Eugene David
...The One-Minute Pundit

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

WFMU's blog has just run a piece on the "comedian" Joe E. Ross. He was a lovable schlub on the air and a hateable SOB off. Despite a few hasty errors ("errant ego"?) it is a fascinating eulogy for a show-biz fringe figure who had considerable success despite himself: a vulgarian on stage, a total slob who couldn't eat without getting an entire meal on his clothes, husband of eight alleged hookers. In short, a modern hero. There is too much here to underline that statement but consider this choice bit from the set of Car 54, Where Are You?:

Hank Garrett remembers an especially embarrassing moment when the sponsor came by. "The clients. Top people from Proctor & Gamble came to see us. We were shooting at the old Biograph-Gold Medallion Studios in the Bronx ... and in came the big wigs. Our clients. They stopped at each one of our dressing rooms to talk to us, to meet us. They said this is Hank Garrett, he plays Nicholson and how do you do. There were old ladies and they were all decked out and their husbands all in black suits and ties. They went to Fred Gwynne and then Al Lewis ... then they went into Joe E. Ross's room and I heard ... screaming and people running down the halls. I said, 'Geez, what happened?' Joe E. was masturbating at the time."

Today the Moon 'n' Stars gang would give him a big raise. You must read this if you want a warming twinge of nostalgia mixed with contemporary nausea.

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