I used to be a huge Woody Allen fan. I still am, but I used to too. I love his movies, particularly his “early funny ones,” to quote one of the aliens that briefly appear from Stardust Memories, a movie that was not science fiction but included a space ship and some aliens.
Now that I think about it, Woody Allen has extensive credit as a Science Fiction author. Besides this clip there’s of course 1973’s Sleeper (which features a menacingly giant banana), but also several of his short films that appear in Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (which features a menacingly giant boob), and his segment on the collective film New York Stories (which features a menacingly giant mother in the sky. Do you see a pattern here?)
But today I discovered his best. I found his album “The Night Club Years: 1964-1968” a year or so ago in a discount bin. I didn’t go home to play it immediately. I kept it in my record collection for the same reasons rich people keep dogs: just to show off (and if I’m being honest, I must confess that’s 80% of the reason why I own records). But I’m glad I listened to it today. He does this bit that is so absurd that it sounds fresher than the freshest fruits being harvested in modern stand-up.
So I thought I’d share.
The Science Fiction Film
The Night Club Years: 1964-1968
I wrote a science fiction film which I’ll tell you about.
It’s ten after four in the afternoon, and everybody in the world mysteriously falls asleep.
Just like that.
They are driving cars, whatever they are doing, bang!, they go to sleep. The Russians, the Chinese, the Americans.
And the whole world sleeps for exactly one hour, till ten after five. And they wake up at ten after five and mysteriously upon awakening everybody in the world find themselves in the pants business.
Stay with us, ’cause it’s brilliant.
Everybody is making cuffs and flies and cutting velvet, y’know, And a spaceship lands from another planet, and men get out with jackets and shirts and black socks – no trousers at all.
They say: “Are the pants ready?” We say: “No. Could you come back thursday?”
They say they must have them, ’cause they are going to a wedding, and we work dillingently and make pants constantly and they come to get them, and when they come to pick them up, they leave us with socks, hankerchiefs, pillowcases and soiled linnen, and they say: “Do it!”
And the president of the United States goes on television and says that an alien superpower from outer space with superior intelligence is bringing us their laundry, and they are foiled, ’cause they travelled a hundred and seventeen million lightyears to pick it up, and they forget their ticket.
And here’s the bit:
Now I gotta tell you, not only this is my favorite science fiction piece by Woody Allen. This is now my favorite stand-up joke of all time. Although I have seen some Bill Cosby at my local St. Vinnys. Will report back in a year or so.