The 2cnd last time I laughed so hard I needed medical help was when I was 12 at the Odeon Theatre in Winnipeg watching appropriately a farting cowboy scene in Blazing Saddles. It was too much for my brain or the brains of my 12 yr old friends. We fell out of our chairs and had out of control laugh spasms on the sticky coke and popcorn floor.
The last time I had such a uncontrollable fit was 20 years ago listening to Don Franks sing a song he found distasteful.
In 1995 I produced Shame Based Man for Bruce McCulloch for Atlantic Records co-writing music to Bruce’s monologues. One of them was about a bicycle courier and an older man having an affair at an airport lounge (something like that?)
Bruce being from television had a casting agent send in a few actors to audition while I accompanied them. I clearly remember the person who blew us away, it was surprising when Don Franks walked in because I already knew him and he was pissed off.
I knew him from the sauna room at the Jewish Community Centre at Spadina and College. Who doesn’t love a schvitz and conversation? Occasionally it was me and Don and after asking about his tattoos I learned he was not only a jazz singer and actor but had years of playing with genius of geniuses Lenny Breau.
He had a distinct man’s man tone to now he regaled me with stories about what’s what and who’s who.
“So you’re doing this shit huh?” He snarled half pitying me, half saluting me. He thought it was a shame, a decent musician was reduced to playing on this type of shit. He didn’t like the lyrics which was a strange message since he was trying to get the job. It sure increased the surrealism of the moment and my legs couldn’t stop wobbling while trying to play the chords. I was gasping for air, Bruce was giggling and thrilled about his luck. Don had the perfect voice.