Saturday, October 12, 2013

Underrated Bits - By Ian Abramson

Ian Abramson
I'm sure by now we've all heard that Henry Soapfloats, Legendary Chicago Prop Comic died October 1st 2013 at the age of 130. We all remember his act lovingly, and are able to recite it word for word, prop for prop.I can't even tell you how hard I laughed when he brought a live bull on stage, tied a trumpet to it's neck, and said he wanted to take it by the horn. But most of the world never got to experience his particular genius.

Henry's death made me think of all the other wonderful, underrated bits in the world. I figured I should make a list of bits I don't hear enough about in my opinion. Maybe if we paid a bit more attention to bits, we'd have a bit more peace. So here are some bits that I love, that I think Henry Soapfloats, Legendary Chicago Prop Comic would have loved, and I want the whole world to love.

This first bit was a major part of Jerry Lewis's career, but has become all but forgotten in modern comedy. Say what you want about Jerry Lewis, about how this type of comedy is extinct, about your conspiracy theory of choice, or whatever your point may be, but this makes me laugh.

This next bit is in two parts. The genius is in that they go back to back, so definitely watch both.You may recognize Lavell Crawford from Breaking Bad, but his stand-up is just SO good! I watch this bit like once a month because it's so perfectly written. I know Henry would have loved it:

This isn't so much a bit, as a sketch. But it's by Sid Caesar, whom Henry Soapfloats, Legendary Chicago Prop Comic adored. Comedy nerds know Sid Caesar as assembling one of the most famous group of writers of all time. Early in their careers he hired Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, and numerous others to write for him. The sketch is paced differently, is longer than your average modern sketch, and the laughs come from a different place, but that's why I love it. The brilliance shines through in how different it is.

It's easy to forget that Eddie Murphy was the biggest comic of his time. He was a total rock star. There's a lot of his material that I don't think holds up for a variety of reasons, but with this first bit, I get it. It has a song, so much physicality, and it just keeps getting better with each beat.

Lastly, probably my favorite bit of all time is from Plant Cell. Plant Cell is another one of those comics we've all seen, but never managed to get very big. Probably my all time favorite bit is when Plant Cell splits. Maybe this bit is too popular to really justify being on a list of underrated bits, but I just don't see many people taking the sort of chance that Plant Cell does here. I swear, if I were able to pull off splitting myself into a duplicate onstage, you better believe it'd be MY closer, and my new clones opener.


I'm also very happy to announce that Plant Cell has already RSVP'd to Henry Soapfloats funeral. On October 18th, were having a funeral for Henry Soapfloats Legendary Chicago Prop Comic. It'll be at 9pm, at the The Parlor (1434 N. Western). As Henry has back taxes, and no family to cover it, there will be a suggested donation of $5 to close friends of Henry Soapfloats, Legendary Chicago Prop Comic.

Contributing Writer: Ian Abramson
Ian is a writer and comedian, you can catch him performing at showcases all around the Chicago comedy scene.