“One hundred thousand years ago, a caveman was out hunting on the frozen wastes when he slipped and fell into a crevasse. In 1988, he was discovered by some scientists and thawed out. He then went to law school and became… Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.”
That was Saturday Night Live’s introduction for a series of skits starring the highlarious Phil Hartman.
The SNL skits are on my mind because I feel like Unfrozen Caveman Blogger. On January 17, Blogger froze my blog, saying, “Blogger’s spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. Since you’re an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.” Blogger said my blog would be reviewed and unfrozen within four business days. Ha! Liars. (To read all of Blogger’s automated messages to me, click here.)
I really don’t care for Google’s “shoot first, ask questions later” anti-spam tactic (Google owns Blogger). I’m not sure what effect this policy on actual spammers, but it certainly annoys the shizz out of the innocent. Watch out for your email too! Gorgeous blogger Jennine told me that her Gmail account was locked during an anti-spam sweep.
Enough about Google and its evil ways. Let’s get back to Phil Hartman. Phil’s life came to a sudden and tragic end in May 1998. Phil’s wife Brynn shot him to death while he slept and then killed herself. But his work lives on and nearly 10 years after his murder, Phil’s performances still bring me a lot of joy. This is my favorite Phil moment, as told by Jon Lovitz in the must-read Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.
Lovitz said, “You know, we do that sketch Jim Downey wrote, ‘Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein.’ So they did it once where it was like a talk show…. And Phil is Frankenstein and all of a sudden he starts laughing, right, like he just completely broke up — ha ha, you know, he laughed out loud. And then he stopped.”
Lovitz continued, “And then about fifteen seconds later, he just completely lost it. So then of course we all started laughing, because he’s just losing it. And I’m thinking, ‘What is he doing? We’re on live television. It’s not the Groundlings.’ . . . So afterward I asked him, I said, ‘What happened? What was so funny?’ So he said, well, he was sitting there as Frankenstein and something happened, and thinking about how silly the sketch was, you know, just the idea of it made him laugh all of a sudden. So he started laughing. And then he stopped, right? And then, he said, he was sitting there thinking how funny it must have looked to see Frankenstein laugh like that. And then that just made him like lose it.”
You might want to snoop around YouTube for the laughing Frankenstein clip, but SNL beats a bitch’s ass whenever its old content winds up online so I won’t bother linking to anything there. Here’s the transcript of the skit. And check out these DVDs:
- Saturday Night Live: The Best of Phil Hartman
- NewsRadio: The Complete First and Second Seasons. NewsRadio was the sitcom Phil starred in after leaving Saturday Night Live. All five seasons are on DVD. The fifth season dealt with his death in a very loving way (his character died of a heart attack). His old friend Jon Lovitz replaced him on the show.
- The Simpsons. Phil contributed many voices to the show in seasons 2-10.
In conclusion, I give you the life lesson that I learned from Phil Hartman: It’s always good to be able to laugh at yourself, and then to laugh at yourself laughing at yourself. But don’t laugh at yourself laughing at yourself laughing at yourself. That disturbs the other patients and annoys Nurse Ratched.
UPDATED TO ADD: It will take me a little while to catch up on tags, awards and thank yous that have piled up while I was a Frozen Caveman Blogger. I’m working on it.