Friday, March 25, 2011

Remember the Time...When Comedy was Art


My work week was really hectic, and I so looked forward to coming home this afternoon with the knowledge that my agenda is completely free for the weekend. I arrived home a little before six, turned on the TV and promptly fell asleep. After an hour or so, I awoke and started searching for something to eat. My search was not in vain… I found a can of bean dip, chips, and a couple of pieces of Dove dark chocolate. I took my treasures back to the living room, plopped down on the couch, and scrolled through the hundreds of channels on the TV. Low and behold there was nothing to watch!  Undaunted, I gazed down at my two dogs who were drooling as they stared at my dinner of bean dip and chips, as I attempted to keep the cat from jumping in my lap as she prowled down the back of the couch. I chewed on a chip and contemplated putting in an old movie, and then it came to me, and I knew just what to do… Nexflix instant play to the rescue!
I rewound the clock, so to say, to the time when there were only three channels on television, and tuned in to an episode of The Red Skelton Show. I loved variety shows growing up, and Red was one of my very favorites. Some of you may have never had the pleasure of watching a true artist at work, but this multi-talented man warmed my heart week after week when I was a child. This was in the day when every show was announced, “And now in living color”… I always wondered what that was like because we only had black and white TV. As I said it’s been a hectic week at work, so please forgive my rambling.
I laughed and cried as I watched Red perform his familiar roles of Clem Kadiddlehopper, Freddy the Freeloader, and his famous mime. His stand-up routine was quite good and not at all offensive. Several of his statements really reached out to me, and in hopes they will resonate with you as well, I will share a couple of quotes today from this episode of Red Skelton’s show.

“I don’t need to wear glasses, but I’ve reached the age where my curiosity is greater than my vanity.” ~ Red Skelton

(I’m there, Red!)

The second quote is a description of “Who is Freddy the Freeloader?”

“Freddy is a little bit of you, a little bit of me. He’s found out what love means. He knows the value of time. He’s found out that time is a glutton that eats up life. We say that there’s plenty of time for this or that…the trick is to apply it. Our greatest disease in the world is procrastination, and Freddy knows about all these things and so do you. He doesn’t ask anyone to provide for him because it would be taken away from you. He doesn’t ask for equal rights if he knows it means you’ll give up some of yours…and he knows one thing -that patriotism is greater than guns. He’s nice to everybody because he was taught that man was made in God’s image. He’s never met God in person, but the next fellow just might be him. I would say Freddy is a little bit of all of us.” ~ Red Skelton

This second quote really touched my heart. It brought to mind a story I read long ago by Leo Tolstoy. I wish I could remember the name of the book. I had it for a very long time, and then lent it to someone and it was never returned. I think that person needed the book much more than I did. Anyway, the book was a collection of three or four short Christmas stories written after Tolstoy became a Christian. The story that Red’s quote triggered in my mind was about Christ walking amongst us in human form. In the story God traveled from place to place seeking to find someone who would show a stranger hospitality and kindness. He visited many before he found what he desired.  If you’ve read the book, maybe you will be kind enough to message the title to me. I’d love to find another copy of it.
My blog may seem to have gotten off track, but memories are what it’s all about. Hopefully, memories some of you will enjoy and relate to.

“And now I will say goodnight and God bless” ~ Red Skelton

As always, I pray God’s blessings upon you,

                         Red Skelton Clem Kadiddlehopper Sketch


  1. Ah Susan...I just love this post. I know we're dating ourselves here but I have such fond memories of those variety shows too. Weren't those the days? (LOL) Blessings! Dolores

  2. Those were the days, Dolores! Red Skelton, as well as Carol Burnett brought laughter, warmth, and comfort that radiates to viewers around the world even now. These are still some of my favorites shows to "go back" and watch today! :)Susan