Texas Flooding Kills Great-Grandmom, Four Young Kids

A great-grandmother and her four great-grandchildren were killed amid heavy flooding in the east Texas town of Palestine, police said.

Podcast Review: <i>Schmoozecast</i>

2016-04-30-1462047452-2269040-comedyUSAschmoozecast.jpgBringing it old school, New York comedian and former publisher of Comedy USA magazine Barry Weintraub has begun meeting up with comic buddies at a tiny studio that’s been built at the Comic Strip to talk about the biz on his Schmoozecast. (To prove how long the Comedy USA concept has been around, there’s an interview on the site with Jerry Seinfeld from 1986!)

Weintraub’s guest in the most recent drop is John Mulrooney. Mulrooney started doing standup in the late 70’s and, like many of his East Coast brethren, heard the siren’s song of television and was lured out to Los Angeles during the comedy boom of the 80’s and early 90’s.

And he ended up doing his share of TV stints — from appearances on The Tonight Show and taking over the reins of a late night talk show on Fox Television that had been hosted by Joan Rivers, to getting another gig at the same network for two years of hosting Comic Strip Live and many other TV spots as well.

Given their shared history coming up through the comedy ranks of New York, though, it isn’t long before Weintraub and his guest are recalling the early days of hell gigs and one nighters (often the same thing) in clubs long gone that once stood within a gas tank’s load outside of town.

There are also rollicking tales of shooting handguns outside Las Vegas (Mulrooney is a gun enthusiast) and the sorts of things he’s up to now when he’s not still popping up on stage along the Eastern seaboard. It seems he’s always been a fan of law enforcement, to the extent that he got himself a part-time patrolman gig with a small police force in a town with a name only a comic could love: Coxsackie, New York.

It seems old comics never die, their lives just get more ironic.

(Note: This podcast is not yet available via iTunes.)

• • •

Podcasts I’m also listening to this week: Chillpak Hollywood Hour — #467: The LA Breakfast Club, and Taboo Tales — Diane Pershing & The Illegal Transaction

• • •

The Schmoozecast review and other podcasts mentioned originally posted as part of This Week In Comedy Podcasts on Splitsider.com.

Marc Hershon is the host and executive producer of Succotash, The Comedy Podcast Podcast, featuring clips from comedy podcasts from across the Internet as well as interviews with podcasters, comedians, and assorted show biz folk.

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Grueling Trek to U.S. Strands Cuban Migrants in Panama

Thousands of undocumented Cubans are stranded in Panama, straining humanitarian agencies amid fears that U.S. immigration policy could soon change.

Ted Cruz Responds to Caitlyn Jenner’s Bathroom Break

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to reality TV star and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner and the controversy surrounding so-called “bathroom bills.”

My Encounter With Merle

Dean Opperman here the story of my encounter with the great Merle Haggard.

It was 1983, i was co hosting the Dean & Don Show on KKDJ Fresno where the Fresno State basketball team had just won the National Invitational Tournament.

Our morning show crooner, Bobby Volare, had cut a song commemorating the achievement, a parody of Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee called I’m Proud To Be a Bulldog From Cal State Fresno. It wasn’t great but it was timely and with the Bulldogs getting national attention we had something of a hit on our hands.

One of the local ad agencies saw this as a great promotional opportunity and offered to press a red vinyl picture disc of Bobby’s song for commercial release but for perfectly valid legal reasons they wanted permission from the composer of the original song.

Suddenly I was on the phone with Merle Haggard playing the song for him and his manager, Fuzzy. Now, I don’t know if they were just being nice or what but they laughed like a couple of hyenas.

“Son of a bitch,” Merle said, “that kicked my ass!”

“Wow, Merle,” I said. “Thank you! That’s high praise indeed!”

“I’m not blowing smoke– I mean it!”

“So, it’s OK if we use it then?”

“Are you kidding? Merle said. “It’d be an honor.”

“Thank you Merle,” I said, “We really appreciate this.”

“Now, hang on, Fuzzy wants to talk to you about the legal shit.”

“Yeah, Dean?” Fuzzy said. “We got a little problem here, buddy. Merle sold Okie From Muskogee to Buck Owens a few years back so you’re gonna have to call Blue Book Music in Bakersfield and get the OK from his sister, Dotty.”

Dotty Owens wasn’t friendly or receptive nor was there anything to indicate she had a sense of humor. I don’t suppose I was ten seconds into Bulldog From Cal State Fresno when a roar came down the line that would have impressed Siegfried and Roy.

“HOW DARE YOU MAKE FUN OF OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE,” she said. THAT’S THE SONG THAT MADE MERLE HAGGARD A HOUSEHOLD NAME AND I SHUDDER TO THINK WHAT HE’D DO IF HE EVER HEARD WHAT YOU DID TO IT!”

“Well, as a a matter of fact,” I said. “I played it for him a few minutes ago and he laughed his ass off.”

“WAS HE DRUNK?”

“I don’t know, Dotty. We were on the phone.”

“WELL, IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYHOW CAUSE MERLE DOESNT OWN MUSKOGEE ANYMORE, I DO. AND IF YOUR VERSION EVER SEES THE LIGHT OF DAY I’LL SLAP YOU WITH THE BIGGEST GOD-DAMNED LAWSUIT THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER SEEN… COMPRENDE?”

Oh, I comprende’d all right. Deeply and thoroughly like a barium enema.

We never released Bulldog From Cal State Fresno. Dotty Owens scared me so bad we burned the master tape. In fact, up till now there’s been no evidence the song ever existed in the first place but now that Dotty and Fuzzy and Merle have all donned the pine overcoat, friends have convinced me its safe to go public with the story though I’ve got to say I do so with reluctance because there was something in Dotty’s voice that convinced me she was not only capable of slapping me with the biggest god-damned lawsuit this country’s ever seen, she might even do so from beyond the grave.

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Will Ferrell Finally Celebrates His 15th Birthday With An Epic Celebrity Drum-Off

Will Ferrell and his celebrity doppelgänger, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, just made good on their promise to deliver another epic drum-off.

After raising raising $500,000 for charity in a drum battle during their “Tonight Show” appearance last month, they reunited for the “Will Ferrell & Chad Smith’s Red Hot Benefit, Comedy + Music & Quinceañera” and upped the ante. 

The event raised funds for Ferrell and Smith’s respective charities, Cancer for College and the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, as comedians Nick Offerman, Jim Gaffigan, and Roy Wood Jr. also performed.

But the highlight of the night was the duo’s all-out celebrity drum battle. This time they let some star friends, including Tommy Lee, Fred Armisen, Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and, in a surprise twist, a “14-year-old from from Brentwood, California,” do the heavy lifting. 

Thankfully, Funny Or Die captured the night on Facebook Live. 

The charity event hosted on Friday night at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles also doubled as a chance for Ferrell to fulfill his lifelong dream to have quinceañera. No, seriously. For once, he wasn’t joking. 

“I have only one great regret in life and it’s that I never actually celebrated my quinceañera,” Ferrell said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone. “I’d like to think it was just a simple oversight by my mother, but there has been a void inside me for many years. Growing up on the mean streets of Irvine, California, I have vivid memories of all my friends celebrating their quinceañera. Well, on April 29th at the Shrine Auditorium, with Red Hot Chili Peppers and a bunch of other really talented comedians and musicians by my side, we are going to right that wrong, and everyone is invited.”

Righting that wrong, of course, meant that Ferrell appeared on stage at one point dressed in a sparkly blue princess gown. 

We could have sworn he wasn’t over 14. 

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Duck Boat Crash in Boston Kills Woman on Scooter

A motorized scooter driver was killed and her passenger injured in a crash with a duck boat in Boston on Saturday, police said.

Baghdad in State of Emergency After Green Zone Stormed

Protesters loyal to a Shiite cleric breached Baghdad’s Green Zone Saturday, home to government buildings and foreign embassies.