Tiny Tim Gets Famous for Being Weird, Incidentally Talented
A great many of you kids don’t know who Tiny Tim was. You have this in common with your grandparents from the ’60s, who watched his debut in bafflement. To the people of that era, the 6 foot 1 inch Tim was a pioneer of the American freak show, and all they needed to know was that they could laugh at him and his stupid ukulele. (Takeaway: Your grandparents were dicks.)
With his long hair and falsetto voice, he was the opposite of the Mad Men aesthetic, and thus a perfect fit for Rowan Martin’s Laugh In, a show where two classic comedians guided Mr. and Mrs. America through this freaky counterculture, baby. Just watch this video, where he gives a solid performance while host Dick Martin acts as the audience’s POV character, goggling at the weirdo.
Tim’s height was a direct contrast to his 1930s starlet singing voice. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t climb an ivy trellis to reach the owner of that voice. And don’t front like you’d be upset to discover it was Tiny Tim, real name Herbert Buckingham Khaury, which is the boss name of some kind of berserker alchemist warrior king.
Submitted as proof: a duke kneeling before him.
So while his talent was manifest, he came of age in an era when the people who would have thrown him a pillow party were losing power to the people who thought he was a hoot. The times, they were a changin’.
Because he was more rock star than most of his contemporaries.
Just so we’re clear: Tiny Tim was musically talented. The fact that he found fame for a musical expression that didn’t square with the mainstream doesn’t change that. If anything, it shows the worth of his act. Shoot, he can hit a note better than Sonny Bono when he duets with himself on “I Got You Babe.”
But making music is not what made him famous. Tim’s national success was because you could either laugh with him or at him. But what a sad world for you if it was the latter, because his act was always supposed to be funny. It was weird, and he owned that weirdness like he paid cash for it and asked for a receipt.
Today he would probably have 2 million Twitter followers and a few minor news blurbs for biting Andy Dick. But back then, in the era of three TV channels? It was amazing that he even made it to the screen.
But he did, and that is why the man is a success. Oh, you think he was just a novelty act? You’re entitled to your opinion, and feel free to validate it by impressing the Beatles enough that they request your talents for a Christmas bootleg.
Tiny Tim was married three times to knockouts, including a famous on air wedding on The Tonight Show. The biggest superstars of his era wanted to keep company with him.
Sure, he was tortured by his sexuality, but that’s the era’s fault, not his. He lived on a diet “of raw potatoes, beer, and jars of tomato sauce.” The only diet more rock star than that is uncut heroin and Madonna’s pussy.
Plus, he died like a boss. After suffering a heart attack, doctors told him to stop performing for his cardial integrity. Now, surely playing the uke and singing in the upper register is an activity that even heart attack victims can handle, but dagnabbit if he didn’t decide to leave this world in the same high pitched squeal he entered with. Two months later, he suffered a second heart attack onstage, this one terminal.
He told Death where and when to show up if it thought it was up to the task.
See? Rock star. If Dio had done that, they’d still be burning Swedish churches to the ground in his name.
1. Empress Theodora Seduces a Goose
I will relate her biography as told by Procopius in The Secret History, but you should only trust it as far as you do any work that claims its subjects were possessed by demons. I’m not saying Theodora definitely didn’t fly around as a disembodied head, but in my voluminous experience, prostitutes seldom go on to greater things after decapitation. You have to take Procopius’ accounts as the moralizing lectures they are.
But at least we finally get to hear how a powerful old man thinks women should conduct their sexuality.
In sixth century Byzantium, the difference between gangs, sports hooligans, and political parties was this: There wasn’t one. The two main factions were the Greens and the Blues, so called because of their chariot teams’ uniforms. Theodora was born to a Green called Acacius the Bearkeeper. Tame was his name, and tame was his game, but taming bears was not nearly enough practice to raise a daughter like Theodora.
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Acacius died in Theodora’s youth (from astonishingly non ursine causes), and mom sent her three beautiful daughters out, first to beg from wealthy men, then to bed them. Theodora rose from the bump and run ranks of porne (brothel worker) to the much more enjoyable life of a hetaera (high class escort). Hetaerae were trained as pleasant companions. Some recited poetry, some played musical instruments, some danced. Theodora’s talent was fucking.
She then ordered the entire patrician class to put its olive oil down. Olive oil is for closers.
But sex was not her performing art. She found herself in the company of people even more loathsome than prostitutes: actors. Theodora eventually joined her paramours and/or customers on the stage. She had a natural talent for comedy, since in order to have stage fright, one must be able to blush.
What really made her name was when she got her own act. Leda and the Swan was a dance re enactment of that time Zeus turned into a bird to impregnate a queen.
Still, laying a couple eggs was probably preferable to passing a 9 pound human.
Now, only a lunatic would try to have sex with a swan onstage. You have to use a trained goose. Or a whole gaggle, really. Theodora had slaves sprinkle barley “into the calyx of this passion flower, whence geese, trained for the purpose, would next pick the grains one by one with their bills and eat.”
A calyx is the outermost petals or leaves of a flower, which would mea Think how much time she saved on depilatory grooming.