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.



  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!


  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…


  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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