Music and Mirth
One of YouTube's great moments and Buckley's greatest routine. A triumph of the human imagination rendered in a hillbilly accent. This "creative wig bubble" about alcohol and enlightenment goes to the soul of the man. Buckley's in his element here with a marvelous jazz band behind him whose lively flourishes as the routine takes shape are a delight. (Buckley's pre-routine tribute to every member of the band, including "the lady Doris" at the piano, is not on this clip.) Thank you MrBashfulbob.
Performed at the Ivar theatre in Hollywood, California in 1959.
Lord Richard Buckley (Richard Myrle Buckley; April 5, 1906 - November 12, 1960, New York City) was an American stage performer, recording artist, monologist, and hip poet/comic. Buckley's unique stage persona never found more than a cult audience during his life, but anticipated aspects of the Beat Generation sensibility, and influenced figures as various as Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, George Harrison, Tom Waits and Dizzy Gillespie.
Born to English immigrants in Tuolumne, California, Buckley's earliest years are unclear, although he's referred to as an "ex-lumberjack". By the mid-1930s he was performing as emcee in Chicago at Leo Seltzer's dance marathons at the Chicago Coliseum, and worked his own club, Chez Buckley, on Western Avenue through the early 1940s. During World War II Buckley performed extensively for armed services on USO tours, where he formed a lasting friendship with Ed Sullivan.
In the 1950s Buckley hit his stride with a combination of his exaggeratedly aristocratic bearing (including waxed mustache, tuxedo and pith helmet) and carefully enunciated rhythmic hipster slang. Occasionally performing to music, he punctuated his monologues with scat singing and sound effects. His most significant tracks are retelling of historical or legendary events, like "My Own Railroad" and "The Nazz". The latter, first recorded in 1952, describes Jesus' working profession as "carpenter kitty." Other historical figures include Gandhi ("The Hip Gahn") and the Marquis de Sade ("The Bad-Rapping of the Marquis de Sade, the King of Bad Cats"). He retold several classic documents such as the Gettysburg Address and a version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." In "Mark Antony's Funeral Oration", he recast Shakespeare's "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" as "Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies: knock me your lobes."
Lord Buckley appeared on Groucho Marx's popular TV programme You Bet Your Life in 1956. In 1959, he voiced the beatnik character Go Man Van Gogh in "Wildman of Wildsville", an episode of the Bob Clampett animated series Beany and Cecil. (The character reappeared in several episodes made after Buckley's death, when he was voiced by Scatman Crothers.)
Buckley enjoyed smoking marijuana. He wrote reports of his first experiences with LSD, under the supervision of Dr. Oscar Janiger, and of his trip in a United States Air Force jet. Ed Sullivan reflected "...he was impractical as many of his profession are, but the vivid Buckley will long be remembered by all of us."
On October 19, 1960, he was scheduled to play club dates and another appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York managed by Harold L. Humes, but his cabaret card was seized, purportedly because of a 1941 arrest for marijuana possession. The card was necessary to appear in nightclubs and were often withheld for political reasons, and as a way to solicit payoffs. He attempted to get the card reinstated and more than three dozen major figures in the entertainment and arts world were present for a hearing on the matter. He never worked again.Death
Buckley died November 12, 1960 at New York City's Columbus Hospital as the result of a stroke. His final New York appearance at the Jazz Gallery in St. Mark's Place had been halted by the police because of "falsified information" on his cabaret card application. A hearing held two days afterward developed into a confrontation between Police Commissioner Stephen Kennedy and Buckley's friends and supporters, including Quincy Jones, George Plimpton and Norman Mailer. The scandal of Buckley's death, attributed at least partly to his loss of the card, led to the removal of Kennedy in 1960 and the abolition of the cabaret card system by 1967, some 7 years later. His funeral was on November 16, 1960 at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on 88th Street in New York City. Lord Buckley was cremated at the Ferndale Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
His Royal Hipness performing his Beat poetry masterpiece, The Nazz. Can you dig Infinity!?!
Lord Buckley - The Train