Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You Bet Your Life with guest Lord Buckley (1956)

This was one of the first things I ever saw on YouTube and its still one of the greatest. Cult-icon Lord Buckley, the eccentric, aristocratic sounding, beatnik-jazz comedian appears as a contestant on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime match-up. Lord Buckley was such an underground figure during his day that he could appear as a game show contestant named Richard Buckley and nobody, spare Groucho, would recognize him as anybody of note. He does a good job at the game too and you just know he needed that prize money. From October 11, 1956. 

This footage is apparently from a show called Club 7, presumably a local New York program from the early fifties. The MC gives Buckley a condescending introduction, "a rather frequent guest here on Club 7 and only because you seem to like him so much..." 

Buckley smoked pot in public, wandered around nude at parties, and had a rivalry with Lenny Bruce vying for the title of "the jazz musician's favorite comedian." His most famous routine is his hippified scat telling of "The Nazz," as in the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Here's a short clip of that routine from a 1960 performance at The Gate of Horn, Chicago:

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