Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Unhappy birthday, Brother Theodore

Professional crank-philosopher Brother Theodore would have turned 100 a few days ago. If he weren't dead, that is.

A few pearls of wisdom from the man, via Wikipedia:

"I've gazed into the abyss and the abyss gazed into me, and neither of us liked what we saw."

"What do we know about the beyond? Do we know what's behind the beyond? I'm afraid some of us hardly know what's beyond the behind."

"I am what you call a 'controversial figure.' People either hate me or they despise me."

"The only thing that keeps me alive is the hope of dying young."

"The best thing is not to be born. But who is as lucky as that? To whom does it happen? Not to one among millions and millions of people."

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my sincere wish that immediately after my death, my head be severed from my body, and that it be replaced by a bouquet of broccoli. It's the artist in me."

"You can train a rat. Yes, if you work for hours and days and months and years, you can train a rat. But when you're done, all you'll have is a trained rat!"

"What this country needs, and I'm not joking, is a dictator. I feel the time is right, and the place congenial, and I am ready. I will be strict but just. Heads will roll, and corpses will swing from every lamppost."

"My name, as you may have guessed, is Theodore. I come from a strange stock. The members of my family were mostly epileptics, vegetarians, stutterers, triplets, nailbiters. But we've always been happy."

Of course, the source of these quotes being Wikipedia, I can't swear by the authenticity of them all, but they do ring true. (I'm a little suspicious of the broccoli one, though.)

He's probably best known for his frequent appearances on Letterman, but he had a long-running show in a small theater in NYC, not far from where I used to work. Unfortunately, I never went.

My friend Kim met him at a party a couple of years before he died. He was drawn to her and said he wanted her to star in a movie he was planning in which she would play a woman who goes mad and starts killing people.

Kim didn't quite know how to react to that. (I can't remember if she knew who he was when they met of if she found out afterwards.)

On Letterman, found on YouTube:

I have the feeling that frequent TVB visitor God Is My Codependent might have something to add.


God Is My Codependent said...

I was lucky enough to have seen Theodore down at the 13th Street theater, around 1989 or 1990. A mind-blowing show. I've got a bootleg of one of the shows (not the one I saw, and I don't know when it was recorded).

He put out two albums that I know of, a studio album called Presenting Theodore, which I have a tape of, and a live album (recorded at a midnight show in Carnegie Hall ini 19955) called Tears from a Glass Eye, with a Tongue of Madness, which I have an actual copy of.

I've also got a couple of mp3 collections of his TV appearances. Let me know if you want copies of any of this.

Some more pearls of wisdom:

"On record covers, I look like a pile of mud, but that's only because photography is still in its infancy."

[Apparently he has bad luck with visual presentation. When I went to see him live he reported that "On stage I look like a pile of mud, but that's only because stage lighting is in its infancy."]

"Purple was the crimson of her yellow hair."

"Listening to Brother Theodore doesn't make you a quadrupedist any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile." [If you don't know what a quadrupedist is, you need to listen to his album.]

And of course, his charming repartee with audience members is legendary.

"Sir, would you please remove your arm from around that lady's shoulder? I don't mind necking, but your amateurish fumbling is making me seasick."

To a woman: "How would you like to be Theodora?"

And to a patron who had dared to cough: "If you're sick, DIE!"

Blogone said...

Thanks TVB! It’s always nice to read and look at something and think WOW! That is genius. I’ve never heard of this guy now I must find out more.

To: God is my codependent, is the offer about the MP3s to the TVB or anyone in particular?

One more thing, I’ve only copped that the name is ‘God is my codependent’ and not ‘God is my correspondent’ which I had always assumed it was. Funny how you can glance at something and it sticks, either rightly or wrongly.

God Is My Codependent said...

Unfortunately, Blogone, there are copyright issues. I wish Theodore's 2 albums were more readily available. I don't mind making a private tapes for a friend, but I think I might have to answer to somebody if I offered them to everyone on the net. Sorry. Wish I could.