Friday, March 21, 2008

Joe E. Ross: Should Lesbians Be Allowed to Play 'Pro' Football (1973)

UPDATE JANUARY 2011 - Read the definitive biography of Joe E. Ross here - Joe E. Ross: King of Slobs by Kliph Nesteroff

Joe E. Ross was, by most accounts, a difficult man, not particularly polite, and extremely rough around the edges. He wasn't what you'd call "Hollywood." He probably had more relationships with prostitutes than any other sitcom star and unlike New York politicians, this wasn't something he was embarrassed about, but flaunted. He even showed up at things like The Emmys with a lady of the night on his arm. It is not known the exact number of times he was married, but it was at least eight and probably more. He wasn't known to treat his ladies well. This LP isn't about to endear him any further.

Joe E. Ross was first and foremost a nightclub performer, and it was during a stint in Miami Beach that Bilko creator Nat Hiken first decided he'd like to use him in The Phil Silvers Show and in Hiken's follow-up, Car 54, Where Are You? This rarity was pressed by Laff Records, a label that was known for its large output of profane comedy albums, primarily by unsung African-American acts. A handful of white performers like Roger & Roger, Bub Thomas and Joe appeared on the label. The copy I've uploaded here is extremely scratchy, which somehow seems appropriate. It isn't the easiest album to sit through, not just because it's scratchy, but it was a very lo-fi recording to begin with. The content doesn't help matters any either. The subtitle of the album is Dirty Memories of an Ex-Cop. The word funny is crossed out, with the word dirty scrawled over top as a gag. It is also a more accurate description of the album. That doesn't mean it isn't super interesting, and I'm glad I own it. Here are the liner notes. Any weird punctuation or capitalization is just as it appears on the back cover:

"Hey, Sweetie... your blocking is divine, but you keep hitting me in a very sensitive area. Would you mind?" "Oh, how marvy... no, you don't have to kiss it to make it better. What a darling man... OOooof; Ouch! Ughh...not so rough!" "BRUTE!" SHOULD LESBIANS BE ALLOWED TO PLAY PRO FOOTBALL? JOE E. ROSS, that dirty funny looking guy in the cop's uniform, with the hot dog stuck in his mouth, has a lot to say on the subject. "Ooh-ooh!", he says, and everybody laughs! His next famous statement was smothered in the hot dog and the laughter. "Ooh-ooh!" Who else could say it with such meaning? So much Depth and passion? As JOE E. ROSS tells it, he worked for years developing his act, refining his style, polishing his delivery... and then... one fateful night he stepped on stage, and his pants fell down... "OOH-OOH!", he cried... and a star was born! Such is fame, he says. JOE E. ROSS won acclaim as "Cookie-Mess Sergeant Ritzik" with Phil Silvers on the SERGEANT BILKO SHOW, careened into his own "CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU?" TV series, and became famous as "OOH-OOH-TOOTY" the funniest cop in the world. Listen to him, as he stands on his bench in the bleachers, runs down the field with that pigskin, wanders absent-mindedly into the Ladies room, tickles, and tackles and scores! "Lookit that guy chargin' down the field... what a killer! BOOM! Bam...WoW! What a drive! Lookit that blocking! What the heck is that mincing, dancing figure doing?! Omigosh... is that a tackle or a rape scene? I Can't Look! Somebody call a cop!" "OOH-OOH!"

Lovable JOE E. ROSS tells all about how to score in football, stage, screen and sex on laughable LAFF RECORDS. "Lib and let lib," he says... "just as long as they buy the record!"

Now, Listen to it:

The Joe E. Ross Comedy Album


Booksteve said...

I believe it was Mark Evanier who told the story of once asking Imogene Coca (Ross' co-star in IT'S ABOUT TIME) to comment on Joe E. Ross and she simply replied in her inimitable way, "That DREADFUL man!"

Phillyradiogeek said...

TV GUIDE's Web site once detailed how much Ross and Car 54 co-star Fred Gwynne despised each other. I can imagine, considering Ross's hard-boiled nature compared to Gwynne's refined, almost blue-blood nature.

Anonymous said...

ooh ooh...wasn't he on "The Hair Bear Bunch?

Suldog said...

Just watched an episode of "Car 54" wherein Ross actually did some singing (it was a Christmas-themed episode) and he was surprisingly good. Whatever his off-screen foibles, he was very enjoyable on-screen.