|HERE'S WHY THE FAILED STAND-UP COMEDIAN CROSSED THE ROAD.|
|The "To be continued...?" at the end of the story about comedic urban legend Gaylord Dingler was never intended to be an homage to the end of Flash Gordon, which ended with a tease for a sequel, and rightfully so. It had everything: Queen did the soundtrack, there|
were hot chicks, a bondage subtext, and, most importantly, Ming the Merciless escaped to fight another day.
Gaylord Dingler might be a lot of things but he's never slummed it in the pages of Playgirl like Sam J. Jones. Along with a body you really wouldn't want to see naked, the man has charisma, and apparently, a Jerry Lewis-like hold over the British who instantly became gobsmackingly enamored with a man known for 27 years known as the stand-up comic who went nowhere. The BBC and
Chortle: The U.K. Comedy Guide, plucked Dingler's story straight from The Black Table.
Not long after the BBC labeled Dingler "The World's Worst Stand Up," I received a phone call from English filmmaker Kjeld Gogosha-Clark. With his thick Yorkshire accent and crackling phone, I wondered why anyone would waste money calling long distance to learn more about Dingler. Turns out he just had a bad cell phone connection. He lived here in Los Angeles and had an office not more than a mile from where I live.
That afternoon, we met at a neutral Coffee Bean with all the awkwardness of an Internet pre-date screener. Even had the same type of conversation too, as we threw around names and interests until we found a common connection.
I told Kjeld and his business partner, Steve Johnston, all I knew about Gaylord. Steve couldn't stop laughing. Kjeld just looked rather serious. When I ran out of stories to tell, the last involved watching in horror as Gaylord drank hairspray, Kjeld finally cracked a smile and said, "We think this would make an excellent documentary."
Since our initial meeting, hundreds (maybe even a thousand by now) of dollars have been thrown at the project. I'm on board as a skinnier version of Michael Moore. So far we've interviewed dozens of comedians who knew Dingler. Some are at career sea level like him. Others are up in the stratosphere, as the Comedy Store produced quite a few big names over the 27 years Dingler hovered around like a party guest who doesn't know when to leave. Regardless of comedic status, Dingler and his brilliant lunacy touched a lot of comics -- albeit some a little more inappropriately than others.
The most exciting development has been tracking the man down. It's a little hard to explain, but I can say that both Dog the Bounty Hunter and Tom Evangelista were beaten to the punch by a 15-year-old kid named Christo who likes to hang out at 7-Eleven and talk to the weirdos. Unlike most kids his age, he's motivated enough to follow up on their wild tales of being a famous comedian via Google.
When he learned that Dingler had been, to the best of his deranged ability, telling the truth, Christo returned to get indisputable photographic proof that the missing comedian is alive and drunk as ever.
It's nearly been 30 years since he started out in comedy but Gaylord Dingler might become an overnight sensation just yet. Just wait till t he movie comes out.
Todd Munson is a stand up comic in Los Angeles. While he's taken some desperate measures to catch a buzz, he's proud to say he's never resorted to drinking hairspray.