We need more bozos on this bus
September 28, 2012 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Romney is perhaps best known for being a clown and a humanitarian, but long before his involvement in presidential politics, Romney was an LSD-fueled comedian. Here's a snippet. (No, not that Romney; the other one.)

Hugh Romney (aka Wavy Gravy) was a counter-culture icon during the 1960s. As an anti-war protester, he decided to dress like a clown because the police were less likely to beat up clowns. Eventually he became the official clown of the Grateful Dead. A friend of Jack Kerouac and the Merry Pranksters, he appeared at Woodstock and was temporarily immortalized as an ice cream flavor. Mr. Gravy unsuccessfully lobbied on behalf of Nobody for President.

There's a movie about him: Saint Misbehavin'
posted by twoleftfeet (30 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
heh - from that Nobody For President link:

(2) Change requirements for President:

(a) Extremely hard civil service exam.
(b) Top scores compete in "Prezolympics."
(c) Top 10 winners become candidates.
(d) Election winner becomes President.
(e) Gets device implanted in their brain that explodes if they tell a lie.

posted by mannequito at 9:05 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Temporarily immortalized?
posted by mrnutty at 9:06 PM on September 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

Saint Misbehavin' is available streaming on Netflix, by the way.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:06 PM on September 28, 2012

He likes tapas and can be seen hanging out at Cesar restaurant in Berkeley, like, say, yesterday. He's very nice and people love The Gravy.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:12 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

His voice... he could pass for Sean Penn. Or Hitler. I mean my comment is so irrelevant I thought I might as well Godwin the thread.
posted by phaedon at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also worth noting: His kids' summer camp, Camp Winnarainbow, "provides a training ground to nurture leaders for a peaceful, harmonious and sustainable world by teaching responsibility for one’s own behavior and developing confidence, inner security and appropriate self-expression. [The camp] encourage[s] respect for oneself, others, and the environment while valuing the uniqueness of each individual, within the diversity of racial, cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds that comprise our camp community."

I only know him by reputation, but everything I've heard says that Wavy's a pretty righteous dude.
posted by mosk at 9:20 PM on September 28, 2012

I'm confused. Was he the one that started the "No rain! No rain!" chant at Woodstock? If so, he wasn't Wavy Gravy at the time, because (apparently) he received the name Wavy Gravy from BB King a few months after Woodstock.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2012

I totally thought he was an ice cream. Until I read the ice cream container.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I only heard about him from trying to figure out where the samples came from in The Irresistible Force's track Power. His samples come from this recording (the "not even funny" ones are from Negativland).
posted by aubilenon at 9:40 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I thought for a second that I was listening to Lord Buckley doing his own take on Jim Henson & Raymond Scott's "Limbo: The Organized Mind"
posted by not_on_display at 9:46 PM on September 28, 2012

Iirc Wavy's behind SEVA too, helping the world see. He can be a pita but he's done a lot for many.
posted by anadem at 9:48 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thinking the post was about the *other* Romney, I initially read the post as being an "LDS-fueled comedian".

Now I'm trying to imagine a LDS comedy act.

I'm failing.
posted by el io at 10:11 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Indeed. I just happened to read this a few weeks ago, in Robin D G Kelley's excellent biography of Thelonious Monk - this is on page 320, for those playing along at home:
Monk was warmly received at the Club Renaissance, a popular little joint on the Sunset Strip... The musicians came out en masse, including David Amram, who happened to be in L.A. on a job. Because Amram had recently grown a beard, he was surprised that Monk recognized him immediately. Monk explained, in his typical laconic fashion, "Man, that hair on your face doesn't have anything to do with who you are." Amram also remembered that a young comedian named Hugh Romney opened for Monk that night. Romney would later make a name for himself as a countercultural humorist, hippie, and social activist. But in April 1962, he was a struggling comedian in Hollywood, perhaps a little ahead of his time. "He was so abstract," Amram recalled, "you were more or less just listening to somebody give a big philosophical discussion. So, the whole audience was sitting there waiting to hear Monk and in order to be polite, everybody just kinda pretended like he wasn't there. They weren't giving him the freeze or putting him down; they just completely tuned out. So at the very end, he did a version of Lenny Bruce's famous routine about the English hall entertainer. He started mentioning the names of all the great jazz musicians who had died and were up in heaven and the big jam session in the sky. By the time he got to about the thirtieth musician who had passed away, the audience was cheering. It was like a revival meeting. Then he closed with, 'And now we have the man who's alive for us all... the legendary Thelonious Monk.'"
Apparently even back in April 1962 he already knew how to work a crowd.
posted by koeselitz at 11:01 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Now I'm trying to imagine a LDS comedy act.

An interesting tangent that. Such a thing exists. Here's an article about Mormon comedy. Notable quote: in the LDS market, members are sometimes so desperate for wholesome entertainment, they'll take what they can get, even if it's bland.

Here's Mitt Romney telling a joke about a polar bear. And here's Mitt Romney telling a humorous story about his father closing a factory.

Mitt Romney may not be the funniest Mormon, but his standup stands out.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:01 PM on September 28, 2012

el io: "Thinking the post was about the *other* Romney, I initially read the post as being an "LDS-fueled comedian".

Now I'm trying to imagine a LDS comedy act.

It's Latter-Day Night Live! Some of the humor doesn't seem to translate well to this non-Mormon. Or there's Mr. Johnny Biscuit. This guy appears to be a Mormon version of Dane Cook.

So, it's out there. It's just not very good.
posted by barnacles at 11:28 PM on September 28, 2012

Take my wives... please.
posted by Elmore at 11:39 PM on September 28, 2012 [8 favorites]

Now I'm trying to imagine a LDS comedy act.

Elna Baker has a story about saying "yes" to lots of things, except for those that Mormonism forbids. It may be my favorite Moth story ever. She's since written The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance.
posted by knile at 11:45 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Did you hear the one about the Mormons who walked into a bar?


Really. No.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:46 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Wavy Gravy's Wikipedia page has a link, in the Nobody for President section, to the 1932 film Betty Boop for President, which is well worth watching.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:24 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll never, ever, ever forget the gong bong we all did at that 25th anniversary TRIPS festival thing back in the late 80's early 90's at the ritz...

The The Dinosaurs played. Oh, man. That was a great show. I might have to dig out the tape some day...
posted by mikelieman at 1:41 AM on September 29, 2012

s/^The/Then/ , of course...
posted by mikelieman at 1:42 AM on September 29, 2012

If you want a demonstration of how pernicious and obnoxious election years are, look no further than this thread, where people would rather talk about Mitt Romney than Wavy Gravy.
posted by koeselitz at 1:50 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

LDS Comedy?

People, please.

posted by jeanmari at 2:48 AM on September 29, 2012

I am pretty good friends with a bunch of lapsed Mormons, all living in New York now, that grew up in SLC. From what they tell me, there is some sort of insane party scene in Utah. They tell me that when they go back to SLC they stack cocaine, meth,MDMA and Viagra, and later Xanax and just fuck nonstop. They are much nuttier than most people I know growing up in New York. We had nothing to rebel against, everything is permissible here. They come here and become boring.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:38 AM on September 29, 2012

Wait. The polar bear joke? I don't get it.

The Texan doesn't listen to the "eskimos", despite the fact that they have far more experience hunting polar bears. He ignores their advice and then puts them in a situation where they're most likely going to be killed or maimed. The Texan expects the natives to do the work while he goes off to find another bear.

Mitt sure knows how to work his audience.
posted by dubold at 8:10 AM on September 29, 2012

Now him I'd vote for!
posted by tspae at 8:17 AM on September 29, 2012

Humanitarian? In the same sense that vegetarians eat vegetables?
posted by biffa at 10:19 AM on September 29, 2012

Ad hominem - I've heard the same about the Tehran party scene.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:20 PM on September 29, 2012

I was flipping channels in 1990 or 91, and I saw a PBS documentary about marijuana. A man dressed as a clown was interviewed, and the lower third identified him as "Wavy Gravy." He said some things about the suppression of pot, including "We could end war with pot, man. We could have stopped Vietnam with it! That's why the death dealers don't want us to have it!"

If my dad had been in the room, he presumably would have explained to me that Wavy Gravy was an actual recognized counterculture figure, but it was just me and a friend. And man, didn't we laugh about that aging hippy calling himself "Wavy Gravy," dressed as a pot clown during the Bush administration, emotionally spouting marijuana conspiracy lines. We just about wet ourselves.

I found out who Wavy Gravy actually is years later-- Mr. Burns made a reference to him on "The Simpsons" and I googled. I respect him, but whenever someone is too fervent about marijuana, I still think "that's why the death dealers don't want us to have it, maaaan!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:30 AM on September 30, 2012

Wavy Gravy combines clowning with being genuinely serious about serving people who need health care in some of the poorest places in the world. Thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 5:03 AM on October 8, 2012

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