Saturday, May 18, 2013

Extra Ordinary

Long before I knew what parody and sketch comedy were, I was a huge fan of both. As a child, I loved Saturday Night Live, Turkey TelevisionSCTV, Laugh-In and TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes. Naturally, I came up with my own comedy ideas for TV and film. Most of them had the word "ordinary" as a punch line. I thought this was hilarious.

Here's why: at some point, I saw a fake commercial for a cereal called "Ordinary K." (I can't recall when or on what show, and the entire Internet apparently doesn't know either. There is this, though, in a meaner vein.) The ad got my attention and made me laugh out loud. And it inspired me.

I began to integrate "Ordinary" into all of my spoofs, most of which are lost to time. One I remember was a movie called Ordinary Rider, in which a news producer embarks on a soul-searching, cross-country road trip with his pal in a Ford Escort.

I couldn't find a rip of "Ordinary K" online, but I found a picture of the exact toy car that I pretended was Ordinary Rider. Good show, Internet.
But my magnum ordinary opus was a show that I (and I'd imagine millions of Americans) would watch even today: Ordinary Wrestling.

The concept was simple: pro wrestling with celebrities. And I don't mean those WWE cameos where a famous person shows up and gets dramatically fake-demolished between rounds — I mean, real celebrities get real pummeled. Because to my elementary brain, wrestling was real. And apparently, I thought anyone could do it.

I drew up fight cards (none of which I still have, unfortunately). While I can't recall the exact match-ups, they often ran along the line of Ed McMahon vs. Dick Clark and Bill Cosby vs. Bea Arthur. The only real matches I remember are Andre the Giant vs. Ernest and Pee Wee Herman vs. Kermit Duhon.

Who is Kermit Duhon? He's a big-shot travel agent in Lafayette. For a few months in the 1980s, he hosted a sweepstakes drawing on local TV that appeared in between shows. He'd spin the wheel and people would win big prizes. In my mind, this made him as big a celebrity as Pee-Wee.

Vintage TV Guide ad for Ordinary Wrestling, circa 1988.
My brother and I took it a step further and Ordinary Wrestled for real. We'd each pick a favorite famous person and then grapple in our custom ring (my grandmother's bed), usually during Bloopers. The floor of the bedroom was also fair game. I even made up my own move inspired by the DDT just for Ordinary Wrestling: the AAC. The move consisted of whatever I was doing at the moment I yelled, "AAC!" And we'd laugh the whole time while repeating, "This is ORDINARY Wrestling!"

We weren't ordinary kids.

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