When our new carpets were installed, I was telling people that it had been so long since we had cleaned behind some of our furniture, we found one of our son’s old diapers under his bed. (He just turned 25.)
I stole that joke from Phyllis Diller, who sadly passed away last week.
If I had repeated that in one of my columns, it would have been downright theft. But when sitting with friends on your sofa sipping a wine cooler, you can get away with a little petty larceny.
I heard Ms. Diller use that line on the old Jack Paar Show some 50 years ago.
Yes, I remember every zinger I hear. It’s a curse, really.
Of course, Ms. Diller told it with greater aplomb and it didn’t hurt that she was dressed like Lady Gaga. By the way, Ms. Diller’s life and analyses of her work have been in all the media. You could Google her, but if you want to see something really googly, take a look at her eyes on a YouTube video.
In April of 1987, Phyllis Diller was in Indianapolis for a live performance at one of the local theaters. I was hosting A.M. Indiana, WTHR-TV Channel 13’s talk show from Union Station, and Ms. Diller graciously accepted an invitation to appear on the program. I was then, as I am now, fascinated with the process of humor and the construction and delivery of a joke. But I knew that a one-on-one interview for an hour with the comic legend on this topic would fall flat, too analytical for the average viewer. Instead, I phoned five local fledgling comics who were starting their careers at Crackers and other comedy clubs, and asked them to join me on the set. I thought their interaction with the legend would make better TV.