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Dueling Geniuses
August 22, 2013 9:20 AM   Subscribe


 
For my money Martin Mull's Dueling Tubas is the best.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:32 AM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Steve Martin is awesome. I don't even like him all that much, but he rocks.

Thanks for posting! I've seen the FunnyOrDie URL before, but I always assumed it was one of those stupid sites like CollegeHumor or the guy who steals content from YouTube then sticks his watermark on it.
posted by cribcage at 9:35 AM on August 22, 2013


Excellent.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2013


My only surprise is that this did not happen in 1979 on The Muppet Show.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Is it just me or is one of the Smothers Brothers looking kind of green?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:40 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This would've been better if it'd ended with Crazy Harry coming in and blowing one or both of them up.
posted by sparkletone at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


In fairness, everything would end better with Crazy Harry blowing something up.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 9:49 AM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


This would've been better if it'd ended with Crazy Harry coming in and blowing one or both of them up.

This is what I think whenever I watch Charlie Rose.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


I've seen the FunnyOrDie URL before, but I always assumed it was one of those stupid sites like CollegeHumor or the guy who steals content from YouTube then sticks his watermark on it.

I think FunnyOrDie is a Will Ferrell production.

Obligatory: My Boys.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:55 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Squeal like Miss Piggy!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:07 AM on August 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure which is more impressive, Steve Martin actually playing that or Kermit's muppeteer making his hands look so much like he's actually playing it.
posted by straight at 10:08 AM on August 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Shouldn't Kermit's banjo be pitched way higher?
posted by yarrow at 10:08 AM on August 22, 2013


Steve Martin actually playing that

Steve Martin is a fucking ninja on the banjo. Check out some of his albums. His latest, with Edie Brickell, is awesome.
posted by kbanas at 10:11 AM on August 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ninjas don't play banjo. Too noisy.
posted by samhyland at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2013


Ninjas don't play banjo. Too noisy.

Ninjo. The ancient art of silent banjo.
posted by The Bellman at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2013 [25 favorites]


Missed opportunity. Should have featured Miss Piggy squealing at the end.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2013


Man, Kermit's new voice. Just... man.
posted by boo_radley at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


kbanas: "Steve Martin actually playing that

Steve Martin is a fucking ninja on the banjo. Check out some of his albums. His latest, with Edie Brickell, is awesome .
"

Yes indeed. He and the Steep Canyon Rangers just played Nashville recently and we had a chance to see them live. Edie sang on stage quite a bit with them. A great show all around, and exactly what you'd expect: fantastic musicianship interspersed with cerebral Steve Martin jokes. Example:

"I noticed the ad in the paper today for tonight's show and it said SOLD OUT across my face and I thought....how ruuuude."
posted by jquinby at 10:31 AM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, he made a point of mentioning that he's playing the banjo for close to 50 years.
posted by jquinby at 10:31 AM on August 22, 2013


You're right. This is child's play for Steve Martin. It's the adroit muppeteering I should be impressed with here.
posted by straight at 10:33 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


My first thought was, "Why is Kermit playing banjo with that rude waiter?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 10:36 AM on August 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


For my money Martin Mull's Dueling Tubas is the best.

Nah, my favorite was Animal and Buddy Rich's drum battle.
posted by Melismata at 10:40 AM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


For context:

Deliverance - the banjo vs guitar duel

the bango wins ...
posted by philip-random at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2013


Why can't banjo players just get along?
posted by srboisvert at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, but they do. That's the beauty of dueling banjos. It starts off competitive, but then the banjo players (banjers?) both realize "Damn, that other feller* is pretty good! We should just play together!" And they do, and it's even better.

* Is there a non-gendered folksy term for an individual person?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief: Picker.

ant: Grinner.

rel: Lover, Sinner.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think "fellow" is a fine gender-neutral term. The "male person" meaning sprang from the still-common gender-neutral meaning of "associate, comrade", not the other way around.
posted by muddgirl at 11:09 AM on August 22, 2013


And now, some Foggy Mountain breakdown.
posted by dr_dank at 11:13 AM on August 22, 2013


Shirley you mean "froggy".
posted by stirfry at 11:21 AM on August 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Who would make a better Doctor Who: Kermit or Steve?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tuned into an interview with "Edie and Steve" already in progress the other night. Very confused, given Eydie Gorme's recent passing, didn't recognize the voices AT ALL. They then played an excerpt from their new album, and her voice was unfamiliar until I heard that little swoop, instantly recognizable, and that solved Edie. But Steve...just sounded like a regular guy. Finally they came back from a break and named him and after that he was talking completely differently. Like Steve Martin talks. Anyway, yeah, they sounded really, really good together, and Martin's banjo playing was not particularly bluegrassy. Recommended.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:42 AM on August 22, 2013


Obligatory Family Guy Link
posted by bitteroldman at 11:44 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


@ricochet biscuit: Something like this did happen on the Muppet Show in 1977: Steve Martin plays Dueling Banjos with the Jug Band (Season 2, episode 8).

Kermit's comments at the end of the Funny or Die video are very out character for Jim Henson's Kermit. I cannot imagine Jim Henson having Kermit and Steve Martin bickering back and forth:

"...You missed a note there."
"Please, I haven't missed a note in three years"
"yeah, more like three seconds."

Although it is good to see these characters brought out again, it hurts when they miss the message Jim was trying to teach us, one of which is: we should be kind and supportive to each other, especially if we fail.
posted by eigenman at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


I keep trying, but I still think banjo playing sounds like someone rattling a metal tin full of cutlery.
posted by Decani at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2013


For Decani:

Q: What's the definition of perfect pitch?

A: You throw a banjo in a dumpster and it lands on an accordion.


(full disclosure: I love banjos)
posted by freecellwizard at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2013




eigenman, I just came back to the thread to say the exact same thing!
posted by bitteroldman at 12:19 PM on August 22, 2013


Kermit's comments at the end of the Funny or Die video are very out character for Jim Henson's Kermit.
I had to stop the video as soon as Kermit started talking, because it wasn't Kermit, it was some guy doing a marginal impression of Jim Henson doing Kermit. I feel like I'm in the minority whenever a new Muppet-related video makes the rounds online, but to me "Jim Henson's Kermit" is a redundant phrase; there is no Kermit without Jim Henson. (No Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/etc without Mel Blanc either.)
posted by usonian at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Surely the banjo bounces off the accordion and lands on a set of bagpipes.

(full disclosure: love 'em all)
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dr. Dank, you're welcome: Earl Scruggs & Steve Martin, Foggy Mountain Breakdown
posted by scolbath at 1:00 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Although it is good to see these characters brought out again, it hurts when they miss the message Jim was trying to teach us, one of which is: we should be kind and supportive to each other, especially if we fail.

I disagree. There are countless examples of Muppet Show sketches Kermit criticized or apologized to the audience for. Also, I read that moment as more of two friends bantering than Kermit trying to tear Steve down.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you, thank you very much.

Tonight, I will try to sleep as Kermit's larger, frog kin tell me to, "Squeal like a pig."

I do not wish a compound bow death on Kermit!
posted by digitalprimate at 1:40 PM on August 22, 2013


Although it is good to see these characters brought out again, it hurts when they miss the message Jim was trying to teach us, one of which is: we should be kind and supportive to each other, especially if we fail.

I disagree. There are countless examples of Muppet Show sketches Kermit criticized or apologized to the audience for. Also, I read that moment as more of two friends bantering than Kermit trying to tear Steve down.


Was going to say--how to explain all those karate chops from Miss Piggy, then?
posted by Melismata at 1:52 PM on August 22, 2013


Was going to say--how to explain all those karate chops from Miss Piggy, then?

Or Statler and Waldorf.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:58 PM on August 22, 2013


In 2006, my (not-yet) wife and I went for a weekend trip to Detroit. I wanted to see the Fischer Body Plant on Piquette and, at the time, it had seemed likely that it might end up torn down.

So, we rode to Detroit from Toronto two-up on her motorcycle. The border guard at Windsor/Detroit asked us what our destination was. We said "Detroit." He said "Why?" We said we wanted to see the city. He said "Why?"

So the first night, we checked in to a cheap motel and slept, then, in the morning, we rode out to the industrial ruins. The neighbourhoods we passed through seemed apocalyptic. At the Fischer Body Plant, we parked the bike (and felt uneasy about it), ducked through a hole in the chain link fence, and had no problem finding a door with its padlock cut open.

The interior was beautiful. We took pictures. But, as we were on our way out of the plant and back to the bike, we shared the feeling that we were at a funeral admiring the decomposition while the family mourned.

We went back to our hotel, changed, and walked into central Detroit. On the way, we passed a weathered high school with a meticulously maintained baseball diamond. At home plate, a boy, about 14, was playing a trombone. Out in right field, another boy was playing a second trombone. It took me a second to realize it, but they were playing Dueling Banjos at each other, and improvising wildly as they did so.

And, not that it matters what I felt, but I felt better. Detroit is still alive. And I love Dueling Banjos.
posted by 256 at 2:09 PM on August 22, 2013 [23 favorites]


256: flagged as fantastic. Because that story is.
posted by mephron at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


scolbath - that Foggy Mountain Breakdown was insane!
posted by bluejayway at 2:26 PM on August 22, 2013


The ending ruined it for me -- that's not the Kermit I know, either.

But if I lower the sound just before Kermit speaks, I can imagine him saying "you're pretty good for a guy without webbed fingers."
posted by Mchelly at 2:33 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The ending ruined it for me -- that's not the Kermit I know, either.

Indeed. Kermit would have to be pushed and pushed before even attempting to trashtalk. And then, the joke would be in how inept he was at it.
posted by 256 at 2:36 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is everything.
posted by dry white toast at 2:43 PM on August 22, 2013


freecellwizard: full disclosure: I love banjos

Full disclosure: I love accordions!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on August 22, 2013


256: Kermit would have to be pushed and pushed before even attempting to trashtalk. And then, the joke would be in how inept he was at it.

And he'd make that specific Kermit face, where his mouth goes all smooshed down.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:06 PM on August 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


FINALLY. I tell you, early on in that new Muppets movie with the Freaks and Geeks guy and the redhead, right near the beginning, when they are talking about getting the act together again and reminiscing about past guests, they mention Steve Martin and a bunch of other people. All the other people then show up in the film and I was waiting, while watching, filled with glee about Steve Martin's surely impending cameo. As it was winding up to the finale, I grew even more excited because imagine the climactic scene with Steve Martin!

He never shows up. Never. Steve Martin is the Chekov's gun of the new Muppets movie.
posted by looli at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2013


He never shows up. Never. Steve Martin is the Chekov's gun of the new Muppets movie.

I read somewhere that, in context, Chekhov's comment about a rifle on the wall was a joke about the kind of stage determinism that doesn't appear in his own plays, but I keep forgetting that and considering it to be his own rule.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:57 PM on August 22, 2013


By which I mean: Thanks for reminding me.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:02 PM on August 22, 2013


And he'd make that specific Kermit face, where his mouth goes all smooshed down.

Truth: that technique is known as the "Henson fist," and it's a closely guarded secret among Muppeteers.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:05 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are countless examples of Muppet Show sketches Kermit criticized or apologized to the audience for.

Well, here's an argument that Kermit is a bigger Diva than Miss Piggy...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:28 PM on August 22, 2013


there is no Kermit
posted by philip-random at 1:07 AM on August 23, 2013


Steve Martin is awesome. I don't even like him all that much, but he rocks.

Mixed signals hurt Steve Martin's feelings.

(Also, Steve Martin now looks more like Han Solo than Harrison Ford does.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:38 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


FROG PICKIN'!!!



Froggy Mountain Breakdown?
posted by BlueHorse at 7:22 PM on August 23, 2013


Revels, Inc. produced a Breton recording that has dueling bombards. Can't find a clip, argh.
posted by Melismata at 8:43 AM on August 28, 2013


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