The late humorist Lewis Grizzard, a great American, joked that he had been married so many times that he once saw a bumper sticker on the Atlanta Beltway that said: “Honk if you have been married to Lewis Grizzard.” He regularly joked about his several marriages and his multiple heart operations.
Lewis (1946-1994) wrote a humorous newspaper column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that got syndicated and was widely circulated. His down-home southern humor no doubt influenced current successful comedian Jeff Foxworthy. By submitting a winning joke to the local newspaper, I once got a backstage visit and front‑row seats with the most gracious Mr. Foxworthy for his show. However, I never got to meet Lewis, who died at the tender young age of 47. As I recall, he got remarried again just before this last heart operation before his death.
Back in the 1960’s comedian Bill Cosby, and others, did records of their stand-up routines. However, Grizzard brought this to a new level when cassette tapes were available of his live road shows. I recall groups of us sitting around a cassette player laughing until tears, and sometimes other liquids, came out. They were just that good, all seven of them.
He took many of his weekly columns (or from his expanded comedy routines) and turned them into books. He used catchy titles for all of them like:
IF LOVE WERE OIL, I’D BE ABOUT A QUART LOW.
CHILI DAWGS ALWAYS BARK AT NIGHT.
SHOOT LOW BOYS, THEY’RE RIDING SHETLAND PONIES.
THEY TORE OUT MY HEART AND STAMPED THAT SUCKER
. . . . and many more (twenty-five altogether).
A friend gave me an autographed copy of “Don’t Sit Under the Grits Tree with Anyone Else but Me” (November 1981). Mind you, it was autographed to unknown “John and Mary” February 6, 1984, but why quibble over a piece of history like that. While I have quoted Lewis many times, it has been a long while since I read his books or listened to a tape (one of those thingys in a plastic case that always came unspooled on the turnpike trips when you really wanted to listen).
Even though now dated, his brand of humor was just priceless. He made being southern, or a redneck, a badge of honor. He said he was the only person from Moreland, Georgia who made the New York Times bestseller list, and for that matter, the only person in Moreland, Georgia who had heard of the New York Times. If you have not read him, I encourage you to get a little southern humor that touches all of small town America. His books are still available.
Lewis, rest his soul, published four times per week. He was syndicated in about 450 newspapers. I marvel at how my local humor columnist can come up with his good material for his once-a-week Sunday column. There are days when I struggle to come up with anything worthy of saying out loud. To have print-worthy humor four times a week is beyond me. My local newspaper humor guy, Rick Steelhammer, claims to just be writing in the bush leagues in Backwater, United States, but I disagree and find him very entertaining. I admire him for coming up with something once a week.
Since I am not getting paid, or generating any income whatsoever, from my alleged humor site, I guess I can get by with charity humor. By that I mean that my friends laugh politely in my presence and say “Bless his heart” in my absence. I view this humor blog as helping the economy by generating all the little electrons that make the letters appear in front of you from wherever the hell the Cloud is located.
I just got buzzed with electrons telling me it is “Whiskey Sour Day”. I had no idea. As the BuzzFeed article on drinks said: “Whiskey Sours are for throwing up in a dorm bathroom.”
Oh, well, as Grizzard wrote: “When My Love Returns from the Ladies’ Room, Will I Be Too Old to Care?” Since I am now too old to die young, the answer is probably yes.