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1988: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1988 was! 1988 was a wonderful year in terms of novelty music and subjects.

In television, Roseanne and Candice Bergen began their long-running series on network TV, George Bush came out from under President Reagan's shadow and won the 1988 Presidential election, San Diego hosted its very first Super Bowl, and "Weird Al" Yankovic bounced back from his Polka Party LP with his biggest LP to date "Even Worse" doing a take-off on Michael Jackson's album title the previous year, and this song was on his album...

  • "Lasagna", by "Weird Al" Yankovic from his "Even Worse" CD, what was then his biggest album up to the point.

    Also in 1988, the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" inspired a reniassance of cartoon animation at a level never seen in the history of TV or movies ten years later in 1998 with cartoons all over Fox, WB, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, USA's "Duckman", MTV's "Beavis and Butthead", and of course, Fox's "The Simpsons" which were already getting 1-2 minute segment runs on the "Tracey Ullman Show" on Fox. Getting back to Roger, Whimsical Will has been doing his summer movie tributes since 1986, and his third one in 1988 was another one in his long string of such demented hits...

  • "Hey Roger!", by Whimsical Will

    In 1988, there was a bit of a Dr. Who revival and this became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a parody, sort of, of the Gary Glitter song "Rock and Roll"...

  • "Doctorin' The Tardis (demented edit)", by The Timelords (The Dr. Who chants is what you're hearing in the song, but it may still be Rock and Roll to at least Billy Joel!)

    A couple of people who worked for Will Vinton's Claymation(tm) Studios in Portland, Oregon, the same people who made those California Raisins ads and lots more things you saw on TV, cooked up something demented to play on the sound system there while people did their modeling and stuff.

  • "Spock Rap", by Neural Paralyzers, which ended up at #6 on the year-end Funny 25 rankings

    Mark McCollum would later do the popular "Kill The Wabbit" song in 1989, but this reggae cartoon song still gets requests today.

  • "Reggae Popeye", by Mark McCollum

    Some of you recall that Dr. Demento played this in the 1987 flashback, but further research proves that it really belongs in 1988.

  • "She Grabbed My Coconuts", by Barry & The Bookbinders

    Bud Latour did a lot of demented parodies in the late 1980's beginning with "Rock Me, Jerry Lewis" which he did with Mike Elliott in 1986, and in 1991, he made the pop charts with a serious dance hit "People Are Still Having Sex"

  • "The Way You Make Me Squeel (Power Grunt Mix)", by Bud Latour

    and in the background we hear "American Woman" by the Texas Chainsaw Orchestra from 1998

    On the very first Demento show of 1988, the guests were the amazing Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper from San Diego and they were just coming off their recent hit "Elvis is Everywhere" played on many alternative stations across the nation. Mojo and Skid often made up songs on the spot and they recorded and put out this song on the spot made just for us...

  • "Oh Oh Ofrah (live in studio from show #88-01)", by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper

    John Mammoser put out this funny song that's still popular today, and John is still recording funny parodies and comedy bits for Demento and radio stations across the country...

  • "My Girlfriend Is Inflatable", by John Mammoser
  • "My Hair", by Kate O'Neal

    1988 was the eighth and final year of the President Ronald Reagan era, and what a gold mine he was for comedians and pundits alike just like Clinton in 1998. This song still gets requests today, long after Reagan has retired...

  • "The Contra Rap", by Rich Little and it went to #3 on the year-end Funny 25 chart.

    In 1988, Weird Al put out his successful "Even Worse" album whose cover art parodies Michael Jackson's 1987 album "Bad" (get it?), and his song below is also a parody of Michael's hit single "Bad"

  • "Fat", by "Weird Al" Yankovic, the #1 most-requested funny song of 1988.

    This one should really take you back to 1988 as we remember this late funny comedian. He was an ex-preacher became the year's hottest comedian. He always performed in an overcoat no matter what the weather, and after he became a bigger star, he always brought along as many rock stars as he could fit on the stage for the grand finale. Sam Kinison brought us the comedy of rage, and we're not sure if it was a great idea, but it sure worked for him as the routine made him famous. He did his best to make life the party for better or worse. Too bad it had to end so soon...

  • "Wild Thing", by Sam Kinison

    Events in 1988

    01/15, The live-action feature film, "Good Morning, Vietnam" is generally released in theaters. It becomes Disney's second blockbuster.

    01/16, R.C., "Got My Mind Set On You" by George Harrison peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long".

    02/08, "Parents Just Don't Understand" single by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was released

    02/13, Michael Jackson buys a ranch in Santa Ynez, California that he dubs "Neverland".

    02/15, "Fat", a parody of Michael Jackson's hit single "Bad", is released from Weird Al Yankovic's "Even Worse" LP.

    02/18, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "This Song's Just Six Words Long", "Fat", "Twister", "Alimony", and "I Think I'm A Clone Now" for his Even Worse LP.

    02/19, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "Lasagna" for his "Even Worse" LP.

    03/01, D.T. met Dr. Demento at The Bacchanal in San Diego where he introduced the act of Bird and McDonald for some truly adult-oriented comedy.

    03/06, Having aired for two years on Showtime, "It's Garry Shandling's Show" makes its network television debut on Fox. Shandling's commitment to writing and starring in this show winds up removing him from lineup as co-permanent guest host, with Jay Leno, of the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

    03/29, "He's The Dj, I'm The Rapper" album by Dj Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince was released

    03/29, "Even Worse" album by "Weird Al" Yankovic was released

    03/30, "Beetlejuice" starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder opened in theaters in the U.S.A. Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetl... oops!

    04/00, "Weird Al" Yankovic released his "Even Worse" LP doing a take on the Michael Jackson "Bad" cover featuring the hits "Fat", "Twister", "I Think I'm A Clone Now", "Lasagna", "Good Old Days", and "Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White".

    04/00, Frank Zappa's album [46] YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE, vol. 1 was released containing live performances between '65 and '88.) including "Let's Make The Water Turn Black", "I'm The Slime" and "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow"

    04/01, the soap "General Hospital" celebrated a quarter of a century on the air. One notable novelty song Dr. Demento played during the Luke and Laura popularity was The Afternoon Delights' "General Hospi-Tale". Dementia rules the soaps, obviously.

    04/01, Dr. Demento first counted down his Demented Top 20 Videos Of All Time on MTV's video countdown show.

    04/30, the largest banana split was made at 4.55 miles long in Pennsylvania.

    05/11, while the writer's strike rages on, Johnny Carson writes his own material and goes back on the air with a new "Tonight Show" for the first time in 2 months. Meanwhile, due to the writers strike, this entry for the Datebook canno......

    05/21, D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince make their chart debut.

    05/21, R.C., "Da'Butt" by E.U. peaked at #35 on the pop singles chart.

    05/21, R.C., "Fat" by "Weird Al" Yankovic peaked at #99 on the pop singles chart; it was a parody of Michael Jackson's "Bad"

    05/25, Frank Zappa receives an invitation to play in Moscow on the first night of the next Reagan-Gorbachev summit. Citing inadequate preparation time and lack of provided transportation, Zappa says "Nyet."

    05/27, "Punky Brewster" ended its fourth and final season (season two in syndication) with the wedding of Brandon the golden retriever to a spunky blonde named Brenda. As can be expected, it's a misty-eyed episode chock full of clips and flashbacks ... of the dog. (ummm, Brandon and Brenda? Where did they honeymoon? 90210?) 12 years later, "Punky" develops into a babilicious college deejay on "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch"

    05/28, soap opera star Genie Francis (General Hospital) & Jonathan Frakes (Number One of Star Trek TNG) exchanged wedding vows.

    05/30, "The Morton Downey, Jr. Show" makes its debut in syndication, paving the way for more shock talkers to come throughout the next decade including Jerry Springer. Let the chair throwing begin!

    05/31, "He's The Dj, I'm The Rapper" album by DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince was certified Gold by the RIAA.

    06/14, The Fat Boys file a $5 million law suit against Miller Beer and Joe Piscopo for using their likeness in a Miller Lite "Rappin "Fats" Piscopo commercial.

    06/18, R.C., "Doctorin' The Tardis" by Timelords peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart. It was a combination of the theme from the British classic TV series Dr. Who and a twist on the Gary Glitter hit "Rock And Roll - Part 2".

    06/22, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" starring Bob Hoskins opened in theaters in the U.S.A.

    07/02, R.C., "Weird Al" Yankovic's album "Even Worse" peaked at #27 on the Billboard album chart

    07/13, "Don't Worry Be Happy" single by Bobby McFerrin was released

    07/15, "A Fish Called Wanda" starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline opened in theaters in the U.S.A.

    07/15, "Wild, Wild, West" single by Escape Club was released

    07/15, M-T-V banned the video for Neil Young's "This Note's For You" because it ridiculed M-T-V sponsors.

    07/18, "Good Morning Vietnam" album (soundtrack) was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Thanks to Robin Williams, the movie was a smash hit!

    07/18, "Even Worse" album by "Weird Al" Yankovic was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album title was a play on Michael Jackson's "Bad" LP and it even parodied one of Mike's songs "Bad" and redubbed it "Fat."

    07/21, "He's The Dj, I'm The Rapper" album by Dj Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince was certified Platinum by the RIAA

    07/23, R.C., "Parents Just Don't Understand" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince peaked at #12 on the pop singles chart.

    08/13, "Don't Worry, Be Happy", by Bobby McFerrin entered the Top 40 chart.

    09/00, Frank Zappa's album [47] YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE, vol. 2 was released including the tracks "Stinkfoot" and "Montana (Whipping Floss)".

    09/10, "Too Hip For TV", TV Variety; debut on NBC with Ahmet Zappa. It was so hip, few watched.

    09/10, the most excellent Martin Short heads to Saturday morning cartoons in NBC's "The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley." Joining Short from the old SCTV gang are Catherine O'Hara, and Joe Flaherty in live action segments as Count Floyd, which is just like so totally unexpected, and yet rather sad, I must say. Oh, I suppose they should have been grateful to be on the air in the first place, but they're canceled after a single season, as doomed as doomed can be. Isn't that always the way?

    09/17, "Hey Vern It's Ernest!", TV Childrens; debut on CBS.

    09/24, R.C., "A Nightmare On My Street" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince peaked at #15 on the pop singles chart.

    09/24, R.C., "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart. It was the first a cappela hit to do so. McFerrin's bubbly No. 1 hit gets former president George Bush in trouble when the hopeful republican uses the song without permission as an election campaign song.

    10/14, "A Fish Called Wanda" opens in movie theaters with John Cleese.

    10/27, "ET" released to home video (14 million presold). Now you can see the best of Mary Hart, John Tesh, and the .... oops, sorry, it's "ET" the movie about the space alien.

    11/00, Frank Zappa's album [48] BROADWAY THE HARD WAY was released including the track "Elvis Has Just Left The Building".

    11/08, Vice President George Bush won the presidential election, defeating Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis to be elected the 41st U.S. President. President Reagan was the first president since Eisenhower to serve the maximum two terms mandated by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Bush takes oath the following January 20th.

    11/12, R.C., "Wild, Wild West" by The Escape Club peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart, it was later parodied into "Adam West" by The Caped Club.

    12/02, "The Naked Gun" based on the short-lived TV show "Police Squad" starring Leslie Neilsen opened in theaters in the U.S.A.

    12/03, R.C., "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince peaked at #57 on the pop singles chart.

    12/06, "Wild, Wild West" album by Escape Club was certified Gold by the RIAA

    12/12, Mike, Carol, Jan, Marcia, Cindy, Peter, Greg, Bobby, Alice and their respective husbands and wives gather for "A Very Brady Christmas" on CBS. And then Mike gets trapped at a construction site while trying to save two security guards from the building's collapse.

    12/20, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*" for his UHF Soundtrack And Other Stuff LP and movie.

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