Thursday, September 02, 2010

There’s Something About Sarah: Her Voice, Her Name

Fig. 1: They've both got 'presence' . . .

Sarah the P. may not be related to Michael Palin of Monty Python fame, but the very cartoonyish-goonyish-loonyish quality of her VOICE and her ENUNCIATION make her a terrific candidate for a 4th-string comedy pageant, like a back-row support voice on the Tennessee Tuxedo Show, for crying out loud. The proof is in the pudding in any of the Al Jazeera clips covering Glenn Beck’s holy hallucination tent show on the Mall recently. Incidentally, Glenn looked fabulous in the new specs, and that sleek belly suit to keep his gut from scattering was hot. Bill Kristol should be so lucky!

I always thought that after his ‘guilty’-plea of resignation, Dick Nixon should’ve headed straight to Vegas to get going on his true destiny: stand-up comedian on the Strip. Surely Rip Taylor and Shecky Greene were just waiting for him to show up, so as to advise. Rip’s proven gimmicks of glamé robes and handbells should have at least been tried by the ex-Pres, and Shecky certainly could’ve road-tested some goy schtick on the Quaker mama’s boy to rustle up some laughs from the blue-haired ladies. But dammit, he didn’t show, preferring to grandstand for Frostie so as to provide future acting ‘meat’ for Frank Langella instead of Anthony Hopkins. But there’s always ‘Milhous: A White Comedy’ to sigh over.

And soon-to-be-ex-Senator and GOP turncoat Arlen Specter? You know, he’s pretty damn good in front of a brick wall with the hand-held and the spotlight. In fact he’s downright hilarious in his dry ‘n dried-up shaky-old-geezer routine. Much better than Bob Dole’s Viagra act. By a longshot, baby. So Arlen? When it’s time to hang up the Beltway borscht routine, head on out to probable-soon-to-be-ex-Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Mormon-founded valley. Hang out with Jerry’s Kids this Labor Day weekend. Lasso some gags. Next thing you know, you’ll be opening at the Copacaboo Room. Vegas audiences, burnt out on the over-produced turbo-shows that have ruled the Strip ever since Roy’s neck got torn open (or was it Siegfried?), will flock to your Great Tradition gigs. Marty Allen LIVES!

And Tony Blair, now that he has an imaginatively titled ‘auto’-bio coming out (I’m sure he scrawled every word of it, just like Churchill actually did), can next join the panto circuit (the UK’s version of rubber chicken fun shows - most of which are expertly produced, BTW), to finally allow his plummy elocution to swish over appalled audiences, which is what it was always meant to do. Sorry Tony, no Old Vic (or Young Vic) or West End for you. Nor even ‘No Sex Please, We’re British’ farces. Nope, thou shalt tour the seaside resorts as thy 20-year apprenticeship, before you can even think about Archie Rice status in, say, Redcar or Cleethorpes.

But Sarah, Sarah the P. . .

Wait a minute. Problem with the name. (An ‘Esther Blodgett’ moment, to be sure!) ‘Sarah’ is too lefty-sounding. Reminds me of Ava Gardner’s Sarah versus George C. Scott’s Abraham in ‘The Bible’; still lookin’ good, but left of center. Man, some kind of left of center, with the beads and the tents and gettin’ knocked up . . . And for chrissakes, ‘Palin’ sounds, well, pallid, dainty, British . . . (Sorry Michael, this has no bearing on you, I’m a true fan.)

Gotta come up with something else for the show. How about: just S.P.? You know, initials? S. and P. Should go over big with sympathetic Big Oil word-associators: S.P. . . . B.P., get it? But instead of British Petroleum, it’s Sarah’s Petroleum. Huh? Kids’ll love the wordplay.

But the show, the show’s the big deal. Let’s tack on something like Billo’s ‘factor’, but not so faggy-sounding. How about IMPACT? ‘THE S.P.-IMPACT!’ All in caps, all the time. Yeah! I’ll even throw in the exclamation point for free. And on the show, she doesn’t even have to have a proper name: it’ll just be ‘S.P.’ Cue announcer: “And now, the hostess of the ages, with ageless advise for all, the one and only S! P!” Killer. OK, we got that outa the way.

Prob is, when Sarah tries to be funny, she just isn’t. Remember her SNL gig with the REAL Sarah P., Tina F.? So, any premise for her in showbiz will have to be resolutely serious – as, admittedly, has already been the case – so that her comedy can shine. But Fox is going about it all wrong. Her management (get Mike Ovitz on the phone, NOW) should try the ‘indirect’ approach. Get some decent gag writers who know how to shift the blame from the performer to the audience. We gotta turn this thing around so the joke’s back on the audience, where it belongs, and not on Sarah – I mean S.P.

We all know her Miss Lenscrafter looks are soon headed for the Maybelline/Breck dumpster, so we gotta act fast. There’s still some decent damage control outlets to be found in Vegas, and they’d better be tapped, but pronto.

Tricky Dick may have missed his chance, but S.P.’s on the verge of skippin’ up the steps of the showbiz pantheon. Somebody, please, help her. Before someone better comes along. Because it’ll happen. Just you wait ‘n see.