Waxing Nostalgic Over Classic TV

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tom Waits Visits Fernwood

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

When Barth Gimble and Tom Waits get together, you can only imagine what wackiness might ensue.

This very funny video from 1977 is a clip from one of my all-time favorite shows, Fernwood 2Nite, a spinoff from the very popular Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman show. Both shows were created by Norman Lear. Barth Gimble was played by the brilliant Martin Mull, with his very funny announcer, Jerry Hubbard, played by Fred Willard.

Fernwood 2Nite was a talk show set in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio. It looked like your basic community access cable channel, and was known for its parade of unusual guests. On this particular night, Tom Waits' van just happened to break down on the way to a gig in Toledo, so he dropped by the set to sing a song and chat with Barth and sidekick Jerry.

Tom Waits, of course, is not your typical singer, but he's always been one of my favorites. A critic once said that his voice sounds "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months and then taken outside and run over with a car." I think that's pretty accurate.

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