w w w w w
Story of orangutan gone ape is basically a tu
Sitting in temple, counting the pages
To his lazier colleagues, this
busy comedian says,
'Oh, shut up'
Jay Leno is one funny guy. Once a car mechanic and strip show MC, the
36-year-old Leno has become one of the country's most successful
comedians. He's been a guest on "Late Night with David Letterman"
more than 30 times, a guest host on the "Tonight Show" and "Saturday
Night Live," staged a concert on cable TV, and signed a contract with
NBC to do several specials. Last year Leno worked over 300 nights. On
October 19th, he'll perform at the Power Center. He spoke by phone
from Los Angeles with Daily staffer Seth Flicker.
Daily: Did you always want to be a comedian?
Leno: No, I never even thought about it until I started doing it. This
wasn't any Divine Right of Kings or anything. I grew up in New
England, not really a kind of place where you go into show business.
Boston has 200 colleges. Especially back in the early seventies, every
college had a coffee house kind of setting where folk singers from Long_
Island sing and they hate their parents and that kind of stuff. I used to
MC a lot of these things... bring on the acts, make fun of them, or do
something like that. From there I started working in some of the strip
joints around Boston. I never thought of making a living out of it.
D: Well, a lot of young comedians started in Boston.
L: Yeah, probably because that's where all the students go. You know,
when you have that many students in a city which isn't very extensive,
like Boston, your entertainment options aren't that many. You do things
with other students... like math. What you have is hundreds of students,
with no talent, willing to perform for thousands of other students with
no appreciation. One more or less cancels out the other.
D: What did you want to be before you were a comedian?
L: I never really gave it much thought. I was not one of those people
who saw beyond the next day.
D: What did you study in college?
L: I think it was speech therapy. I remember reading the brochure. It
said, "Speech Therapy. At the end of the semester, rather than a written
exam, an oral exam will be given in which the student will be required to
give a five minute speech." And I said, "Well, shit, I'll take that." There
was a war on at the time and one had to do what one did. I really had no
particular interest in college other than just finishing.
D: What did your parents think about you becoming a comedian?
L: They were fine. My parents came from the "You just finished school
and if nothing works out, you can always teach" school of thought. I
never decided to become a comedian. I still had my day job. I used to be a
Rolls Royce-Mercedes Benz mechanic. I was working for them during the
day changing oil-not real complicated stuff-spark plugs and tune-ups.
This (comedy) is something that I would do at night. I would work,
Continued on Page 9
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I
complained about how boring the
Yom Kippur service was, and how
it.was interminably long. My dad
made it clear that attendance was
mandatory-that we only went to
temple a few times a year, and that
we would go as a family.
When we got to temple I
counted the number of pages in the
prayerbook so that I could keep tabs
on the progress of the service.
"Two hundred more pages," I would
think to myself dejectedly, or
perhaps I would whisper the
number to my younger brother
Steve, who understood. All I had to
do was say the number and he
would sigh in sad agreement.
The rabbi asked us to stand up
all the time, and then there would
be a droning of words, some
English, some Hebrew, and just as
it seemed our legs would collapse
from stiffness, we were allowed to
Sometimes Steve and I would
laugh about something, anything
Anything was better than sitting
there in time that could easily have
been moving backwards.
And it always seemed to be hot.
The necks of our shirts and our ties
OFF THE WALL
I used to wonder why people write
on walls... then I tried it. You
know, I sleep better nights...
LOOK CLOSE AT THOSE YOU
IN THEM YOUR UNEXPLORED
You're all crazy. I've gone here for
three years, never studied, never
gone to a single class, bought the
test answers, gotten all As, and
then I will go to Law School, do
the same, and make a million bucks
by the time I'm thirty.
Help me find a major. If you have
any information regarding a
promising career write:
HELP ME FIND A MAJOR
P.O. Box 3075
Hopeless, NY 48369
How about being an actuary? The
supply is small and with the
increasing average age the life
insurance industry is in a most
auspicious position! (it's also
boring as hell)
PROFANITY IS THE CRUTCH OF
-Student Publications Building
S MIK E
seemed to strangle us. If we laughed
loud enough for our parents to hear
there was a good chance that we
would be separated. Now we were
surrounded by adults. One hundred
forty more pages.
Now that I'm in college, I don't
get the speech from my Dad about
going to temple. Now I wrestle
over the whether I will go or not.
Every year, it seems, my arguments
are for skipping services are good,
but I still end up going. At the last
minute I throw on a tie, with my
blue suit, and I walk over to the
I sit down and then I thumb
through the prayerbook to see how
long the service will be. "Two
hundred twenty-three pages," I think
to myself, and do not whisper this
The service is no longer torture.
I still bring Lifesavers to suck on. I
look at my watch and am able to
make more sophisticated
extrapolations as to when the
service will conclude.
I like the singing. The voice of
the cantor is powerful, and even
though I cannot understand the
words he is singing (which is not
to say that I make the effort to look
up their translations in the
prayerbook), he seems to really.
mean it. I think that he would be a
good blues singer. He's not just
singing because that's the next
thing on the agenda or because the
song happens to be the one in the
book. I look at my watch again.
One hundred twenty more pages.
That cantor really can sing.
So how is it, then, that I end up
at services every year, and that I
still count the pages? That I still
get my main kick out of those
words the cantor belts out over
everybody, words I can't
understand? He transcends the order
of the service. He is alone. He is
above and exultant.
Why do I end up in that uncom -
fortable seat again? I wish I could
have as much faith in God as that
cantor. When he sings God's
praises he means it. He is not just
Continued on Page 12
By Kurt Serbus
DIG THIS: A PRETTY, bright
young co-ed becomes personal
assistant to an eccentric professor
specializing in the study of simian
behavior. Arriving at his spooky,
isolated mansionsomewhere on the
English coast, she finds that the
only other inhabitants are a trio of
sinister monkeys and a pack of
viscious, wild dogs who patrol the
area. When the good doctor makes
arrangements to have two of the
monkeys offed (including a super-
intelligent orangutan named Link),
bodies start popping up left and
right, and it begins to appear
(suprise!) that the killer is
somewhat less than human.
Sound like the stuff of classic
motion pictures? Of course not.
Sound like the type of fare that's
headed for the "Scream Theater"
playlist in just a few short months?
Exactly. But even some of those
"Scream Theater" regulars are all
right, and "Link" definitely has it's
Make no mistake about
it-"Link" is a cheap schlock
horror film, an inane script thrown
together around a ridiculous
premise. The acting is second-rate
(except for the orangutan, who's
subtle, sorrowful performance as an
aging celebrity strikes more
emotional chords than a lot of
recently "acclaimed" human
performances-like Jon Voight's
Oscar-nominated ranting in
"Runaway Train," for instance).
PRINT FROM THE PAST
Continued from Page 4
songwriting here is spotty at best,
and there's painful little resembling
his old work on this piece of vinyl.
In this round, Thompson's
adventures mostly concern his
misadventures with those strange,
fickle creatures that he hasn't quite
figured out yet: women. This is
how he deals with the subject:
women are Exotic and the Other,
and gosh, he has no idea what to do
with them, they're awful and he has
to love 'em. Or he doesn't. One
example of the latter is "Bone
Through Her Nose," Thompson's
right-on-target stinger about
fashionable New Wave Gurls. Do I
need to say he doesn't like them?
Here, the songwriting is
wonderfully amusing, and the
production overdone, complete with
McNuggets Shanghai style guitar
As well, there are many
references to Linda Peters
Thompson, his ex-wife and ex-
singing/songwriting partner. The_
subject occurs and reoccurs in
"Missie, How You Let Me Down,"
"Long Dead Love, "Lovers' Lane,"
and "Jennie," all ballads, all you-
done-me-wrong brought up to date.
"Missie" and "Jennie" succeed to
some extent, rising above the
overproduction that engulfs the
other ballads and chokes them.
"Missie" has a, great hook, and
"Jennie" emphasizes Thompson's
crooning abilities (unfortunately at
the expense of his guitar).
And then there's the issue of
treading water, which does come up
here. "Baby Talk" is just a rewrite
of Thompson's witty "Two Left
Feet." And "Dead Man's Handle" is
a depressing, flowing, wonderful
The climatic ending is really stupid.
And there's a lot less action and
gore than there could have been. So
how come I sort of, kind of, liked
this movie (sort of)?
Well, the camera work, for one
thing. No matter how lame the
other elements in "Link" might be,
producer/director Richard Franklin
always keeps things vi.sually
interesting with a lot of De Palma-
style pans and other techniques.
When the camera is shooting a
monkey's eye-view, for instance, he
utilizes speeded-up stop-action pho -
tography to represent the altered
perception of the beast. Now,
there's no reason in hell that I can
think of why a monkey would see
things in speeded-up stop-action
photography, but it looks really,
really cool anyways. Seriously, this
Franklin guy has a good eye for the
right shot, a terrific visual
imagination, and his action scenes
really kick ass. If he can get his
hands on a decent script the next
time around, he could really be a
The acting, like I said back in
paragraph three, is second-rate, but
it's interesting nonetheless. Terence
Stamp, who already carved out his
own niche in the "Scream Theater"
pantheon years ago as "The
Collector," does a decent turn as the
nutty professor. He doesn't exactly
pull a De Niro, mostly relying on
the fact that he's old and English to
define his character, but in a movie
about killer monkeys, he still
manages to rise above the material.
rocking guitar. The production is
not real noticeable on this one, as
he goes on about how he don't
understand her, still he loves her.
Yep, and we're hoping it'll never
end! "How Will I Ever Be Simple
Again" is charming, simple and
slow, with a real 19th Century
English folk feel to it. And "Al
Bowlly's in Heaven" is also a bit
simple-the guitar sneaks around
and grabs you, in the most pleasant
and unnerving way. Ah, yes, this is
the Richard we know and love.
To those who aren't too familar
There are good points and bad
points to everything. I'd
recommend getting some of his
earlier albums if you're not familiar
with them, and then when you're
hooked, come to this one. It's a
strikingly human album made by a
human Guitar God... not as good as
stuff in the past, but still good.
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
After seeing Ric Ocasek in a
Cars video, you might think that he
can do anything. In "Magic," he
even shows us that he walks on
water. So when this demigod of
pop music releases a solo album, it
naturally raises high hopes. But
"This Side of Paradise" falls short
The opening track does shake it
up pretty well. Ocasek's familiar
intonations glide across a catchy, if
unspectacular upbeat tune. Then
just as it starts showing signs of
running low on fuel, along comes
Steve Stevens. Billy Idol's lead
Student housing 1962, co-op style: two housemates ofa the Owen
Cooperative consider strategies for preparing the evening's meal.
THE DAILY ALMANAC
10 years ago-October 12,
1976: Volunteers collected over
37,000 canis and bottles along the
Huron River and put them in an
enormous heap. The effort was
staged to dramatize the need for
"Proposal A," the so-called "Bottle
Bill" banning non-returnables in
Michigan, which was on the
20 years ago-October 12,
1966: It was announced that out-
of-state enrollment at the
University jumped sharply after
seven straight years of decline. Fall
1966 out--of-state enrollment hit
30.5 percent, an increase of 3.3
percent over 1965. State legislation
passed in 1959 set limits on the
number of non-Michigan residents
allowed to study at the University,
after criticism that out-of-state
students were being accepted at the
expense of Michigan residents.
Ric Ocasek's latest solo effort falls short of expectations.
thang that bears more than a
passing resemblance to
Thompson's brillant, depressing,
flowing "Wall of Death." Still, I'd
rather listen to Richard Thompson's
rewrites and re-rewrites than just
about anyone else's first draft.
And then there are the glowing
spots of brillance that even
Mitchell Froom cannot destroy.
"Valerie," the single, is lovely and
uptempo with a nice glisten of
PAGE 8 WEEKEND/OCTOBER 10, 1986
WEEKEND/OCTOBER 10, 1986