Old episodes of “The Uncle Floyd Show” are not available for purchase. But in a tradition that started earlier this year, every Tuesday at 8 p.m., an entire episode, augmented by segments from other episodes, is shown on the internet, for a $5-per-show fee. (Additional tips are accepted as well.) To sign up, visit stageit.com/SGE-Inc.
Cast member Scott Gordon, who possesses hundreds of episodes of the show (which was shown from the mid-’70s to the late-’90s on various New Jersey and New York television outlets), is presenting these clips, along with Vivino, under the title “Uncle Floyd and Scott’s Video Clip Club.”
The offbeat, minimally rehearsed show — known for its goofy, neo-vaudevillian humor — frequently had stellar musical guests. I’ve been tuning in occasionally on Tuesdays and have seen performances by The Ramones (who also participated in a comedy skit), Tiny Tim and Marshall Crenshaw, among others.
All kinds of musicians made the trip out to the show’s New Jersey studios. Check out the clip below for glimpses of Paul Simon, Chubby Checker, Peter Tork and the Boomtown Rats.
The Tuesday night broadcasts include segments in which the Vivino offers his memories of the shows, and answers fans’ questions.
An interesting thing happened after the clip of Marshall Crenshaw (from 1982) was shown. On the show, Crenshaw had lip-synched his way through his single of the time, “Someday, Someway,” and didn’t make much an an effort to appear to be performing the song live. He and his bandmates bounced around the stage, grinning, like a bunch of hyperactive kids. Drummer Robert Crenshaw, Marshall’s brother, didn’t even bother holding sticks.
It was actually a lot of fun to watch: Much more fun than if they had just performed the song straightforwardly.
But after watching the performance, 40 years later, Vivino remembered, “I had a fit and a half,” and then gave an explanation that I will share, at length, because I believe it says something about what Vivino was all about, and the pride he took in his low-budget show.
“The drummer couldn’t find his sticks,” Vivino remembered. “Well, those were our drums — house drums we kept in the studio for the bands, only to save time in production, so that they didn’t have to lug up their drums, and we wasted more time setting them up. So I guess Scott and (fellow cast member) Mugsy set the drums up … but somehow the sticks disappeared. I wonder if Mugsy took them. Mugsy was a practical joker like that.
“I was upset, because I felt it’s not right to mock mockery. ‘Cause that’s what we were. Mocking authority constantly, especially the television industry, with what we did, like guerilla warriors with no support. And I mean that, I’ll stand on it, and no one will ever challenge me on that. …
“I didn’t like the fact that he didn’t have the drum sticks. I thought it was mocking us, more than anything. And this silly grin on his face: He’s supposed to be a drummer. At least give the audience a modicum — is that the right word? — a modicum of respect, that we are in show business, as bad as we are, as broke and undernourished, and as far as support from the management.”
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