Groucho claimed he masqueraded as a comic, and he wasn't a satirist. A favourite Groucho story is about a man, desperate, dysphoric and distressed, who consults a psychiatrist. "I sense I'm going to commit suicide," says the man. After listening to the story and asking a few questions, the psychiatrist says, "What you need is a good belly laugh." The man sighs. "Tonight," says the psychiatrist, "go to the circus. See Lapides The Clown. He's the funniest person in the world. Laugh until it hurts." The man, thanking the psychiatrist, rises to his feet and moves toward the door. As he's opening the office door, the psychiatrist says, "By the way, what's your name?" The man looks at the psychiatrist, his eyes full of sadness, "I? I am Lapides." Groucho could never escape the satire.
Click to hear the last performance by Groucho, at Carnegie Hall, in 1972. Dick Cavett (right) introduces Groucho as Groucho should be introduced. Marvin Hamlisch accompanies Groucho. Please be patient with the recording. It's not the best copy, but the satire is effective, often appearing when least expected. For a second dose of satire from Groucho click here. It's an especially relevant and insightful clip from the Carnegie Hall performance in 1972.
dr george pollard is a Sociometrician and Social Psychologist at Carleton University, in Ottawa, where he currently conducts research and seminars on "Media and Truth," Social Psychology of Pop Culture and Entertainment as well as umbrella repair.
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