Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jack Blanchard's Column The Comedian February 12, 2019


I sang with The Dawn Breakers quartet in a show club called The Elmwood Casino
in Windsor, Ontario, across from Detroit.
The emcee was a very funny comedian named Frankie Rapp.
I once saw him in a Jerry Lewis movie.

There was also a classy female singer named Gloria Brooks.
She was Frankie's ex-wife.and she told me she didn't like old comedians.
She'd been married to two of them.
After comedians make us laugh we expect them to be jolly in real life.
They can be quite different .

Lou Costello got 60% and Bud Abbott got 40% of their income.
When asked if he thought he needed Abbott,
Costello said, "I could have him painted on the curtain."
Misty and I have known hilarious comics who were depressives offstage..
We got involved with one who was evil.

I was producing a Starday Records artist named Rusty Diamond,
who had a knack for getting rich women as backers.
Rusty wanted to put together a Vegas type stage show.
I knew he wasn't ready for that,
so I suggested we hire a comedy coach I'd heard of.
His name was Danny Rogers.

Rusty's backer was paying for the coaching sessions,
and the rent on a rehearsal hall.
Danny could be funny, lovable, humble, devious, and cruel.
He could be different people at different moments.
He did so many characters I didn't know which was the real him.
I think he was the mean one.

He'd been fired from Milton Berle's Vegas show for being too funny.
He told me "Berle was right. It was his show."

The potential comedy group consisted of Misty and me,
Paul McLaughlin our sax player, and Rusty was to be the star.
Rogers began calling Paul "the hick" and riding him mercilessly.
I was the designated straight man, Misty was "the chick".
It never became clear what Rusty was supposed to do.
It did become clear that Rusty was not going to be the star.
Danny was getting paid to train him, but Rusty was on his way out.
It was morphing into The Danny Rogers Group.

Rogers was a terrific comedian and I was to be his Dean Martin.
He didn't even want Paul in the act. That's why he made his life miserable,
but we made sure that Paul stayed.

To be fair, Danny did teach us a lot about stagecraft and comedy.
He taught us some great routines,
but he yelled at us all the time, which took the fun out of it.
Rusty's backers pulled the plug and he left the group,
Paul "the hick" was miserable,
and Misty and I were imagining fun ways to kill Danny Rogers.

Misty bought an expensive new dress
and Danny commanded her to "Never wear that again!"
Then he booked our act into a famous showplace in the Caribbean.
We all knew at that moment
that we were not going to be on any island with Danny Rogers.
We were actually afraid to tell him. He had become the cruel warden.
But we did tell him, and he wasn't at all happy.

First he became the poor soul who's been hurt, to make us feel guilty.
He was good!
Finally he got mad, did a troll dance, and left.
(Maybe I made up the troll dance.)

Ten years later, after we'd had several hit records,
I was calling old names in our address book for some reason,
and got Danny Rogers on the phone,
I asked if he remembered us, and he said this:
"Yeah. Too bad you never made it. I'm in the diamond business now."

With all our modern technology
\we still can't strangle jerks over the phone.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists
© Jack Blanchard, 2019.

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