We're pounding down the homestretch on the Pioneer Women series.
Women who preceded and were funnier stand-up performers than Phyllis Diller.
She started out at at the age of three as Baby Rose-Marie.
How's THAT for being ahead of Phyllis Diller?
It's been said about Rose-Marie that when they built the first stage, she held
This is certainly not too far from the truth.
When she was in her twenties, she was literally one of the first performers to work
When Bugsy Siegel built the Flamingo in 1947, she was on the opening night bill.
She held the hammer.
Singing was not really her strength, although she did a lot of it in her act, along
with a lot of special material.
Much can be found on YouTube, and is quite entertaining.
I never saw her nightclub act but I'll bet it was hilarious.
Because SHE was hilarious.
It probably involved at lot of storytelling.
And her work on the Dick Van Dyke Show was super.
Except when they did episodes that concentrated on her character.
Those were always rather maudlin.
But this has been a woman whose timing has always been impeccable, and I'll bet
she put on a hell of a nightclub act.
I know she was actually half of a team.
But she did all the work.
George Burns stood next to her and fed her straight lines, and was great at it,
but Gracie Allen was essentially a monologist.
And a great one.
She could have talked straight out to the audience, without George being there, and
been just as effective.
She played a character, and did jokes.
Just like Phyllis Diller.
But she was far easier to take.
And far funnier than most human beings.
She was also half of a team. Phil Ford and Mimi Hines.
But Phil Ford really didn't do anything, except subserviently play straight to
He was really a third wheel on a unicycle.
When Mimi Hines took over for Streisand in "Funny Girl" on Broadway, they gave Phil
Ford a minor supporting part. And I'm sure he was grateful for it.
He knew his station in life, and seemed resigned to it.
Mimi Hines is a clown.
Cut from the same piece of cloth as Martha Raye.
Except, instead of having a big mouth, she has buck teeth.
But she has always been an inspired performer, a great singer, and truly funny.
When you think of Marcia Carsey and Tom Werner, if you think of them at all,
it is as the Executive Producers of "The Cosby Show" and "Roseanne".
This enabled Werner to become part owner of the Boston Red Sox.
But before "Cosby" and "Roseanne", they perpetrated a pilot on the TV watching
public called "The Oogily Family"
It was a half-hour sitcom about, you guessed it, a family that was ugly.
I saw this show.
It also contained the element of having a daughter who was attractive, who the
entire rest of the family was ashamed to be seen with, and call their own.
An element directly lifted from "The Munsters"
When you're stealing from "The Munsters", you're sinking pretty low.
So "The Oogily Family" is not exactly on the top of the Carsey-Werner resume.
Al Molinaro was in "The Oogily Family"
As was Mimi Hines.
I felt badly for both of them.
But Mimi Hines is a great performer, and did a lot of stand-up, and is much funnier
than Phyllis Diller.
Next time, we wrap this up with the all-time champion pioneer of womens stand-up
My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."