David Lee Roth, Vaudevillian

Today is the birthday of David Lee Roth (b. 1954)….and — oh, who I am kiddin’?

I’m doing this post on a dare, a sort of challenge. I really know very little of Mr. Roth save a handful of MTV videos and singles from the years 1984 and 1985 when I was still very much paying attention to such things. In what ways he is a vaudevillian, I cannot presume to say. Like most (not all) vaudevillians, he has two eyes, a mouth, a nose, hair, wears funny hats, sings (sort of), and is Jewish. Beyond this, your guess is as good as mine.  I think I might have an easier time making vaudevillians out of Alice Cooper, Kiss, or Marilyn Mansonbut then, well, it wouldn’t be a challenge, would it?

If you have some ideas, please write in, although not too much.

Why don’t we let Mr. Roth speak for himself, in the most vaudevillian of songs I am aware of in his repertoire, and a video I once considered quite comical:

To find out more about the variety arts past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.

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6 comments

  1. Ha! I came back to this because it came up in FB “memories”. Hadn’t seen the above comments about Manny Roth. I knew that young DLR spent his summers hanging at Cafe Wha, but did not know about the Open Mic! Wow.
    In other news, there is now a YouTube video of DLR sand dancing. The man knows his stuff. Happy birthday to a master of vaudeville!

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  2. Steve ^ beat me to it!!! In the sense that David Lee Roth has a showman’s pedigree (and attitude), Manny would be it… As owner of the Cafe Wah? (where I appeared my own self one Sunday many, many years ago) Manny fostered a “vaudeville”-like atmosphere in his Open Mikes, hosted at one point by Fred Neil (“Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me” composer) and featuring that earliest of the “New Vaudevillians” Tiny Tim…

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  3. From his Wikipedia page: Roth’s uncle, Manny Roth, is an influential New York City nightclub owner and entertainment entrepreneur who built and owned the New York establishment Cafe Wha? in the early 1960s.

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