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July 23, 2014

monkeys

It's National Gorilla Suit Day - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 31st 2007 8:02AM

don martinAre you wearing a gorilla suit? if so, why not? Did someone forget to tell you that today is National Gorilla Suit Day? Didn't you notice the banks were closed and no mail was delivered? You would think in this day and age when information can travel instantly we'd all be on the same page about this.

Anyway, National Gorilla Suit Day stems from the late Mad Magazine artist Don Martin, known for his bulbous-nosed characters and wacky sound effects. In the Mad paperback Don Martin Bounces Back!, Martin illustrated a story about a man who wants to ban National Gorilla Suit Day and consequently ends up beaten up by gorillas and abominable snowmen.

To honor this special day, enjoy this clip from The Ernie Kovacs Show featuring the Nairobi Trio. Kovacs is one of my favorite old-time comedians. If I had been alive when his show was on, I would have watched it. Kovacs was one of the first comedians to play around with the television medium to create gags that couldn't be done on a live stage. Clip is after the jump.

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Weaver revisits the gorillas this evening

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 11th 2006 11:05AM
gorillaIn the 1988 feature film Gorillas in the Mist, Sigourney Weaver played Dian Fossey, the real-life scientist and conservationist who came to Africa to study mountain gorillas and try to save them. Tonight at 8 p.m. EST (and again at 11 p.m.) Animal Planet is airing Gorillas Revisited, in which Weaver will return to the gorillas she once spent so much time with, to see if they remember her. Well, that's what the commercial claims, anyway. I assume she'll be hanging out with the real gorillas and not the fake ones Rick Baker created for the movie. That wouldn't be quite as impressive if you ask me.  

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Short-Lived Shows: The Chimp Channel

by Adam Finley, posted May 28th 2006 12:07PM

chimp channelDespite their long history in comedy, I've never found primates of any kind to be inherently funny. I don't care how human they act, how many cowboy hats you put on them, or how many props you give them, they're just not that humorous. Of course, now I must contradict myself by saying that pretty much anything can be funny if it's placed in the right context, which is why The Chimp Channel, a program which ran on TBS for one season in 1999 and whose cast consisted entirely of chimps, sometimes made me laugh, despite my aversion to the idea of monkeys being a kind of comedic Holy Grail whose mere presence brings comedy to any situation.

In a nutshell, The Chimp Channel was a sketch comedy show with chimps, spoofing the television shows and movies of the day. Based on that premise alone it's no wonder the show only lasted one season, but the writing was actually quite solid and funny, and they were able to get some great performances from the animals. The series was actually much better than it had any right to be. I don't see how a show consisting of an all-chimp cast could have lasted very long, no matter how funny they tried to make it, but the TV landscape has seen more than a few shows like this one that were just too outlandish to ever find a wide audience. If you're lucky enough to catch these types of shows when they're on, they provide a nice respite from the mundanity of "normal" television fare. Also, it helps if you like chimps pretending to be characters from Star Wars

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The Amazing Race 9: I Think This Monkey Likes Me!

by Deidre Woollard, posted May 11th 2006 1:56AM
(S09E11) This week's penultimate episode has the sole purpose of eliminating one last team from the race so they try to make it interesting with stunt eating and monkeys and a couple of rather tepid challenges. With one million dollars on the line and only four teams left, it seemed like a strange time to bring out challenges like fruit arranging and Buddha painting. What's left for the finale, the great knitting challenge?

As we begin, this time the Hippies not only need money, they need clothes. Yolanda donates purple pants and Eric and Jeremy throw in a couple of sandals. BJ and Tyler are really excellent beggars. If they don't win the million they could have quite a brisk panhandling career.

Finally, an eating challenge comes in the form of a fast forward. The first team to eat a bunch of deep fried crickets earns the prize. Ray and Yolanda and BJ and Tyler sit down to a meal of crickets. It takes one cricket for Yolanda and Ray to ditch the crickets.

Eric and Jeremy are enthralled by the monkeys of Thailand, partially because the life of a monkey involves lazing around and scratching fleas, pretty much their dream gig. The roadblock involves preparing a feast for the monkeys, which Eric and Jeremy are happy to do. It's pretty cute watching the monkeys sneak away with the food as fast as the teams can put it on the table. It's not so cute watching the predictably petulant Monica sulk on the sidelines when she and Joseph arrive late.

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I'm digging It's A Big, Big World

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 23rd 2006 12:03PM
it's a big big worldWay back in July and August I mentioned the new PBS series from Bear in the Big Blue House creator Mitchell Kriegman called It's a Big, Big World. At the time the show was still in production and facing a writers strike. I pretty much forgot all about the show when it finally aired, but I've since caught a few episodes, and I must say, it's quite impressive, at least visually. The show uses a technique called "shadowmation" which combines puppetry with animated backgrounds using what appears to be a blue screen effect. The result is a varicolored jungle world that jumps off the screen like a pop-up book. The environmental message of the show is a good one as well, even if it does get a little too "kumbaya" at times.

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