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Friday, 11 June
Nobody Remembers Eating Corn

Tonight as the wife and I watched The Daily Show, we were ostensibly treated to footage from the recent Tony Awards: it showed, incredibly, LL Cool J rapping onstage with the deathless, eerie, corn-joke-that-will-live-forever Carol Channing. (If you don't know the corn joke, the handy internet can probably help you out.) It was seriously "HOLY SHIT!" footage, and I literally--literally! (certain friends will appreciate this)--clutched my skull in horrified wonder. There was Commodore Ladies Love Cool James, spinning some rhymes and pretending like he never heard the word "Rollerball," and right next to him was this emaciated chicken neck clad in tinfoil doing a rather alarming kind of Frug.

The Tony Awards. Baffling. To tell the truth, I didn't even know when it ran. And, as far as I know, neither did any of my actor friends; that, or nobody was going to admit to it. The Tony Awards quite simply blow mangy dogs, and are of no relevance to anyone with a lick of sense. Hey, let's honor the BEST OF AMERICAN THEATER! And wouldn't you know it? Every year, it's to be found in New York City! What a strange phenomenon! Musicals? They're really GREAT! Especially piles of shit like "Wicked," which is a (by all reports) utterly mundane belt-fest based on a novel that is, in itself, a pile of shit. WHOOPEE! It is really a testament to the utter hubris of NYC/Broadway that these dreary awards can even pretend to have a whiff of credibility or gravitas. Winning a Tony is a lot like being the Great Neck Pork Queen--sure, you get a nice trophy; unfortunately, someday, others are bound to see it.

"Hugh Jackman! I remember you! You took off your shirt in some horrible play I saw!"

"Yeah, it's me. Listen, give yourself a break and go rent X-Men."

"What about Swordfish?"

"You're not listening. Rent X-Men."

In unrelated news, last Christmas (note that this is June, here), the wife received some gift cards, one of them from JC Penney's. So she did a little online shopping, and bought some clothes. This was horribly unwise, as it turned out. (I got a card myself, but I spent it on failsafe things like a spice rack and a DVD.) When she got her merchandise, it was rather gruffly shoved into plastic bags, which were then also gruffly shoved into plastic shipping bags, so the whole process of liberation of said clothes was sort of like peeling away thick sheets of dead skin cells in order to get at a tumor.

At the time--months ago--I remember her unveiling the goods. One horrible garment appeared to be built by angry, retarded gnomes; it was allegedly a blouse, but seemed to be constructed of the same sort of thin paper that bar coasters are made of. The gaily-colored print that seemed nice in the catalog looked, in reality, like a cheap shroud for a disliked florist. A pair of pants that she had found attractive had the texture of tent canvas. It was possibly the most dispiriting package of merchandise ever to be countenanced by humans. If someone put this crap into a space module, and it was found by aliens, they would probably think, "Holy Baltoods, Meat Unit BARL 4! We must endeavor to avoid these beings. Did you see these bras? They're made out of bark."

So the wife sent the horrible crap back. Months ago. (Remember, this is JUNE!) She simply asked for a refund, if possible, knowing that they might get snitty about a refund, as it was a gift card purchase from a third party. But hey, no problem, JC Penney--some time later--sent a refund check. Cool! No more canvas pants!

The check bounced. From JC Penney.

I'm in contact with Sondheim. He's all over writing some tunes for my notional show, such as "Itchy Ass" and "How To Stuff A Mild Bikini." We're going to rake the Tonys, I predict. All I need are Hugh Jackman and Carol Channing.

I wonder if we can work in a bit about corn.


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Comments

Cawwwnn? Now, wiiin did I eat thaaat?

Comment number: 004816   Posted by: Succa on June 11, 2004 07:42 AM from IP: 209.112.42.148

I can't find it. But I think I can figure it out.

JCPenney check bounced?!? Is the end near?

Comment number: 004817   Posted by: dayment on June 11, 2004 09:16 AM from IP: 64.105.86.146

I can't figure it out, and the internet is zero help. So help you god, skot...I live in the same city as you and you'd better come up with some kind of explanation for this corn joke thing.

Comment number: 004818   Posted by: Daniel Talsky on June 11, 2004 09:28 AM from IP: 216.231.50.100

Travelling tour of Hello Dolly. Lowly chorus member in the can when said Ms. Channing enters the stall next to hers for an evening constitutional. Lowly chorus member gets up to leave and while washing hands overhears the following, in that implacable voice:

"corn, I don't remember eating corn!"

or succa's punchline also works.

of the apocryphal channing stories, my fave is the one about the secret santa exchange, and the punchline goes "because they're watermelons, silly!"

Comment number: 004819   Posted by: beignet on June 11, 2004 09:35 AM from IP: 66.114.231.2

Sorry about that. I really thought that the corn joke was pervasive enough to be easily Googled, but it's sort of not.

Comment number: 004820   Posted by: Skot on June 11, 2004 09:53 AM from IP: 66.150.9.2

Carol Channing is the cooliest thing ever. And I bet SHE can find something cool at JCPenny, so ha!

Beep!

Comment number: 004821   Posted by: Ed on June 11, 2004 03:15 PM from IP: 66.65.10.255

Does that count as a joke or is it an anecdote? To get all specific about it

Since I don't get it if it's a joke--like can I substitute 'Barbara Streisand' when the years go by and no one remembers Carol Channing anymore?

A day may come when I need that joke and I just want to make sure.

Comment number: 004822   Posted by: Miel on June 11, 2004 04:31 PM from IP: 151.203.59.244

Miel, the joke truly only works if done in the Channing voice, which can shred cabbage all on its own.

Skot, I think most right-minded people in this country have heard the story, so Google must be faulty somehow.

And I'll have you know that the number from Fiddler on the Roof had me crying like a baby. You see, they had all these "traditions"...

Comment number: 004823   Posted by: on June 11, 2004 09:35 PM from IP: 207.69.137.36

Try: corn joke carol channing. 7th entry I see is a diaryland site that describes the joke. Anyway, I watched the Tony Awards all the way through for the first time ever, because a friend of mine was nominated this year. He didn't win, but he was there wearing his Anatevka facial hair and grinning sweetly (Hi John!) I always thought the Tonys were just like the Oscars--the best of the industry. But while watching the broadcast I learned that not only do they only nominate plays and musicals ON Broadway (they don't even pretend to be honoring all theater, not even all theater in NY), but they are sponsored by some org. I've never heard of -- Something like the American Theater Wing? So, I guess it's a bit like going to a high school graduation--it's sort of exciting if you're in it and it's mildly interesting if you know someone in it, but if not, it's long and airless and you can't remember why you're there.

Comment number: 004824   Posted by: kath on June 12, 2004 12:41 PM from IP: 142.167.33.122

You know, I was wondering why I was getting an inordinate number of hits from people looking up "carol channing" and "corn." Ha!

Comment number: 004825   Posted by: Lisa on June 13, 2004 02:59 PM from IP: 24.91.138.147

Don't knock Wicked 'til you've seen it, dude. That aside...yeah, the Tonys are bullshit. I love theatre, musical and otherwise (yeah, I know, shut up, I'm ashamed of myself) but Kath pretty much nailed it.
Except I think they're pretty much the same as the Oscars, which I don't think highly of at all. A big fucking popularity contest among a very select few participants.
And this year's was embarrassing. LL Cool J? Mary J Blige? Renee Zellweger? Who the hell ARE you people and why are you at the fucking TONYS?! I will never be able to forget Mary J Blige mangling "What I Did For Love," NEVER.
If the legitimate "best" anything ever wins, it's sheer coincidence (I'm still bitter about 1998's Best Actress in a Musical). I watch every year because living in Manhattan and pretty much only having theatre to entertain me, inevitably someone I know or someone a friend of mine knows is nominated, or performing, or is in a show that's nominated. But...yeah, they suck.
Shit, the IFP West awards have begun to suck. What hope is there for any other awards show?

Comment number: 004826   Posted by: CG on June 14, 2004 12:31 PM from IP: 68.161.130.176

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