Friday, August 13, 2010

The Great Philosopher, Red Green

While getting used to a new computer today, and needing to take a break from using the F word, I started thinking about Red Green. For the uninitiated, Red Green is a comedian from Canada who did a show on PBS called, of course, The Red Green Show. Some locations still show it in reruns for which I'm grateful. His character shares the show with his nephew, Harold, and a motley crew who display various levels of intelligence. It ain't pretty, but it sure is fun.

Now, I have to warn you, before you go looking him up or casting disparaging remarks about my level of humor, I admit to a rather low-brow mixed with bawdy sense of humor. I can appreciate dazzling wit, cultural and historical references gone awry, but it's the Three Stooges with slapstick galore, and folks of their ilk, that can really bring out the chuckles in me.

Last week, when I was looking for a distraction, I decided to turn on the television (television seems like such a retro word now, doesn't it?  Tele-vision) and see what it offered. I have three stations, but, thank goodness, one of them is PBS. There he was, Red Green. It couldn't have been better timing. He opens his show with, "Welcome to Possum Lake. Where men are men and Harold is my nephew."  In this episode, his nephew, Harold, who has a somewhat open-to-debate sexuality, was waiting at Possum Lodge for his blind date to show up, a date he'd found at an online dating site, sight unseen. He reads his description of what he was looking for and had posted online. Then his date shows up, who happens to be another male character on the show. Some minor, comical mayhem ensues. Unsure of how to handle this, they decide to go ahead with their "date," arguing about who's responsible for what as they go. The fun part was the "live" audience's response to Harold's "date" ... wild applause for what may have been a sideways coming-out-of -the-closet party for Harold.

Part of each show includes Red's attempts at being handy. These attempts always include duct tape. He says, "All it takes is a little imagination, some mechanical ability, and neighbors who mind their own business."  The episode I recently watched involved creating a barbecue spit for hot dogs rigged up by using bicycle tire spokes, with the bicycle being ridden in place while it turned the spokes with hot dogs over a live flame. It's almost impossible to describe his - let's call them novel -ideasHe makes Rube Goldberg look like a Shaker. He asks, "Sound ingenious? Sound incredible? Sound impossible? Who cares? I'm not listening."  And then he goes ahead and makes something like a lawn mower dragster, a portable garden in the back of a pickup truck, or a newfangled  "luxury" car using various parts of two derelict cars where he becomes Umberto Tortellini.

The possibilities are endless.

There's also a segment in which we watch Red and two other characters as they play a version of Password. The idea is to get the chosen person to say the chosen word within thirty seconds ... the word finally said by accident and as the punchline. All sorts of clues get thrown out to lead them to say it in a round-about fashion. For example: Red is trying to get Dalton to say the word  'paranoid.'

Red: You got two slippers. That makes a ...?
Dalton: Pair
Red; Someone bugs you, you get ...?
Dalton: Annoyed.
Red: Put 'em together. Put 'em together.
Dalton: You say someone's stealing my slippers to annoy me? You know, it's probably my neighbor, you know, 'cause he's trying to get me. Sometimes I sneak into his house at night and rearrange the furniture.
Red: Alright. And he thinks that way because he's ...?
Dalton: Caught me doing it.

And so on ...

I warned you.

As with all great comedians, his show contains humorous statements scattered with a grain of truth. One of my faves:  "There is historical significance to party boats going back to, um, Cleopatra, and, um, Moses, and, um, the crew of the Exxon-Valdez."

At the end of the show, he always talks to his wife, Bernice, usually with a double-entendre, saying "If my wife is watching, I'll be comin' straight home after the meetin'. All this lawyer stuff has got me thinkin', maybe later tonight, if you present me with your briefs, I'll recommend a merger."  Or, "Yes, I know it's the computer age, but let's not forget about personal interaction. When I get home, I want to show you that I'm user-friendly."   He says his goodbye and heads downstairs for the meeting of Possum Lodge, which always begins with,  "Quando, Omni, Flunkus, Moritadi,"  pseudo-Latin loosely translated as,  "When all else fails, play dead."  They follow it with the Man's Prayer,  "I'm a man. But, I can change. If I have to. I guess."   The meeting begins as the show closes. It's a bit of a holdover, but I think it's great fun. And we could all use that seems to me.

What really got me thinking today of Red Green was his closing statement, just before he goes downstairs to the meeting, a statement that makes me realize the simple proverbs contain the grandest truths of existence:  "Remember, I'm pullin'  for ya. We're all in this together."

Here's a link to a short segment of the Handy Man Corner, in which Red creates a new way to make coffee using a lawnmower: :


  1. wow, that sounds like a great show; had never heard of it. Duct tape is every man's dream. Just the other day Gary went to look at a motorhome and the couple's solution to a leaking roof was to apply duct tape over the whole roof and then paint it white - they said it hasn't leaked since. Comedy imitates life I guess. when Gary told me about the duct tape I had a great time imagining them applying it. you know how it sticks to itself and gets all tangled up and wondered how many rolls it took to cover the roof? We've yet to connect up our TV here, no reception, although we have one of those really tall antenna on a pole with a rotator thingy, hum have to check into that - if not just to see if we can get the Red Green show. Couldn't help but think about the Stop and go show for the Red Green. Ha, thanks for the laughs.

  2. That motorhome sounds like something straight out of Red Green. I have a roof antenna, too, but not a rotator thingy, so it allows only for the three channels. I have had cable and found the Springsteen song to be true- 67 (?) channels and nothing on... Only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert worth watching, and even that I can do without. Isn't it liberating to live without it?

  3. Too funny! I'm not much into slapstick humor, but this sounds fun. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bless your heart, Teresa. You can bring laughter to a funeral. I am in terrible need of a laugh today. And, I got one (several really) from your post.

  5. I needed the laugh, too. I'd look for Fred Green in reruns, but I'm afraid my husband Art would watch and laugh and then say, "See? I told you what I do makes sense!"

    Years ago we were taking a vacation with six kids in a motorhome, and I wanted them to be able to take their bikes. Art rigged up a bike rack that carried six bikes over 2,000 miles. He made it from an old mattress and bungee cords. When I said the contraption was embarrassing, he said, "Why? It works!"

    Still, we may tune in.

  6. Lynne! It's good to share some laughs. We certainly get enough of the other...

    Jack, I'm glad I could bring some laughter to the "party."

    Linda, six kids on vacation in a motorhome? No wonder you were looking forward to retirement! You're a braver woman than me... Gotta laugh when the computer crashes and the shredder breaks, eh? Forced meditation. :)

  7. I think that 3 channels, if one is PBS, are certainly enough...especially if you can find a classic favorite. Re. your comment on my blog today: No, it's not Madeline Island; it's Washington Island, Wi just off the tip of the northern Door County Peninsula. Have been going there since childhood and it's a traditional summer vacation. Far fewer tourists than the peninsula, more quiet and laid back. You'd enjoy it there. Long ride tho from St. Paul.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to check out this Red Green character. I love stand up comedy and all kinds of humor, really.

    Hope the new computer issues are smoothing out! That can be a royal pain.

  9. Teresa: Your so funny. I'm trying to get my kids to drop cable and go back to what I had when I was a kid (3 stations)...We grew up on Lawrence Welk/ Hee Haw and Green Acres....Everytime we went to Grandmas House it was Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. And yes the Red Green was one of my dads favorite shows along with Benny Hill. I think I understand your since of humor......Love the post.
    The Black Widow

  10. Thanks, Kate!

    Gail, You have a lot on your plate. Humor helps. Computer issues just resolved this evening....

    Black Widow: So good to hear from you. We had similar upbringings, i.e. tv shows, music. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for dropping by.

  11. I love Red Green too! I get a kick out of all the ingenious inventions he devises even if they are ridiculous. If you like Canadian humor, you might want to check Corner Gas, a sitcom about a small town in Saskatchewan. You can find reruns online at Veoh. Enjoy!

  12. Thanks for the suggestion. I will check it out.

  13. There ain't nothing that can be broken that can't be fixed with duct tape or WD 40, lol. Had forgotten about ol Red Green, thanks for posting!

  14. You're very welcome. I do love my WD40. Squeaks, begone!

  15. What a hoot! I'd never heard of this guy but, hey, it's a new day...hub heard me laughing, walked into the room and got hooked, too. Thanks for brightening tv possibilities. I'm not a big tube fan...too many fun other things to do...oh, remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding it was Windex? Now I'll chuckle when I see duct tape!

  16. Glad you both got a chuckle out of it.

  17. Red Green!!! Love Red Green ~ gosh ~ I didn't realize anyone outside of Canada watched that. And me being from Saskatchewan Canada ~ his humour hits home. (Duct tape really does have so many uses...) The Password game? Hilarious!! And remember his motto: "If the women can't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!" Bawhahahaha! sigh... classic!

    Popped over from QuoteReflections (Paul) to say 'Hi' ~ but I think I shall follow you and stay! :)

    Happy Weekend to you!

  18. Catherine, I'm glad you stopped by and "stayed." It was so nice of Paul to include me in his Saturday Serendipities. I look forward to paying you a visit, as well. Red Green is a real hoot, isn't he? Happy Weekend!