes of the TV series. It was well written and the TV show had a great cast (and was over 15 years ahead of I Spy which a lot of historians claim had the first African American star of a scripted show). I wish it had wider distribution today, but you're not going to get any major company to distribute it because of the possible backlash.

mcp said...

"Amos and Andy" is the "Birth of a Nation" of sitcoms. Like D.W. Griffith's film, it created the conventions of its medium but is too controversial to be given any respect.

W.V. Wakeran - Two things I hate to do.

Craig Zablo said...

Now THAT was funny!

dishnetwork said...

That WAS a very funny joke.

blogward said...

What's that joke in comedy technospeak? An inversion?

umbriago said...

The television show plodded along a bit too mich for me, but Amos 'n' Andy the radio sitcom was - and still is - a very very funny show.

But whenever I am listening to it on my iPod and people ask me "what are you listening to," I generally answer "Backstage Wife." You don't tell people you're listening to Amos 'n' Andy.

LouOCNY said...

Funny that you posted this today, as TVOne, a cable channel set up to be a rival to BET, is running a "Thats My Momma" marathon - I kid you not.

I would love to see someone make an unbiased comparison of TMM and Amos n' Andy, and see what REAL difference there is with the two shows..

Ref said...

Little reminder that the radio show was done with an all white cast.

PALGOLAK said...

Where's the clip?

Brian Phillips said...

The difference between "Amos 'n' Andy" and "That's My Mama" was that while it was a good radio show, it was the ONLY reference many people had to African-Americans and it was one of the ONLY shows to feature them (us, in my case) in a leading role and even then, played by Gosden and Correll, White fellows, as previously mentioned.

"That's My Mama" was produced much later and as much as I like a good show, considering that years had passed, some fairly bad stereotypes had not. Even worse was "Baby, I'm Back" with Denise Nicholas and Demond Wilson.

All told, when I listen to Amos 'n' Andy, I do find it funny, if I listen without historical context and bypassing certain conceits of the times and, as the previous posters have said, this was a funny joke.

Amos 'n' Andy, thankfully is NOT the "Birth of a Nation" of sitcoms, in the sense that the KKK was not reactivated after it's showing and glowing endorsement from President Harding ("It's history written with lightning!)

I wonder if "Will and Grace" will be viewed as the "Amos 'n' Andy" of Gay programs?

To Kevin: which sources credit "I Spy" in this manner? All the books I read credit "I Spy" as the first show to feature an African-American in a dramatic lead on a TV show, although some magazine and newspaper articles I have read recently certainly do show lack of research.

Also, even though Kevin didn't imply that "Amos 'n' Andy" was the first show to feature African-Americans in a starring role on a TV show, "The Beulah Show" with Hattie McDaniel debuted the year before (1950). I don't know if that is the first though.

Should "Amos 'n' Andy" be shown on TV? Years ago, I would have said no, emphatically. The NAACP killed off the reruns by 1966, probably because they were tired of the stereotypes and it being the ONLY reference for some folks, but when I told a friend of mine this position, he said, "I disagree! Show it all. Show how bad it was." I see the point of this, for historical purposes, because if you show this people will know that while a show like this had it's positives (ownership of business, marriages) and negatives (Lightnin'), in an era where there is more representation of people of all colors, the younger folks will know that this is a point in history, but it needn't be the finish line. If that is the case, you end up with "Soul Plane" and "Homeboys in Outer Space" lauded as classics.

WV: schiner - German for "black eye" (African-American eye just isn't that funny)

David said...

On the radio series, only the characters of Amos, Andy and the Kingfish were portrayed by white actors (series creators and stars Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll). Other African American roles were filled by African American actors.