Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Mae West: Campus Scout

The battles of MAE WEST and the censors inspired a young poet in Chicago to pen this 8-line verse called "Lament."
• • You didn't know the Campus Scout
• • Was treated like Mae West; 
• • For after writing all my jokes
• • Some scrounge-o cut the best.
• • Oh, Mae, you have my sympathy,
• • We share a sorry plight; 
• • Oh, Mae, you share my misery,
• • So, can I c'me up tonight?
• • Source: Poem "Lament" in The Daily Illini; published on Sunday, 9 September 1934.
• • On Sunday, 9 September 1934 • •
• • "Me and My Past" was reprinted in Delaware Star on Sunday, 9 September 1934.  Among other matters, Mae West discusses ("How Her Famous Gait Was Born with Ed Wynn and Frank Tinney") the development of her slow, studied, slouchy strut while appearing on Broadway in "Sometime" with Ed Wynn, a comedian who moved very quickly across the stage.
• • On Friday, 9 September 1927 in Variety • •
• • Variety was not impressed with Mae West's harmonica playing in "The Wicked Age."  They were not amused by "Satisfied" nor the other songs she thought up like "My Baby's Kisses."  But the most startling element was her racy, tummy-tossing physicality.  Variety reprimanded her in their review: "Miss West is getting away at $3.85 with something the [burlesque] wheels don't dare at $1.65." [Variety's issue was dated for Friday, 9 September 1927.]
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • "Political Boom for Mae" • •
• • Worcester, Mass. — — Mae West nearly broke into politics in the Suffolk district when, at a recent Democratic convention, she polled two votes for secretary. Mae went down to defeat, however, when a poll was demanded and her supporters declined to identify themselves.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "All my pictures have made big money."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Joan Rivers mentioned Mae West in her stage act.
• • Joan Rivers  [8 June 1933 — 4 September 2014] • •
• • Joan Rivers was born in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, 8 June 1933 — — forty years after Mae West was born in the borough. When Mae died in 1980, Joan was then 47 years old.
• • Brooklyn's Botoxed Bio-Pic Star • •
• • There may be something that's piped into Brooklyn water, though, that makes an entertainer refuse to close the book and blow out the candles. Certainly, Mae West never spent much time in a rocking chair. Ditto for Kings County's Joan Rivers, who was still doing stand-up in her 80s and telling jokes onstage about having anal sex.  Unlike Mae's humor, Joan's material was very blue.  Unlike the Brooklyn bombshell, Joan was not surrounded by men.
• • Attending Mae West's funeral in 1980 is one thing the comedienne discussed in her 2008 stage show "Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress by A Life in Progress" in England.  When Joan intoned “she outlived her fame,” it is understood that Miss Rivers surely intended to avoid that.
• • For a comedienne who boasted about writing new one-liners all the time, however, here's the irony. Many of us wonder why Joan Rivers was rarely funny, never memorable, and almost never clever. If you can find even one Joan Rivers joke worth repeating, let us know.
• • "What Joan Rivers does isn't funny or clever or contemporary" • •
• • About Janeane Garofalo, for example, Joan Rivers said: "She looks like a bag lady," Rivers sniped. "Is this girl a pig or what?"
• • Janeane Garofalo had this to say: "I've been known in my day to be acerbic, so I have no leg to stand on, but what Joan Rivers does isn't funny or clever or contemporary," Garofalo said in response. "But with me, she took it to extremes. She said I was an embarrassment to the institution of the Emmys, that I looked like a bag lady — no offense to bag ladies — and then she said, 'Is this girl a pig or what?' I thought, 'Now you've gone too far!'"
• • "Once you read Joan River’s jokes, you realise they’re bad" • •
• • According to Fraser McAlpine of the BBC: Joan Rivers, whose act often consists of finding unsayable things to say about sensitive issues, is in the middle of a big media windbag hurricane because she said some things about Adele’s weight and rather than ignore her, or issue a smackdown of her own about plastic surgery, Adele responded by demanding an apology, as if she was the victim of a crime.
• • The BBC's Fraser McAlpine continued: So it’s all a bit of a nothing, except that once you read Joan’s jokes, you realise they’re… bad. They’re not good jokes.
• • Fraser McAlpine observed: The real crime isn’t that the outrageous comic Joan Rivers is poking fun at a successful singer, that’s basically her job. No, the crime here is that the outrageous comic Joan Rivers can’t think of anything funnier to say about Adele than this, from The David Letterman Show:
• • “She sang live and said, ‘My throat, my throat, I don’t know if I can swallow.’ And I said, ‘Oh, you can swallow.'”
• • Fraser McAlpine summed it up for the BBC audience: That’s the peak moment of Joan’s wit on the topic, a resounding six-out-of-ten gag.  ...
• • Active on TV, still doing sets at comedy clubs, and booked to the end, Joan Rivers had out-patient surgery on her vocal cords and went into cardiac arrest. She never regained consciousness and died in New York on Thursday, 4 September 2014. The comedienne was 81.
• • Source: to read a more traditional obituary of Joan Rivers, see The L.A. Times, etc. ; published on Thursday, 4 September 2014
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 3,000th blog post • •    
• • This blog got 670 views yesterday! Thank you one and all! 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3000th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West poem about Mae in 1934

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