I haven’t worn a tie in years — with one exception. I always wore one to the Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday. That is, before we started Zooming our services. The ties were from my special collection of neckwear to honor legendary comedic heroes I admire. I’ve combed Amazon, searched eBay and Googled just about every name in hopes of finding some new ones. Meanwhile, here’s a look at a few faces currently in my collection.
My favorite silent screen star. He wasn’t just silent, but expressionless. It’s not easy to be a comedy legend that way. Never watched one of his films? What else have you got to do this week? Watch “The General” first (it’s not about a general).
Laurel and Hardy
Here’s the test of great comedy. I have seen many of their films, multiple times. I know exactly what is going to happen and I laugh before it happens. Watch as Stan in “Way Out West” gets into a giggling fit while an unscrupulous woman is trying to get a deed from his pocket. I giggle with him every time.
The Three Stooges
If you are female, you will probably hate this tie. But if you are one the few women who love the Three Stooges, where were you when I was looking for a wife?
Gracie was the funny one, but George Burns was the ultimate straight man.
“Where did you get those flowers, Gracie?”
“Well, Mrs. Pincheon is in the hospital and you told me to take her flowers. I just got back from visiting her and I took them.”
He seldom made a joke himself, but the people around him — like his wife, Mary Livingston, and his valet, Rochester — skewered the daylights out of him. Truth is, neither George Burns nor Jack got many laughs themselves; they left that reward to others. I still listen to their old radio shows.
Chaplin was proof that silence is golden. On my Facebook page, there’s a photo showing this tie right in the middle of my collection. Chaplin was not my favorite comic legend, but it’s my favorite tie because it matches more shirts.
This one features her in the episode where she is doing a TV spot for a nutritional elixir called “Vitameatavegamin” that contains 23 percent alcohol. It’s 100 percent funny.
You know how unfair rumors can be. You’ve probably heard he didn’t like kids, he drank too much and was a womanizer. Oh, wait, those were all true.
Abbott and Costello
“Who’s On First?” is the classic comedy bit of all time. It wasn’t actually created by the iconic duo, but they revived and fine-tuned it from an old Vaudeville bit. I’ve listened to it a thousand times. I’ve even tried to do the routine with my friend (and former student) Peter Spellos. We know the words — we just don’t have the melody.
My wife hopes we will be back in church soon, so I have a place to wear my ties. It’s bad enough Mary Ellen must wake up next to me, but no woman should have to see Moe, Larry and Curly when she first opens her eyes.
You can check out my cool ties on my Facebook page.