Episode 211 – 6th Anniversary with James Urbaniak and Mike Worden on Martin Mull

James Urbaniak and Mike Worden return to help celebrate the 6th anniversary of Comedy on Vinyl with our first discussion of Martin Mull’s work.

Host: Jason Klamm
Producer: Mike Worden
This Week’s Guest: James Urbaniak

A Night Called Tomorrow

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1 thought on “Episode 211 – 6th Anniversary with James Urbaniak and Mike Worden on Martin Mull

  1. Hello, and happy anniversary!

    Records were cheap in the early 70s so I would sometimes buy LPs solely on the basis of their cover art. That’s how I first heard Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture in Your Living Room! (my 2nd favorite Mull album after his 1974 release Normal, which had many of my favorite Mull songs incl. the titular track, and Flexible).

    You can see Mull perform Normal in this clip from his 1976 PBS Soundstage special, “60 Minutes to Kill.”

    There are more clips from this special, which included an appearance by Flo and Eddie and was “sponsored” by fast-food purveyor Bun & Run. The Bun & Run ads were created by The Firesign Theater and IIRC featured Peter Bergman and Phil Proctor. I can find only audio clips of these ads which don’t do them justice, though the jingle is spot-on 70s. However YouTube has the fake Firesign ad for Booby Chew, an old internet ‘wtf?’ favorite which first appeared on Mull’s special.

    You can find quite a few UTube clips of Martin’s live performances from the 70s. They’re easy to spot in the thumbnails because he’s usually sitting in a fussy old upholstered chair with an antimacassar on the back, next to a little side table or old floor lamp. I believe it was in his rider that venues had to go to local thrift shops and purchase castoff furniture for his performance.

    I saw Martin Mull at The Quiet Knight in Chicago, a small, intimate venue that hosted many big names. He was wonderfully funny and the crowd was great. It’s one of my favorite entertainment memories. Oh look – the internet remembers it too:
    http://www.obitoftheday.com/post/23166465419/obit-of-the-day-the-quiet-knight-richard (see Chicago Reader clipping)

    In other old news, the “Alice Playten-type” joke in the clip is a reference to (and by) the late, lovely Alice Playten, a very talented singer/actress who appeared in many theatrical shows including NatLamp’s Lemmings. She caught everyone’s attention in a popular Alka-Seltzer ad of the day, and later complained that casting agents were always on the lookout for “Alice Playten types” even though she, Alice Playten, was often available. Here is the ad that made her famous, which also features an early performance by “Weekend at Bernie’s” star Terry Kiser.

    In closing, Martin Mull has been on several podcasts hosted by Kevin Pollack, Tom Arnold and Norm MacDonald. I don’t like 2/3s of those hosts so I would be delighted if he made an appearance on CoV. You can also hear his daughter Maggie talk about her childhood on ep 211 of Paul Gilmartin’s podcast, Mental Illness Happy Hour.

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