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Chico Marx and other comedic players


tarkus

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I used to love the way Chico played piano -

It was fun stuff and his unususual playing style played into the 'sight gags'. A friend of mine could play the Chico reportoire to perfection including the (raised thumb - pointed index finger) 'pistol' accents. KE used to sneak some of this stuff into his performances.

 

Another was Art Carney - the famous 'Ed Norton' Swannee River intro's.

 

All good stuff!

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Originally posted by george costanza:

Chico was really a very good player, it usually takes a good performer to play the comic; of course his brother Harpo was another.

 

Victor Borge certainly deserves mention in this regard.

Victor Borge - great videos!
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My wife and I got married during the Marx Bros. revival during the mid-70s... and her grandmother sneaked one of Chico's songs into our wedding (no one at the wedding except us realized where it came from).

 

And we were also lucky enough to see Borge live before he passed away.

 

Dont forget that Dudley Moore was also a very good classically-trained pianist.

 

Mark Russell on PBS was funny about 15 years ago, but at least IMHO he played himself out a long time ago.

 

Steve Allen, the original host of The Tonight Show, composed and copyright a million songs and some went on to top the charts. Very funny guy.

 

And of course, Liberace made a jillion times what he would have as a concert pianist by incorporating comedy into his act.

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Saw Borge live too - brilliant guy.

 

Steve Allen supposedly did this thing where he released an album pretending to be an old black woman - bunch of piano blues, all in the same key. Got some good reviews before he fessed up. Talk about politically incorrect!

 

I'm also a big fan of Sesame Street's Don Music - there's a set of skits that were definitely written for the parents.

 

And how 'bout (Frank DeVol) Happy Kine?

 

Oh yeah, dunno how much piano he does, but Peter Schickele - aka PDQ Bach - rules!!! I saw him live, '75 or so, he introduced his pianist as having a black belt in piano - I've used that line ever since.

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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