Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SUNDAY MORNING OUT OF THE PAST: Wednesday Wacky: Wallendas, Stop Trying to "Fly"! Copeland & Combs, Chill Out ....

Why the "Flying Wallendas"? Seems now that even THEY honor this ridiculously misleading act descriptor. From Jack Ryan, who penned a piece (that I, sorry Jack, misplaced) on the famed wire-walking family for the recent Circus Sarasota, even Tino Wallenda has given in by using the phrase repeatedly on his website, lending family credence to this shoddy misconception. No wonder it lingers on; incredibly the family endorses it! Here's our Big Question: Why were they ever called The Flying Wallendas in the first place? Best answer I could get years ago was this: "flying" referred to their tragic fall in Detroit in the sixties, the perverse notion being that they "flew" off the wire, into the air, and down onto the ground. How utterly stupid and counterproductive for the family to go along with this insensitive characterization. If the troupe itself refuses to correct the record, well, let them fly, if that's what they want. The only member of this troupe I can see truly "flying" would be Karl Wallenda -- from his grave.

Easier to understand are the testy moods of Kelly-Miller Circus clowns Steve Copeland and Ryan Combs, who, from what I've learned touring their blog now and then, do not suffer gratefully indifferent looking customers while striving to raise laughs ... Recently, indifference struck again, from a VIP seat, I think. As reported on the Copeland-Combs blog, a man was "stoically watching" the table act, and he made the fatal error of keeping his arms crossed during the entire bit. At the number's end during bows, the chap haplessly refused to clap, further enraging our young joeys who may yet have to learn to take it on the chin. Now, refusing the reception the K-M joeys believe is due them is a big NO No on this show, kids; So keep this in mind if you plan a visit to the circus of John Ringling North II. Here come's my customer alert: How was the dour fellow answered back? Ryan "jumped into the seating section and pulled a Peter Pitofskay, ravaging the poor man senseless."

What is a Peter Pitofsky? Let me google this and be right back.

Okay, I'm back. One site calls him "famous Comedy Clown from New York." Humm (I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, my arms flailing about), are there also non-comedy clowns? He, they say, combines elements of Abbott and Costello, the 3 Stooges and the Marx Brothers. Let's focus in on that word "ravaging." I'm taking a look to be sure, back in a jiff. Here's the definition: "Plunder with excessive damage and destruction." Good grief!

Ooooooookay. So, let's see, at least I've been warned. And so have you: If and when I do step into the Kelly Miller tent, I will remember to laugh my head off whenever Steve and Ryan are trying to entertain me. I will NOT cross my arms, NOT look stoic, NOT act aloof or uppity or ungrateful or brain dead, and NOT under any circumstances give off any hint of being one of those creepy snide vile sinister opinionated arrogant self-delusional critics. NO note taking. NO pencil or pen. NO searing looks. Hot dog happy. Cotton candy charmed. Snow cone contented. Peterson Peanut proud.

Gotta get back into my inner child.

Heck, if I can survive Copeland and Combs, I can handle the "flying Wallendas" any day.

A gag -- ad for Dental Floss? -- from a Copeland-Combs Kelly-Miller clown walkaround. Cheers to reviving what I have long missed! Promise, guys, I'm laughing out loud.

first posted 3.10.10


Steve Copeland said...

Hey Dave,

Actually that picture is from our walkarounds.

Peter Pitofsky is famous for going into the audience and hugging people, rubbing their hair, clambering all over them, etc.
Perhaps ravage was a bit too extreme of a word....
I WAS going to write rape and pillage. Glad I didn't!

And on the subject of the "stoic fellow", to quote the musical "Chicago"....

"He had it coming! He had it coming! He only had himself to blame! If you'd have been there, if you'd have seen it, I bet ya you would have done the same!"

(written and sung with tongue placed firmly in cheek)


Steve Copeland

Showbiz David said...

Steve, I feel SO much better after hearing you sing, and knowing the guy was not "ravaged." I was already fearing my day, in a distant future, at Kelly Miller Circus, somewhere high up in the seats with a Pinkerton fellow sitting next to me.
Whew, one less expense to worry about! Happy mudding...

Wade G. Burck said...

Peter is also well known for the insane, disregard for health or well being pratfalls he used to do. Man was nut's, and at times it seemed he was attempting to hurt himself. Crazy stuff.
Wade Burck

Steve Copeland said...

That's why Ryan and I love him!

....and have little to no regard for our own health as far as pratfalls are concerned....

Anonymous said...

David, there are indeed non-comedy clowns. Believe me, I saw them with my own eyes last year. Seems Johnny Pugh snapped up the total North American supply of the non-comedy variety for his spectacle. Don't remeber if my arms were crossed or non, but I promise you, I would have been a prime target for any clown who thought his efforts were being under-appreciated.

Anonymous said...

A tad underwhelming doncha think?


BTW, David, the description of this video says it was a Feld produced Vegas show. Ever hear of it?

Pat Cashin said...

Peter Pitofsky is legendary.

He is a fearless improvisational comedian who began his career at Clown College and spent several years on the road as a Ringling clown. He has since worked around the world and, I believe, is still appearing in Teatro Zin Zanni in San Francisco.

David, before you do another thing, go and see Pitofsky.

Douglas McPherson said...

Reminds me of a pantomime I saw where the comedian said, "Who is this an impression of?" He folded his arms and scowled. Then he pointed to a guy in the front row and said, "Yes, it's you, sir!"