’70s comedy ruled from an anti-throne of contempt for authority in all shapes. College deans, student body presidents, Army sergeants and officers, country-club swells, snooty professors and the EPA: Anyone who made it his life’s work to lord it over others got taken down with wit.
When the smoke bombs cleared and the anarchy died, comedy turned inward and became domesticated. It also became smaller.
“The Cosby Show” and Jerry Seinfeld didn’t seek to ridicule those in power. Instead they gave us comfy couch comedy — riffs on family and etiquette and people’s odd little habits.
Now, in the Judd Apatow era, comedy is increasingly marked by two worrying trends: One is a knee-jerk belief, held even by many of the most brilliant comedy writers, that coming up with the biggest, most outlandish gross-out gags is their highest calling.
Today’s comics have abdicated their responsibility to take down the powerful. They tiptoe around President Obama, but comedy has to be fearless.
These days they’re more at ease mocking their social inferiors than going after the high and mighty. Comfortably ensconced inside the castle that Richard Pryor and George Carlin tried to burn down, they drop water balloons on the unspeakable middle-America drones of “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”
Even comics who present themselves as the loyal opposition to the political leadership, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, expend most of their effort simply repackaging Democratic Party talking points as jokes. The ’70s hang-’em-all anarchist spirit lives on only in the margins, in a few brave outposts like “South Park.”
Interesting points though I think one could argue that dramatic movies and TV shows have devolved in a similar way too. I think you need to consider the context of the times too. The 70s were responding to the 60s and Watergate which was a very different vibe than the Reagan era stew that Cosby and Seinfeld emerged from. That said, it'd be cool to see more "stick it to the man" comedy.
When the scene called for Bill to punch me out on the corner, I went to Harold and asked if there was anything he wanted me to do. He leaned in and whispered with that half-smile, “Do whatever you want. I’m setting the camera up wide. No close-ups. Comedy only happens when there is a relationship. We’ll see both you and Bill at the same time. Comedy lives in the two shot.”
And he's got a blog too. The post "Why Acting Is So Horrible" talks about crisis management as a key skill for performers: "You never have the right circumstances to do your job. The horrible isn’t the exception. It is the rule...Don’t look at calamities as a wall between you and your work. Think of them as little surprises life is giving you to keep it fresh."
I’m sick of finance guys. They call others “takers,” yet they make nothing. They deride "welfare queens" yet demand bailouts. They slander politicians for being “socialist” yet line up to suckle on the government teat. They preach “personal accountability” and then claim to be too big to fail. They break the law yet never face prosecution. They destroy the economy and reward themselves with massive bonuses. They bribe our government and then complain about any hint of regulation. They praise economists while paying academics hush money that corrupts the study of economics itself. They make dumb bets yet never lose a thing. They rig the game yet act like they genuinely earned their spoils. They’re self-described “risk takers” who take no actual risks. And we let them get away with it. How it works in this country: If you steal $5,000, you go to jail. But if you steal $50 billion, you get to shake the President’s hand.
Animal House. Stripes. Meatballs. Ghostbusters. Caddyshack. Vacation. Groundhog Day. Helluva run. This Harold Ramis obit talks about a realization he had after a performance at Second City in 1972.
“The moment I knew I wouldn't be any huge comedy star was when I got on stage with John Belushi for the first time," he said in a 1999 Tribune interview. "When I saw how far he was willing to go to get a laugh or to make a point on stage, the language he would use, how physical he was, throwing himself literally off the stage, taking big falls, strangling other actors, I thought: I'm never going to be this big. How could I ever get enough attention on a stage with guys like this?
"I stopped being the zany. I let John be the zany. I learned that my thing was lobbing in great lines here and there, which would score big and keep me there on the stage."
Funny = Money is a look at comedy manager Peter Principato. He says, “You have to get yourself out there. You have to make your little YouTube videos. You have to write things yourself instead of waiting for a real Hollywood writer to come along and write you a vehicle.”
One interesting bit from it is the talk about All in the Family. According to Principato, what made Archie Bunker work was his vulnerability/humanity. That's why he could "go there" on race and other stuff the way no one else on TV had up to that point.
In the show, [Rob] Riggle aims to play a Bill O’Reilly-like newscaster, a conservative blowhard with a tremendous ego in the vein of Ted Baxter, from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Principato said the network was concerned about the central character’s likability. He didn’t seem vulnerable enough. Riggle was ready to adapt, but worried about overcompromising. “I think we need to defend a little,” he said. “You know, you could always count on Sam Malone, Woody and Norm from ‘Cheers’ to be themselves. You could always count on Coach to be Coach. You could always count on those characters. Frank Burns was always going to be Frank Burns. . . . ”
Principato interrupted. “But Frank Burns wasn’t the lead in the show.” He cited Archie Bunker, from “All in the Family.” Bunker was a chauvinistic, racist, irascible bully, but his comeuppances were so severe and so frequent, you were always reminded of his frailties.
Riggle’s eyes got a bit misty. “Remember when he got locked in the basement with Meathead and he told the ‘Shoe-Booty’ story?”
Principato laughed. The story was about how poor Bunker had been as a kid — he had to wear one shoe and one boot to school, and the other kids teased him: Shoe-Booty.
Riggle continued. “I cried — I was a kid then, but — that was good stuff.”
Principato pressed his point. “Yeah. So . . . it had the humanity. I think that’s what it was. And I don’t think Hardaway — we didn’t show enough of his humanity. You know what I mean?”
If you want to be dark/mean/edgy/etc, ya better also get it back in some way that makes you seem vulnerable too.
How the Beatles Went Viral talks about how the group went from unknowns to the biggest pop stars in the USA in just six weeks. Their humor was a key part of it. For example, an early gig in front of the Royal Family...
Famously, Lennon introduced the band's finale that evening, "Twist and Shout," with the quip, "Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry." It was a display of cheekiness that heretofore one simply didn't exhibit before the Royal Family.. And yet, by narrowing the distance between the monarchy and the working-class foursome onstage, Lennon brought down the house-and in the process managed to make the band all the more beloved in an England where notions of one's proper place were evolving rapidly. Even the Queen Mother came away a fan, calling the Beatles "so young, fresh and vital"...
At 1:20 p.m. on Feb. 7, the Beatles arrived stateside on Pan Am flight 101, greeted by the high-pitched squeals of approximately 4,000 teenagers, plus more than 200 reporters and photographers and 100 police officers. The crowd was larger and louder than that which Sullivan had chanced upon three months earlier at London Airport. At the famous press conference conducted inside the airport, defying the low expectations journalists had of rock'n'rollers in that era, the Beatles' charisma and wit wowed the skeptical crowd. If anything, it was the reporters who appeared to be the dullards, asking banal questions-"What do you think of Beethoven?"-which the Beatles fielded with their patented cheekiness-"Great," Ringo Starr replied. "Especially his poems."
Nothing like a good zinger to get folks on your side.
There is very little value in everyone knowing what level you deserve to be on as soon as you have reached that level. You shouldn’t want to get seen by industry people just because you “can” hold your own with the big dogs…it is much better to get as good as you possibly can under the radar so that when you do get seen, you blow everyone’s mind and are more than ready for whatever big break that might come your way. No one owes you anything for your hard work. The only benefit of your hard work is how good it has made you. This is why “years” in stand up almost means nothing. People progress at different rates, and sometimes someone has a breakthrough many years in; or maybe it just took a while for people to be able to appreciate their style. If you have the time to make a note of every thing that some undeserving peer got, then you have the time to put a little more effort into your act, which is the only thing that speaks for you, or should speak for you.
And Ben Kronberg wrote this Facebook post about the year he's had following his Comedy Central Half Hour.
I did a Half Hour last year and am agent-less and manager-less. I booked less colleges this year than I ever have. The guy at the St. Louis funny bone won't return my emails along with a slew of other bookers and gatekeepers who seem to only want to deal with agents or at least not me. I feel the disparity between the singular success and the longevity it should be contributing to. It's like getting married, having a great wedding with lots of love and hugs and gifts, but you get home and you still have all your flaws and insecurities, and the constant nag of that thing that should make it all right, but doesn't...But it's really just the thoughts that sting. The reality is beautiful. I got to perform in Korea and am recording my first album and my mom got to watch me perform the other night. I've used Facebook to correspond and get gigs I never would have known about or thought possible. I'm a comedian. I'm a fucking comedian. I am a lucky fuck to even be able to do this ridiculous thing. WE are lucky fucks. Wake up everyday and look at yourself and say: "I am a lucky fuck." Cuz you are.
"More Cowbell" is the one that always comes to mind for me. According to the piece, the conventional wisdom on breaking: You might get a laugh, but it's a cheap one. However: “You’re allowed to break if the audience would never expect you to break.” Also interesting: It's known as corpsing in Britain.
She came to regard candor as a powerful inventive tool: one that offered the energetic release of an uncorked bottle but also created a bond between artist and audience...
She thinks about an observation Antonoff made one day when she was feeling low.. “He’s like, ‘You know what’s hard? People want the person who wants to share it all.. But they want the person who wants to share it all minus foibles and mistakes and fuckups.. They want cute mistakes.. They don’t want real mistakes.’ If I placed that many censors on myself, I wouldn’t be able to continue to make the kinds of things that I make.. And so I just sort of know there are going to be moments where I take it one step too far.”
In a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers analyzed comedians and found they score higher than normal people on traits like being impulsive, anti-social behavior, and a tendency to avoid intimacy.
"The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis - both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder," said Gordon Claridge of the University of Oxford's department of experimental psychology, who led the study...
"Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people's ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think 'outside the box'," he said.
"Equally, manic thinking - which is common in people with bipolar disorder - may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections."
So basically: If you want to be funny, it's good to be schizophrenic but not TOO schizophrenic.
Fifteen Years of the Salto Mortale is a fascinating 1978 profile of Johnny Carson. In it, director Billy Wilder gives this eloquent explanation of why Carson was so good.
“By the simple law of survival, Carson is the best,” he said.. “He enchants the invalids and the insomniacs as well as the people who have to get up at dawn. He is the Valium and the Nembutal of a nation.. No matter what kind of dead-asses are on the show, he has to make them funny and exciting. He has to be their nurse and their surgeon.. He has no conceit.. He does his work and he comes prepared. If he’s talking to an author, he has read the book.. Even his rehearsed routines sound improvised.. He’s the cream of middle-class elegance, yet he’s not a mannequin. He has captivated the American bourgeoisie without ever offending the highbrows, and he has never said anything that wasn’t liberal or progressive. Every night, in front of millions of people, he has to do the salto mortale”—circus parlance for an aerial somersault performed on the tightrope. “What’s more”—and here Wilder leaned forward, tapping my knee for emphasis—”he does it without a net. No rewrites. No retakes. The jokes must work tonight.”
The author also talks about Carson's great way with savers. He could dig himself out of any hole.
The unexpected impromptus with which he rescues himself from gags that bomb, thereby plucking triumph from disaster, are also part of the expected pleasure. “When it comes to saving a bad line, he is the master”—to quote a tribute paid in my presence by George Burns. Carson registers a gag’s impact with instant, seismographical finesse. If the laugh is five per cent less than he counted on, he notes the failure and reacts to it (“Did they clear the hall? Did they have a drill?”) before any critic could, usually garnering a double-strength guffaw as reward. Whatever spoils a line—ambiguous phrasing, botched timing, faulty enunciation—he is the first to expose it. Nobody spots flaws in his own work more swiftly than Carson, or capitalizes on them more effectively.
How does Seinfeld handle hecklers? He turns into the Heckle Therapist:
Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist.. So that when people would say something nasty, I would immediately become very sympathetic to them and try to help them with their problem and try to work out what was upsetting them, and try to be very understanding with their anger.. It opened up this whole fun avenue for me as a comedian, and no one had ever seen that before.. Some of my comedian friends used to call me - what did they say? - that I would counsel the heckler instead of fighting them.. Instead of fighting them, I would say "You seem so upset, and I know that's not what you wanted to have happen tonight.. Let's talk about your problem" and the audience would find it funny and it would really discombobulate the heckler too, because I wouldn't go against them, I would take their side.
Seinfeld's quote is from his recent AMA at Reddit. Another interesting bit is how he claims the show Seinfeld wasn't actually about nothing.
Yeah, I'm always annoyed by people who describe Seinfeld as a show about nothing.. Even in the later years when you guys strayed from the "how a comedian gets his material" formula, it was still about social faux pas and ridiculous social customs.
Seinfeld: FINALLY I have met someone that understands the show.. Thank you for your rare and perceptive analysis.
TWO huge guests tonight (Tue) at HOT SOUP. These guys normally sell out theaters so we can't name names but there are hints here.
TWO "HE'S SO BIG WE CAN'T ANNOUNCE IT" SPECIAL GUESTS FROM MOVIES/TV
Wyatt Cenac (Daily Show)
Michael Che (SNL)
Christian Finnegan (Conan)
Nikki Glaser (MTV)
Will Miles (Chicago)
Mark Normand (Conan)
Matt Ruby (MTV)
Keeping his act sex- and swear-free, the way he sees it, is part of this athletic challenge, since it denies him the easiest laughs: "A person who can defend themselves with a gun is just not very interesting.. But a person who defends themselves through aikido or tai chi? Very interesting." Likewise his focus on minutiae.. "It's so much easier when you're talking about something that really is important.. You've already got a better foundation than someone who's bringing up something that does not need to be discussed." Such as? "I do a lot of material about the chair.. I find the chair very funny.. That excites me.. No one's really interested in that – but I'm going to get you interested! That, to me, is just a fun game to play.. And it's the entire basis of my career."
Interesting perspective. Not sure I agree with the idea that it's easier to talk about important things. So it's easier for Carlin or Stanhope than it is for Seinfeld? Important stuff gets people tense and stiff. Observational stuff doesn't do that. And no one walks out on your set because they disagree with your opinion on chairs.
It can be very frustrating to keep sucking at something without realizing that it’s not the thing you should be trying to get better at. It’s like when our parents used to tell us as kids, “There is something that you don’t even realize you’re good at,” or, “People like you because of this, but you’re mad because it’s not this other thing.” Part of successfully growing up is letting go of unrealistic ideas that stop us from recognizing something else we’re good at and might enjoy more than what we’re doing now. There could be something 10 times greater than what you’re doing, but you don’t realize it because you’re fixated on the thing you feel like you should be doing.
Fixation is good. Until it blocks out your vision of the bigger picture and alternate paths.
Smart piece, by the founder of a denim label, on the intersection of art/commerce/PR and making money off what ya do: Ten Lessons from a Maker [via JF].
I) No one knows you exist.
You make a great product. But the world isn’t holding its breath waiting for you. It doesn’t know who you are. It doesn’t know you even exist. Currently, in the pecking order, you are at the bottom. It’s nothing personal. Everyone starts here.
You will have to make your reputation. You have will have to gain peoples attention. You will have to be as good at selling your product as you are making it. It is your job to get people to know you are on the planet.
II) You are not an artist.
You make things. You make things in order to sell them. The difference between you and an artist is you can’t wait years to be discovered.
You have to make what people want to buy. This is commerce. This is not art.
Selling is good. Employing people is good. Having apprentices is good.
Makers are here to make. Makers are here to sell - Van Gogh had to wait till he died before he sold his first painting. You can’t.
Sales after you die don’t count.
III) Make something that people want to buy.
Time is your most valuable resource. Spending your time making something that no one wants is one of the best ways I know to waste your life, and also to kill your business. So before you start, work out what people want. Work out why they will buy your product over your rivals. Work out what sets you apart.
One good way to make sure people want what you have to make is to do it better than anybody else. Another good way is to design it more beautifully than your rival. But the best way, is to do something that no else is doing. And do it so well, they don’t even try to copy you.
I know, I know...you're an artist and you shouldn't have to deal with this stuff. But maybe this is just part of being an artist now?
And speaking of makers, this is a beautiful short about a master woodworker in Eureka, CA. It goes deep. [via JK]
Mike Birbiglia interview. He's asked, "How does it feel different to you, performing in that more personal style and with a purpose with more at stake?"
I wanted to pick my favorite things about one-person shows and my favorite things about standup comedy and merge them into a thing that is personal and, hopefully, knock on wood, as funny as a regular comedy album, but then also leads up to a point and has like an emotional weight to it in that, in some ways, I’m kind of giving something to the audience...
I always think of it as I like serving a full meal for the audience, as opposed to, like, chicken wings. That’s what I think of jokes — they’re chicken wings or pizza or ice cream or something. I love those things; I’d be the first to line up for all of those foods, but if a chef can deliver you a full meal, that to me is sort of euphoric. And that’s how I want people to feel about it. I want people to feel satiated from it. And I want it to kind of simmer in them. For them to be thinking about it the next day, like, “Oh, remember when we watched that thing?” [Laughs.] That’s really the hope.
I like the wings vs. a full meal analogy. Do you want to give 'em something fast and greasy? Or do you want to give 'em a gourmet meal they'll remember down the road? Both have their pros and cons. Also, it'd be weird if chefs had to prove they could cook wings first before they're allowed to do a gourmet meal. 'Cuz that's what it feels like with standup.
“Part of [Rick] Rubin’s genius,” Mr. Hilburn says, “was that he didn’t simply portray Cash as a rebel. He wanted to break through the public image of Cash as a superhero by capturing his human side — the struggle and the pain and the grit. Says Rubin, ‘When I asked artists what they admired about him, that’s what they often mentioned — that vulnerable, hurt aspect, the man who wouldn’t give up.’ ”
Cash persevered through heart surgery, neurological problems, a damaged jaw and failing eyesight and even continued to record music after the death of his beloved June in May 2003. He died four months later; by then, according to one estimate, doctors had him on some 30 medications.
His son, John Carter, later said: “I believe the thing about Dad that people find so easy to relate to is that he was willing to expose his most cumbersome burdens, his most consuming darknesses. He wasn’t afraid to go through the fire and say: ‘I fell down. I’ve made mistakes. I’m weak. I hurt.’ But in doing so, he gained some sort of defining strength. Every moment of darkness enabled him to better see the light.”
Interesting way to look at it: Admitting weakness is displaying strength. People admire that level of honesty – and your ability to overcome struggles.
I've figured out what slut-shaming means. But I'm still rather cloudy on a lot of the other terms used at "men are bad" posts I see online. Terms like gender essentialism, misandry, normative, gaslighting, etc.
Part of the goal here is to reach men and change their behavior, right? Because relying so heavily on terms that can only be understood if you took a Women's Studies class at a liberal arts college can't be the most effective way to do that. When a regular dude sees language like this, it's easy for him to think, "I've never even seen that word. This ain't for me. I'm outta here."
Femijargon builds a wall. It creates a we-agree-with-each-other cocoon for women. But it significantly reduces the chance of a teachable moment for men.
The real challenge is to explain gender issues while using simple, clear language that everyone can understand. Do that and guys might actually pay attention and examine their own behavior. And that'd be a healthy thing.
I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
I tell my students that the odds of their getting published and of it bringing them financial security, peace of mind, and even joy are probably not that great. Ruin, hysteria, bad skin, unsightly tics, ugly financial problems, maybe; but probably not peace of mind. I tell them that I think they ought to write anyway.
My writer friends, and they are legion, do not go around beaming with quiet feelings of contentment. Most of them go around with haunted, abused, surprised looks on their faces, like lab dogs on whom very personal deodorant sprays have been tested.
But I also tell [my students] that sometimes when my writer friends are working, they feel better and more alive than they do at any other time. And sometimes when they are writing well, they feel that they are living up to something. It is as if the right words, the true words, are already inside them, and they just want to help them get out. Writing this way is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.
If you give freely, there will always be more. … It is one of the greatest feelings known to humans, the feeling of being the host, of hosting people, of being the person to whom they come for food and drink and company. This is what the writer has to offer.
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
A piece on Amazon Video’s new original show: ‘Alpha House.’ Apparently, Amazon's first original web production "was born from a mountain of site data, user input, and focus grouping." Entertainment Weekly review of it says, “I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t coming together. In the end, what kept it from being the next Veep came down to comedic timing and cast chemistry." Oh, you mean building a show based on data, crowdsourcing, and focus groups didn't lead to a lot of chemistry? Shocking that.
When the story is important to you. When it fascinates you. That passion is tangible. The reader senses it. And, without even knowing why, gives you the benefit of the doubt. You still have to tell the story well, of course, and that still takes an enormous amount of effort and concentration. But: The huge collateral benefit of telling stories that genuinely fascinate you is this: forcing yourself to sit down and actually do the work is much, much easier than when you are merely writing something because you think it is marketable, can sell, is in a genre that’s currently in demand.
I like that read on an audience's ability to, conciously or not, suss out whether or not you really care about something. If they sense you're genuinely fascinated by something, they're gonna want to know why.
Saw a Citibike rider almost get hit today. Bloomberg's love for that program cracks me up. His attitude: "Let's put a bunch of clueless tourists, who can't even handle being pedestrians without blocking the entire sidewalk, and put 'em on bikes – even though they never ride – and make 'em navigate one of the most dangerous, chaotic, trafficked urban areas in the entire world and no, they won't have helmets or know where the hell they're going but it'll be good for the city!"
"What if they want to drink a 32 oz. soda after the ride?"
Time Out New York: You were one of Dave Chappelle’s openers at the massive Oddball festival this summer. How does your delivery change for that large a crowd?
John Mulaney: As a rule, with 18,000 people, I’d say: louder and faster. I remembered [Mike] Birbiglia gave me a piece of advice when I was first emceeing that he had been given when he was first emceeing. He did his set, walked off, and the headliner just went, “Louder and faster.”
4. He doesn't find reviews terribly useful, whether they're positive or negative.
"There's one thing you can absolutely, 100 percent rely on," he told me, when we discussed reviews, "which is that if you show five different people the same thing, they're all going to have a different complaint or compliment. Each is going to have a different response, and you'd better know what you're gonna do, otherwise you're going to get confused... [H]ow much good can come from putting any time into studying how people are responding to your movies? The best case scenario is that it makes you feel flattered for a certain period of time, which doesn't really buy you much, in life: and inevitably, it's not going to just be the best-case scenario, so learn to spare yourself that experience, I'd say."
You better know what you're gonna do or else you'll get confused. Interesting to think about that in terms of standup since our "reviews" come instantly, in the form of audience response. What if you did sets where you just ignored people's responses and did only what you want to do? Or maybe that's just a luxury filmmakers get that comedians don't.
Dane Cook remembers one discussion they had about people-pleasing. Patrice wondered if the desire to be liked onstage might be coming from the need to protect a belief in oneself as a nice guy offstage. What if you weren’t that guy at all?...He had plenty to say about comedians who cared more about being liked than committing to their particular point of view: “Do you have a life philosophy? Do you have anything that says goddamn ethic? Any ethic, you piece of shit? If you don’t, don’t talk to me.”
I always dug how Lou Reed used the words Jesus, heroin, and rock 'n roll interchangeably. As if they were the same thing. The thing that can heal the pain. The thing that makes everything alright.
There's a little girl who is bored. Suffocated by her parents and the suburbs. Who wants something more. And then she turns on a New York rock 'n roll station and she can't believe what she hears. She starts dancing. Her life is saved. Her life is saved by rock 'n roll. And after that, it was alright. It was alright. It's alright now.
Cuz if you listen hard enough, rock 'n roll can be your salvation. It can come through speakers and transport you to a different time and place. It can take you away. It can help your find your proper place.
I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sail the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
In a sailor's suit and cap
Away from the big city
Where a man can not be free
Of all of the evils of this town
And of himself, and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know
"Pale Blue Eyes":
Thought of you as my mountain top,
Thought of you as my peak.
Thought of you as everything,
I've had but couldn't keep.