Madness on display

Ronnie Schreiber has a great piece in TTAC about Earl “Madman” Muntz, entrepreneur, used-car salesman, new-car manufacturer, tape-cartridge magnate, and all-around swell guy. One paragraph, I admit, took me slightly aback:

An inveterate and flamboyant romantic, Muntz married seven times, and in between matrimonial relationships he also had a number of girlfriends, including comedienne Phyllis Diller. That seems somewhat ironic in light of the fact that all of his wives were beauties and Diller famously effected a homely comedic persona.

Which reminded me that it was, indeed, a persona. Here’s Phyllis Diller on the cover of her second comedy album for Verve, Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller?

Cover of Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller, Verve 15031, 1962

Pretty darn cute for a woman in her mid-forties (Diller was born in 1917, this came out circa 1962).



  1. Bill Peschel »

    17 March 2014 · 3:03 pm

    In a book of interviews by female comics, Diller mentioned that she had a pretty good body, and deliberately wore shapeless dresses to camouflage her looks. For the longest time, female comics operated under a weird double standard that, if you were cute, your comedy wouldn’t be taken seriously, which I wouldn’t have believed if so many of them hadn’t said so. (The book’s “We Killed” BTW)

  2. CGHill »

    17 March 2014 · 3:32 pm

    We won’t discuss my one-time crush on Elaine May.

  3. LeeAnn »

    17 March 2014 · 5:12 pm

    Phyllis Diller is the reason I still hold hope to do standup someday. A soap-bubble ego is the reason I haven’t.

  4. Roberta X »

    18 March 2014 · 6:27 am

    Phyllis Diller was one of my heroines from way back; she let herself *laugh* and was okay with it even if it looked and sounded goofy. …Also, wasn’t the homely look an “affectation,” not an “effectation?” Tsk, Ronnie. (Should we tell ‘im?)

  5. Tatyana »

    18 March 2014 · 10:25 pm

    oh my, what a beast that old age business

  6. Roger Green »

    18 March 2014 · 10:42 pm

    I remember that cover. Never owned it.

  7. CGHill »

    18 March 2014 · 10:48 pm

    Tat: I shortened up your link a bit, as it was spilling over the edge of the text box. Still works.

RSS feed for comments on this post