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Living Loz
I'm walkin' on a shoe without a sole... 
23rd-Mar-2006 04:22 am
Loz Cola
Let me preface this post by saying that it is now 4.56am, and I have had no sleep.

I have had this song in my head, since about 11pm.


Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll,
Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll,
I'm runnin' up a flag without a pole,
I'm walkin' on a shoe without a sole,
Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll.

(OK here i' comes, lesson one.)
You can't cook an egg unless you got yourself a frying pan.
(You know it's the truth.)
You can't cook an egg unless you got yourself a frying pan.
You shouldn't rob a bank without a plan,
You shouldn't use your tongue to stop a fan.
Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll.

(Now here come lesson number two.)
Shouldn't wanna do it if you don't want to not do it right.
Eba-dabba-dooba-daba-deba-daba-do, all right.
(I ain't makin' this up.)
You don't go dancin' in the day,
You don't golfin' in the night.
Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll.
(Yeah.)
Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll.


Know what I love about this song? He's chewing on a jelly roll. This is clearly a reference to Jelly Roll Morton, who is well known for that kind of honky tonk/tin pan alley/jazz music (and who I love). Know what else I love? Mark's singing. He is one of my favourite singers, I think. From everything I have heard of his voice, I love it, it's gorgeous. Thirdly, it's a really catchy song. Actually, that bit is annoying. I really don't want to be up at 4am something tomorrow bopping my head along to "Smokin' on a night train, chewin' on a jelly roll".


This has made me think of all the ways Kids in the Hall has corrupted me.

This time last year, I don't think I'd be at all amused by, as Mark says in one of his first Mississippi Gary sketches, a white man from Vermont, "imitating an eighty-year-old blues guy". I'd have been all 'it deals purely in stereotypes' and 'there are all sorts of implications for Mark's use of black-face' and I generally would have whinged on in that fashion. All very P.C. All very prim, and proper, and self-righteous with my white-girl, ostensibly middle-class background. I'd have been aware of the complications of my own role in the discourse, as that of someone whose complaints would be obscurities in themselves, but I'd still have been severely disapproving. I'd have wilfully ignored that Mark brings up these issues himself, or that there's a cultural history attached to it all, or that, as far as things go, it's innocuous, and generally just funny. In fact, it's a damn fine impersonation of that particular stereotype.

I hated, hated, totally loathed the word 'faggot'. Hated when queer culture used it as a term of endearment, and hated it in every other circumstance. I'd hardly have laughed at an instance of it. Then I saw the infamous "Running Faggot" scene. And then Scott's examination of the word; What is it about the word "faggot" that makes people so frightened? Do you think it's the actual letters, themselves? Well, let's take a look at that. [He runs through all of the letters, concluding each is as harmless as the other, until he gets to T.] Well, I've got the perfect solution. Let's get rid of the "T" and all the hate that goes with it. So, come on faggos, let's sing! Everybody! Come on all you faggos!" And the reclaiming and rebranding, and all that jazz suddenly made sense. Perfect sense. Especially after all that research I did on the 'history of homosexuality' for my honours thesis. I still don't use the word faggot unless I'm quoting a KitH sketch, but I don't quake in my boots, or frown at the sound of it unless it's being used for truly derogatory reasons.

So when I say 'corrupt', I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way. I mean, that, as a comedy troupe, the Kids in the Hall have had me thinking about social issues and how I address them. I've had to re-evaluate my beliefs and how I convey them. Watching the show has made me think about ways in which I could have been inherently racist and homophobic myself, in the pursuit of being the exact opposite. It's also made me laugh, which, you know, is a plus.

I think that's the power of comedy. Of good comedy, at the very least. It needs to be a mixture of elements. Topical and foolish. A combination of word-play, outrageous situations, the physical and vocally adept. If you can laugh unthinkingly at a particular comedic scene, it's doing okay, but if you then stop and think about it too? It is doing its job.

Comments 
22nd-Mar-2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
With you, all is Six Degrees of Scott Thompson, eh?
22nd-Mar-2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
Please tell me why you are so obsessed with Scott Thompson?

Seriously - every single time, you bring up Scott. What is Scott in that you're intimately acquainted with?
23rd-Mar-2006 08:42 am (UTC)
I don't find the Missippi Gary sketches very entertaining but I do appreciate Mark's immense talent. And you're right. You made some great points. Sorry to be vague but I just don't have the brainpower to get into a more detailed discussion about it. I just agree with what you said.

As for Scott, that sketch cracks me up every time. And I'm the same...I don't like to use the word "faggot" unless I'm quoting something and I hate when people use it in a derogatory way.

It's funny how the subjects they touched upon 10+ years ago still apply today. I love that about the show. It never gets old. They're mindblowingly brilliant.
24th-Mar-2006 03:30 am (UTC)
I find them entertaining from an "ooh! Mark! Mark singing! Mark playing Harmonica! Mark!" point of view.

They are mindblowingly brilliant, because you're right, even though they were topical they were universal topics, topics which last through the ages, across cultures. Yay.
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