On the 1981 Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live, an extraordinary musical and sociological event happened: The punk band FEAR performed, and it was shocking for anyone who saw it live, and the footage would get buried by NBC executives for decades.
We may never see anything like it again in our lifetimes.
“They look very frightening,” said the SNL host, English actor Donald Pleasence, “but they’re really nice people … ladies and gentlemen, FEAR.”
“1234, 1234”, and then mayhem broke out, “Live from New York.” This was a time before the Internet, Netflix and cable TV. Network television used to be a really big deal. Ask your grandparents.
But first a little back story, from Philly.
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In the name of all that is good and holy in this world, please do not order an Irish Car Bomb this weekend.
For the uninitiated, an Irish Car Bomb is a drink made up of Guinness Stout, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson’s Whiskey. The whiskey and cream are poured into a shot glass, then dropped (liked a bomb) into the pint glass of Stout.
INTROIBO AD ALTARE DEI!
It must be chugged quickly, otherwise the concoction will curdle. It tastes the same coming back up your throat as it does going down, so it’s like getting two drinks (or six) for the price of one. It’s very popular with the post-collegiate Erin Express crowd, right around this time of year. They also like to scream after each drink like it was their first drink, ever.
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Back in the ’90s, I lived in an apartment off Sunset Boulevard, where I had quite the assortment of neighbors, including Ellen “Grandma Walton” Corby, Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, and a struggling actor named Oscar Nuñez. Oscar was a performer at the Groundlings sketch comedy school, and I’d go see him perform.
I remember one show in particular in which each performer got five minutes to do a character of their own creation, and after watching one excruciatingly annoying character named “The Masshole,” I wanted to walk out. But I stayed to support Oscar.
The Masshole bit was just five minutes of a guy doing a bad Boston accent. No jokes. Just an accent, like “My brudda pahked his cahr in the yahd not fahr from Havaaad Yahd. It’s a wicked Camaraaa…” I remember thinking at the end of the gig, “Don’t quit your day job, kid.”
That kid was Jimmy Fallon.
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