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June 23, 2014 3:20 PM   Subscribe

The Dissolve's Nathan Rabin kicks off One and Done - a look at writers, directors and actors who only made a significant contribution to a single film - with a dive into Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board.

Cribbing from Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Yahoo Serious, this 1998 opus failed to establish the college prop comic as a box office draw. However, the appearance of Chairman of the Board co-star Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan O'Brien (with guest Norm MacDonald) is unforgettable.
posted by porn in the woods (53 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aww, the Conan video cut off before Collective Soul came on! I was going to blandly reminisce!
posted by Riki tiki at 3:29 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I have a feeling that Norm MacDonald appearance is the reason the late night talk shows moved away from the shuffle-down-the-couch format.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:38 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


For me, this is the part that made the article:

I like to imagine that when Larry The Cable Guy and Carrot Top see each other at a Las Vegas casino or pricey Beverly Hills restaurant (as they must), they nod and exchange a deep, soulful look that wordlessly but powerfully conveys the unspoken but profound connection between them. Beyond their collaborations with Zamm, these men understand what it’s like to have your existential humiliation and enduring success inextricably intertwined, to be worshipped and reviled for the same stupid shtick. They understand what it’s like to stop being a human being with dignity (Scott Thompson in the case of Carrot Top, Dan Whitney in Larry The Cable Guy’s case) and become a cartoon character and walking punchline in exchange for fame, money, and power. In a perfect world, someone like Quentin Tarantino would salvage these broken, degraded icons and pit them against each other in a film that would reinvent both their careers by stripping away all the bullshit, and getting to the sadness and desperation at their core.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:46 PM on June 23 [21 favorites]


Damn I love the nineties - Courtney Thorne-Smith is wearing my ideal everyday outfit.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:47 PM on June 23


It appears that Estelle Harris is the best thing in this film.
posted by NedKoppel at 3:47 PM on June 23


Nathan Rabin sure does write good.
posted by valkane at 4:09 PM on June 23


"Yahoo Serious" is italicized in the post, but it shouldn't be. It's the actor's name (wiki, apparent official page, obligatory Simpsons reference).
posted by msbrauer at 4:10 PM on June 23


But you use the word "contribution" in your post.
posted by xmutex at 4:11 PM on June 23


I worked on a home video release of the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel The Rules of Attraction. For some reason, instead of having the director and lead do a commentary track, Carrot Top did one. And he was clearly kind of weirded out by it.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:13 PM on June 23 [10 favorites]


Holy shit that's a lot of words about the Carrot Top movie. Holy shit.
posted by xmutex at 4:21 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I remember reading somewhere that Seth Green was offered a role in either this movie or Austin Powers, and this one seemed like a better bet at the time.

Welp, bet he's glad he went with the long shot.
posted by dismas at 4:30 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Conan's spasm at the end when Norm spells out b-o-r-e-d is fantastic.
posted by macrael at 4:40 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Back in maybe 2005 I was at Foxwoods--or maybe Mohegan Sun--and the gentleman at the urinal next to me said, "Dude, have you seen Carrot Top? Guy is fuckin huge!"

Naturally, I assumed he meant the Big Orange Member, but I stepped out of the gents' to see the massively roided-up Carrot Top, dressed in a basketball jersey, holding court with a bevy of surgically-enhanced women and whiff-of-desperation hangers-on.

It was surreal.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:43 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


They understand what it’s like to stop being a human being with dignity (Scott Thompson in the case of Carrot Top, Dan Whitney in Larry The Cable Guy’s case) and become a cartoon character and walking punchline in exchange for fame, money, and power.

Oddly enough, when Rodney Dangerfield did this we mostly laughed with him.
posted by localroger at 4:48 PM on June 23


Well, that's because Rodney was authentically funny.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:58 PM on June 23 [16 favorites]


Bookhouse: "Well, that's because Rodney was authentically funny."

I know those words, but that statement makes no sense.

...I say that with full respect for the guy, ironically. He was an important comedian, I just didn't find him funny at all. Similarly, you would have to blackmail me to get me to watch Citizen Kane again, but I'm grateful to it for basically inventing camera angles.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:14 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


msbrauer: "Yahoo Serious" is italicized in the post, but it shouldn't be. It's the actor's name (wiki, apparent official page, obligatory Simpsons reference).

When your birth name is Greg Pead, Yahoo Serious is a vast improvement after a lifetime of jokes.

Greg Pead in his pants! Greg Pead on your mum for fifty cents. What's that smell? Greg Pead!
posted by dr_dank at 5:16 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


The 90s were a weird time for comedy. You had prop comics like Gallagher and Carrot Top filling arenas, and sub-Penn and Teller magician-comedian The Amazing Jonathan had a viable career going.

More generally, I remember the weird optimism and greedy spirit of unearned abundance of the 1990s, and the trailer's sun-drenched, grotesque, self-satifaction at being affectedly slackerish and "outside the box" while actually wanting to make money and be the boss is the very spirit of the ugliest aspects of the decade. It hurts.
posted by kewb at 5:17 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


kewb: "I remember the weird optimism and greedy spirit of unearned abundance of the 1990s, and the sun-drenched, grotesque, self-satifaction at being affectedly slackerish and "outside the box" while actually wanting to make money and be the boss is the very spirit of the ugliest aspects of the decade. It hurts."

Well I'm glad to know that we at least solved that "optimism" problem.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:22 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


I've watched a lot - A LOT - of bad movies in my time, and Chairman of the Board was the quickest I've ever bailed on one. I don't think we even made it through the credits.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:23 PM on June 23


IT'S PRONOUNCED "PEE-YAD"!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:25 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Well I'm glad to know that we at least solved that "optimism" problem.

I should be clearer; it was an optimism that everything would work out alright even if no one actually tried too hard to make sure it did. Optimism as a driver for real engagement is great, but that's not what this brand of optimism was.

The 90s had lots of good, bright, engaged people too; I'm talking specifically about a bad strain that got a lot of airing in 1990s popular culture.
posted by kewb at 5:26 PM on June 23


> I should be clearer; it was an optimism that everything would work out alright even if no one actually tried too hard to make sure it did.

Ladies and gentlemen...the '90s.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:30 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Greg Pead in his pants! Greg Pead on your mum for fifty cents. What's that smell? Greg Pead!

Counterpoint: Walter Piston carried his name with a quiet dignity.


Q: Why did nobody want to buy the deceased composer's piano?
A: Because Walter Piston.

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:40 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


The 90s were a weird time for comedy.

'The Adventures of Ford Fairlane' was from 1990. Wayne Newton was in it.
posted by ovvl at 5:46 PM on June 23


I see David Byrne's True Stories is next. Dude had better be nice to that film.
posted by mykescipark at 5:55 PM on June 23 [16 favorites]


'The Adventures of Ford Fairlane' was from 1990. Wayne Newton was in it.

And he rounded out the decade playing himself in 1997's National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation, a film so bad it brought down the Vacation franchise.
posted by kewb at 5:57 PM on June 23


OK, so when did I miss the conversation that explained that all of the AV Club's good writers were going to collectively jump ship to form The Dissolve? Oh, here it is.
posted by psoas at 6:40 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


That's a great piece--can anybody find if there's an RSS feed for just this series?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:42 PM on June 23


idea for screenplay!

A screwball comedy with all these guys - Carrot Top, Pauly Shore, Andrew Dice Clay, Gallagher - where someone is killing them off one by one and the others all have to forget their differences and come together to solve the mystery.
posted by thelonius at 6:53 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


A screwball comedy with all these guys - Carrot Top, Pauly Shore, Andrew Dice Clay, Gallagher - where someone is killing them off one by one and the others all have to forget their differences and come together to solve the mystery.

Yakov Smirnoff?

Or Frank Stallone?
posted by graphnerd at 7:05 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


The killer must be…Jesse Camp!
posted by kewb at 7:19 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


The ghost of Bill Hicks.
posted by ardgedee at 7:59 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Judy Tenuta's accordion.
posted by Mchelly at 8:08 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Q: Why did nobody want to buy the deceased composer's piano?
A: Because Walter Piston.


I thought it was because of Beethoven's last movement.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:47 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: BOOM, the next thing you know, you’re naked in bed with Carrot Top, who has an impatient gleam in his eye that suggests he can’t get away fast enough, and that he thinks he’s the one doing you a favor.
posted by Flunkie at 8:56 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


idea for screenplay!

If it bends, it's funny! If it breaks, it's not funny!

(Sorry -- just saw that film again over the weekend)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:38 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


psoas: "OK, so when did I miss the conversation that explained that all of the AV Club's good writers were going to collectively jump ship to form The Dissolve? Oh, here it is."

Not to mention the FPP about it.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Raquel Welch and Keenan Wynn too? Where was I for this movie?

Oh that's right - about 40 years too old to enjoy it.

Should I try watching it now? My second childhood approaches...
posted by skyscraper at 10:54 PM on June 23


The idea that someone likes Rodney Dangerfield ironically is difficult for me to process at this hour. The man was a genius. So what? So let's dance!
posted by crashlanding at 11:57 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


skyscraper, that's Jack Warden, not the dead-for-a-decade Wynn.

Dangerfield, I don't know, personally I always felt it wasn't that he was brilliant and original, he was just the last stalwart of a dying vaudeville/Catskills type. His greatest success came when everyone else doing his thing was dead.

a film so bad it brought down the Vacation franchise.

Which had been thriving with zeros of successful pictures between '89 and '97.

"Yahoo Serious" is italicized in the post

By the time I got to it, it read Yahoo Serious' Young Einstein.
posted by dhartung at 12:56 AM on June 24


One of the most interesting things I've seen regarding Carrot Top is this longtime fan of his who came up with an interesting shtick: she would have a picture taken of her with Carrot Top, have it made into a T-shirt, wear it the next time she had her picture taken with CT, have that picture made into a T-shirt, wear that one the next time... and so on. She had gone through four or five iterations of that in the picture I'd seen, which I can't find now, unfortunately, because it would be interesting to see if there was a steady plastic-surgery-and-pumping-up progression to CT's appearance.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:36 AM on June 24


In a perfect world, someone like Quentin Tarantino would salvage these broken, degraded icons and pit them against each other in a film that would reinvent both their careers by stripping away all the bullshit, and getting to the sadness and desperation at their core.

Sort of like My Dinner With Andre except at the end one or both of them would get shot.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:29 AM on June 24


Sort of like My Dinner With Andre except at the end one or both of them would get shot.

No, no, it would be revealed that they just missed a surprised Pulp Fiction birthday party.


I have seen many films worse than Chairman of the Board. Interestingly enough, the 90's were a time when Pauley Shore had no less than three starring vehicles (okay, Encino Man was more of a supporting role with Samwise and Brendan Fraser), but if Shore could get three two and a half films, it's not surprising that Carrot Top got at least one.
posted by Atreides at 6:56 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Pauley Shore had no less than three starring vehicles

I probably shouldn't admit that I don't hate Son-In-Law or In the Army Now.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:03 AM on June 24


I liked Pauly Shore back in the day, and, frankly, I kind of miss the Weasel.

And to be perfectly honest, while I have nothing to say about Carrot Top's movie, I don't mind his stage act. Sure, it's not particularly smart comedy, but it's not bad comedy like Gallagher.

(Also, anyone who expresses contempt toward Carrot Top simply for being a prop comic, but holds MST3K in high regard... Just sayin')
posted by Sys Rq at 7:42 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I kind of feel sorry for Carrot Top. He almost reached actual star power, for a while, but not quite. I wonder how much that rejection led to the extreme plastic surgery and (possible?) steroid use.

I mean, I never ever got the feeling that anyone ever was laughing with him, only at him. That's got to take a serious toll on your psyche.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:05 AM on June 24


I can't say that I feel sorry for him. He doesn't have a movie or TV career to speak of, but he's been the featured comedian at the Luxor in Las Vegas for several years now, and that's probably a pretty good gig.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:20 AM on June 24


Oh I'm sure the gig pays well. But you don't go to those extremes of that type of bodily modification as a healthy, well-adjusted individual, IMHO.

I suspect he's probably a lot lonelier and much more unhappy than he lets on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 AM on June 24


Someone once pointed out that Carrot Top looks a lot like Ani DiFranco.

CANNOT UNSEE.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:04 AM on June 24


I was thinking more Pete Burns on 'roids.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:18 PM on June 24


> anyone who expresses contempt toward Carrot Top simply for being a prop comic, but holds MST3K in high regard...

I'm pretty sure Hodgson was self-aware about his "high-energy prop comic!" gags, whether he personally respected Carrot Top or not. That a lot of MST3K fans aren't is kind of sad, since it means they're missing out on a certain amount of context for that (and other) jokes in the show.
posted by ardgedee at 2:35 PM on June 24


I mean, during the Joel era, every single episode opened with prop comedy -- the invention exchange!
posted by ardgedee at 2:36 PM on June 24


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