Long story short: I’ve worked for basic cable clip shows and pop culture websites. (I’ve written about it here.) These low-paying institutions rely on the internet for examples of pop culture’s greatest moments. But the sad thing is, if a moment in TV history isn’t on youtube, it’s as if it never happened.
Case in point: I was working on a CNN show that looked back on “Interviews Gone Wrong” — and my research turned up plenty of familiar moments (I’m sure you can predict the classics):
- Crispin Glover kicking David Letterman
- Robert Blake being freaky with Larry King
- Quentin Tarantino vs. Jan Wahl
- Fist-fights on the Morton Downey Jr show
- Marlon Brandon acting weird with Larry King
- Bobcat Goldthwait setting fire to a chair on The Tonight Show
Now the thing is, I wanted to use another great moment with Bobcat, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
HERE’S A DESCRIPTION OF THE CLIP — if you have it, please post this “lost” video to youtube:
After Bob Goldthwait was banned from the Leno Show, he became a frequent guest on The Arsenio Hall Show. This was towards the end of Arsenio’s run, so Bobcat wasn’t promoting stuff he’d just come out to liven things up a little.
One time Bobcat made a joke that he wanted to do something crazy — he said he’d considered coming out and removing a live snake from his pants, joking that it would guarantee he’d appear in any “Best of” episodes.
Ha ha, pretty funny joke, right?
Then they did a 5-6 minute interview.
And at the very end of the segment, Bob stood up and removed a live snake from his pants.
It was an amazing little moment of TV, but as far as I can tell, no record of it exists online. (That’s why I’m posting this here.)
Now whenever there’s a bizarre interview moment (like Joaquin Phoenix being weird on Letterman)
do a retrospective of the weirdest interview moments, but remarkably Bobcat’s pants-snake never makes the list. It’s as if it never happened. (By the way, this would be an appropriate use of the term Orwellian, because it has to do with popular memory being shaped by mass media. People normally say a surveillance camera is Orwellian, but I think this would be a more appropriate use of the phrase.)
The is because the collective memory doesn’t remember it. But it happened. And it was great.
I hope other people will keep the oral history of Bobcat’s Trouser-Snake alive.
Or better still, I hope someone posts the video online. I’d love to see it again.