So Steve Rossi died the other day.
How is one to react to this?
Well, did you think that "Allen and Rossi" was a funny comedy team?
If so, did you think that Steve Rossi was vital to it's success?
My answers to these two questions are, first "Sort of", and second, not at all.
The only thing that was funny about "Allen and Rossi" was Marty Allen.
And in the low-browest way possible.
He looked funny.
He sounded funny.
The material they did was lousy, but he made it sound funny anyway.
He was the act.
And he proved it by successfully flying solo after he and Rossi broke up.
Rossi was the straightman.
Rossi was merely an Italian goombah singer whose ambition, probably,was to become Jerry Vale.
Until Marty Allen entered his life.
And together, they skyrocketed for a while in the sixties.
He probably thought of himself as a star.
I'll give Rossi credit for one thing: Marty Allen was never as successful as when he was teamed with him.
During their breakups, Rossi made somewhat desperate attempts to team up with other comics as their straightman.
It was all very gimmicky.
And pretty sleazy.
He teamed up with Joe E. (Ooh! Ooh!) Ross, probably for the express purpose of being able to be billed as "Ross and Rossi".
And also because, as most of us know, Joe E. was a delight to be around.
Rossi later teamed up with black comedian Slappy White, so they could exploit being one of the first, if not THE first, interracial comedy teams.
Then, even more exploitatively, he teamed up with a comedian named Bernie Allen, so he could try to fool the audiences that they were once again getting "Allen and Rossi".
The common thread here is that he needed these other comics more than they needed him.
They each had been, and were capable of being, single acts.
None of them needed to be teamed up.
Also, none of these new "teams" lasted very long.
None of them really needed straightmen.
So it wasn't long before each of them said "G'bye dere" to Steve.
Rossi was a pretty good singer, and he tried to make a go of it concentrating on the singing.
But, as most singers like him had already discovered, a dime could buy a dozen of him.
So that didn't really pan out too well either.
No hit records.
No major gigs.
The original Allen and Rossi made a couple of movies in the sixties that were, by all reports, horrible.
And it probably signaled the beginning of their fade into relative obscurity.
This all got me to thinking about the fading into total obscurity of the comedy team in general.
It has become practically a lost art form.
I hesitate using the term "art form" and "Allen and Rossi" in the same sentence.
But I waited too long to hesitate.
So there it is.
But there are practically none left.
Next time I'll start talking about the "comedy team" phenomenon, and why it has taken the path that it has, and how those many teams impacted our culture, and me personally.
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 and 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 paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link: www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman
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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."