(Archie, a common man who runs Duffy's Tavern for the never-heard Duffy, has startled all present by announcing that he is writing an opera).
Archie, whaddya call
Im glad you
reminded me. I aint got a title yet. Lemme see... I need
something thats classy, and at the same time has broad
Why dont you
call it Errol Flynn?
Please, Miss Duffy.
With me this is serious business.
With me you think
its a joke?
Quiet, please. Im trying to create.
Yascha (A.K.A. The Mad Russian):
Ive got a good
name for your opera.
The Barber of
The Barber of
Seville? Yascha, thats already been wrote.
A city the size of Seville, theres only one barber?
Derek 's comments on
the Barber of Seville joke (as heard in an exclusive interview on
the radio program Midnight Matinee,
WFMU: 91.1 FM, January 21,
That would have to be probably my favorite joke. Ed Gardner, the creator, star and chief writer of Duffys Tavern, may have written that joke. Im a big fan of Old-time Radio, and... I was listening to an audio cassette of Duffys Tavern on the train one day, and this joke just hit me out of the blue. It was so funny... Now, Ive been on jobs where the headiest conversation was Who do you think is funnier, Curly or Shemp? (Ive always been partial to Shemp, myself)... Im not, by any stretch of the imagination an opera cognecento. What I know about opera, basically Ive glommed from my love of popular culture... There was a time when they were doing opera jokes in cartoons, in radio comedy... They used to make Shakespeare jokes and things like that... You cant go making opera jokes on, say, Friends... the dumbing of America... But I think people do know the Barber of Seville from its exposure on things like The Little Rascals, which is still popular. Im not an opera fan, Im not an opera buff... there was a time in this country when people did have a working knowledge of opera. People were more astute back then, they had more of an awareness of great paintings, classical music, stuff like that. Thats why things like that would crop up as jokes or as set ups in popular culture. Probably one of my first impressions of opera was in a Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon... where the ghost of Franz Shubert was coming back to finish The Unfinished Symphony... And there was a cartoon in the fifties called Winky-Dink and You where... the dog was in the shower singing Toreador-a, please shut the door-a... There was an episode of Gilligans Island where they put on a version of Hamlet to the tune of Carmen... etc., etc...
The Barber of Seville was based on a story written in 1775 by Pierre Beaumarchais, a French writer, and this story proved so popular that somebody told me there were no less than eleven versions of this Barber of Seville story adapted into operatic form. The most famous was the one written by Gioachino Rossini in 1816. What happened was that Mozart wrote the sequel to it, The Marriage of Figaro... So when people get upset that somebody wanted to make Psycho 2 after Hitchcock was dead, hey, Mozart did it to Rossini years previous!
Let me tell you something, Ill tell you what an opera illiterate I am, I dont know what comes after Im the Barber of Seville. Im the Barber of Seville! Go Figaro...
Now Click the Barber Poles below to find out more!