Allen Ginsberg in 1982 on The Vern and Evelyn Show

The last of our spotlighted videos from the Stanford Allen Ginsberg Archives is a strange one – Allen on a cable tv improvised-comedy show –  Leon Varjian’s “The Vern & Evelyn Show”  (broadcast out of Madison, Wisconsin (WISC Cable 4) back in 1982).  Allen appears in three segments, in addition to a framing skit where he is jokingly misperceived (since he’s “world-famous”) as the author of the much-loved (and corny) baseball poem Casey at The Bat

The first segment (approximately three-and-a-quarter minutes in) is a spontaneous collaboration with Varjian, “Dueling Poets”,  (parodying “the Dueling Banjos scene” from the 1972 film “Deliverance”.  but with the two taking turns, swapping lines of poetry)

[Leon Varjian and Allen Ginsberg in “Dueling Poets”]

AG: “The archangels in heaven poured down their cups of  emptiness in to the polluted Mendota

LV: “The box of Kleenex was stapled to the ceiling”

AG: That was because Michael with the sword thought that he had a sneezing cold!

LV: Mounds of linguine piled upon my head

AG: I wonder why Thomas E Dewey let Lucky Luciano out of jail to get that heroin trade over the Mediterranean

LV: Gasoline pumps spewing forth dish detergent

AG: In a free economy they wouldn’t be subsidizing nuclear power and petrochemical waste

LV: Arabian mosquitos sweating pencil tips

AG: I wonder what happened to those empty angels.

Allen is mock-ceremoniously presented with a cup as the winner, at the end of the sketch

The second segment (approximately thirteen minutes in ) – ” “The Wisconsin Roll-Your-Own Symphony Orchestra”  (Allen is accompanied on this, and on a subsequent piece, by Charlie Wagner on guitar)  performing “Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag”  (“don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke..”)

The third segment (approximately twenty-two minutes in) is a performance of “Do The Meditation Rock”

Allen also concludes with a spontaneous note (following a request made in comic squeaky -mouse voices – Vern and Evelyn as two mice, an ongoing conceit – (“Why don’t we bring in Mr Ginsberg and have him recite a poem so Louis (sic) can get an idea of what he writes?  – That’s a great idea! – Hey, Mr Ginsberg, could you come in and tell us a little poem here?”)  – Allen responds with an exhalation (“Ah!”) and this line:

“Approaching midnight in the early 1980’s/we four mice play house for you on our table”

Other skits (not involving Allen) include “Micro Wave Church”, “Fascists” (a parody of Dragnet),  “Dave Hubcap’s Football Round-Up”,  “Clown Stereo Repair”,  “The 30 Second Interview”, “Mo Slime Show”   (a parody of radio call-in shows) – “Vern & Evelyn Mousebreak” ( a parody of tv news shows)  “Silent Movie” (The Queue)  and  “Purino Drunk Chow”

“Allen Ginsberg is a world-famous Buddhist poet who has written many many poems who people over the entire world have read and  loved”

The complete show, an odd little item, may be viewed – here 


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