Thursday, February 29, 2024

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Phyllis Diller – Are You Ready For Phyllis Diller? (1962)


Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

Phyllis Diller (1917-2012) began her comedy career in the 1950s at the age of 37 and broke barriers in the comedy world to become the first solo female comic to be a household name. Diller was also an actress, author and musician. She developed a stage persona of an incompetent housewife and dressed in outlandish outfits with wild hair and exaggerated, crackling laugh.  Her material focused on self-deprecating jokes that tackled the idealized image of American mothers and homemakers. She also created many mythical personas for her stage act including her “husband” Fang, her “neighbor” Mrs. Clean, and her “mother-in-law” Moby Dick.

Diller was one of the first female comics to become a household name in the U.S., credited as an influence by Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others. She had a large gay following and is considered a gay icon. She was also one of the first celebrities to openly champion plastic surgery, for which she was recognized by the cosmetic surgery industry.

They said it couldn't be done back then (to be a successful lady comic, that is) but the doyenne of female stand-up did just that -- opened the doors for other odd-duck funny girls who dared to intrude on what was considered a man's profession. Initially, the comedienne whipped up an alter-ego that could have only been created with the aid of hallucinogens. Boldly facing the world as a scrawny, witchy-faced, flyaway haired, outlandishly costumed, cigarette-holding, magpie-cackling version of "Auntie Mame", Diller made a virtue out of her weird looks and cashed in on her wifely horror tales and her own idiosyncratic tendencies.

Phyllis Diller's Gag File containing
over 50,000 joke cards
Starting in 1959 and throughout the 1960s, Diller released multiple comedy albums, including the titles 'Wet Toe in a Hot Socket!', 'Laughs', 'The Beautiful Phyllis Diller' and  the featured LP 'Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller?'

For an in-depth discussion and appraisal of this comedy album, I highly recommend you listen to Jason Klamm's Podscast with Riley Silverman at The Comedy On Vinyl Podcast  

And so, this month's WOCK on Vinyl post is not only a big tick for Crazy but also for Comedy, because you are really gonna have some laughs with this one. Note:  a bonus song has been included on this recording - Diller singing the Rolling Stones hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" which originally appeared on Side-1 of a 1970 Columbia Records Label LP titled 'Born to Sing'.

I have fond memories as a youngster, seeing Phyllis Diller appear on the T.V comedy show 'Laugh In' back in the early 70's and although her gags probably went straight over my head, her voice and appearance was enough to make me laugh and admire her greatly. 

Satisfaction (song) 2:55
Don't Eat Here 1:08
The Way I Dress 2:55
Beadcraft 1:47
Hypochondriac 2:05
Cook Book 5:57
Household Hints 2:48
Cheese And Turkey 5:38
Tightwad Airlines 11:50
Small Chest Condition 4:15
Labor Day 1:00



    Killer Diller
    Diller Killer

    1. Fantastic ! Thanks for bringing this 'Quotes site' to the table.
      My favourite is: "Aim high, and you won't shoot your foot off" LOL

  2. re: gag file cards; the smithsonian (i think) had a project to transcribe the hand written cards to create a searchable database. i helped transcribe a bunch of cards.