Just this past Saturday night I played in my regular home game and poker tournament. (report coming up tonight or tomorrow) At the final table I am sandwiched in between two guys in their early 20's, Tim and Chris. I was fairly manic-y that night as I usually am during poker events. The previous night I was up until 3am with insomnia due to racy thoughts. So fueled solely on a manic high I was more Brian-ish than usual. (Wow, two made up words in one paragraph!!) I was singing at times. I was making inappropriate jokes (like joking about Tom sucking on his Mother's tit with her right next to him). I was also doing silly impersonations. In other words, I was my usual obnoxious self.
Certain phrases and words said by others were triggering my brain to sing songs that those words or phrases reminded me of. So, when someone announced that he had a pair of sixes by saying, "I got sixes", the Schoolhouse Rock song, I Got Six popped into my head and I started to sing it. Tim curiously started to look at me as I was singing the song, "I got six, that's all there is. Six times one is six- one times six." "Is that a made up song?", he queried.
I fully expect someone of Tim's age and generation to not know the Schoolhouse Rock catalog of songs. Especially as I Got Six is one of the more obscure and less popular ones. The Schoolhouse Rock animated shorts were beloved by my generation as they played in between the usual mix of Saturday morning cartoons. Most of my core knowledge of the multiplication tables, American History and the preamble to the constitution, basic science and human physiology and grammar was due to me being a typical kid couch potato every Saturday morning. I weep for Tim's generation as they did not have Schoolhouse Rock's catchy tunes beaten into their young impressionable brains. He did a have a glimmer of recognition when I told him it was the same guys who made I'm Just a Bill and Conjunction Junction.
I felt a touch old as I thought about that but then I felt even older a few minutes after that. After a interesting card came out on the turn on one hand I screamed, "Hey-o!!" in my best Ed McMahon impersonation. (well, it really was an impersonation of the late, great Phil Hartman impersonating Ed, but you get my point.) I followed up my initial Ed catch-phrase with a "You are correct sir!" and an Ed laugh. Chris then asks me, "Who are you impersonating?" I didn't know if I should be insulted as I thought Chris didn't recognize the impersonation because I was doing it poorly. I sheepishly replied, "Ed McMahon" Then the shock and awe bombing began with the next question from Chris-
"Who's Ed McMahon?"
"Are you serious?!" I incredulously replied somewhat out of line.
After some explaining that Ed was Johnny Carson's sidekick on the Tonight Show and he's the guy who delivers the big Clearinghouse sweepstakes check, he did know who Ed McMahon was. He then made the comparison to him being an Andy Richter and since he was close enough, I let the subject drop. A person who was a pop culture icon to my generation and to the 2 or 3 generations before me was becoming a footnote.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think Chris is dumb or anything like that for not knowing who Ed McMahon is. Quite the contrary as Chris appears to me to be a very intelligent, mature and funny young man. (good poker player too) Looking up the tonight Show on wiki, I see that Ed and Johnny said their goodbyes in 1992. While 1992 doesn't seem all that long ago to me, it's 16 years!! Chris was around 7 years old when Ed for the most part left the TV scene. Unless Chris' parents were completely neglectful or had weird ideas about when to put children to bed and what to let him watch on TV, It's understandable that he wouldn't instantly recognize the impression or name as I do. It's just like when I got a dirty look for not knowing who Ernie Kovacs was when I was in college. (I do now, having seen alot of his stuff, he was brilliant and groundbreaking)
So there you have it- what was once a star is now a memory. I am a bigger old fart than I previously thought (yet again, it seems to be getting worse...) and my only solace is knowing that someday Chris might finding himself saying, " 'Who's Andy Richter?!!' How could you not know who Andy Richter is?!!"