But what about the buffalo?

As you know, Mary of Peter Paul and Mary has died. So has Henry Gibson. Although I did go through a folk music phase … worked in a folk-music coffee house for a while and everything (and I went to school with Kay Wilkie, I got a cat from Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger was the first member of the nature conservation organization I started when I was a kid and so on) … I was always much more comfortable in the Niel Young – Zappa part of the spectrum. Henry Gibson, who’s heart was bigger than his 1970s period lapels, was a regular on Laugh-In, which was, at the time, a very funny TV show. I’d love to see a re-run because I think I would wonder why it was funny.


  1. #1 CyberLizard
    September 17, 2009

    I grew up singing Peter, Paul and Mary songs with my mom. I don’t know Henry Gibson (that I know of).

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    HG has recently been on some TV show (LA law?) as a judge, and was the evil nazi leader in the Blues Brothers. If you saw him you’d recognize him because he’s been in a lot of things.

    ON laugh in, he had the flower-child “what about the buffalo” proto Jack Handy poet character, and the German Soldier who would say “Verrrrryyyy Inter-Esting…. But STUPID!”

    (or but something else)

    He also did the funniest skit ever, at the time.

    He’s be wearing a raincoat and driving a tiny tricycle. He’d ride around jerkily and strangely (camera trick for that) until he’d run into a fire hydrant then fall right over on his side motionless.

    The first five or so time he did that the nation laughed uncontrollably . Honest.

  3. #3 ancientTechie
    September 17, 2009

    He also had a small interest in the bicycle seat industry.

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    September 17, 2009

    You’re confusing Henry Gibson with Arte Johnson. Gibson was the tiny guy whose hayseed accent never seemed to fit.

    And I really shouldn’t be correcting anyone about Laugh In, given when it first aired. Sometimes reruns make me happy.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    Oh you are right! Oh well, I was five years old.

    Gibson did play the bad guy in the Blue’s Brothers … Johnson was the german soldier.

  6. #6 Stephanie Z
    September 17, 2009

    And Gibson was the poet. I should have said “conflating.”

  7. #7 JefFlyingV
    September 17, 2009

    Gibson also did the poetry reading on Laugh-in.

    The folk scene was a different era when the singers were involved with the unions, equal rights and anti-war sentiment. Very political people that had helped mold the 60’s.

  8. #8 doug l
    September 17, 2009

    Henry Gibson’s start in television began to the best of my recollection was as a guest on the old Tonight Show with St Johnny Carson in his early days. Hery Gibson would come out and read some of his poems as Henry Gibson (not Henrick Ibsen)The Poet, sometimes includeing referrences to ‘shining gators’ in a southern rustic accent, seeming completely naive. His most famous was one called “keep a goin”, which later was used in Laugh In and even in Robert Altman’s movie “nashville”. In some ways he as an extenion of the rural comedy as portrayed by
    Andy Griffith and he may have been one of the first commedians to bring to the audience (at least those who got it, and not many did) the kind of humor we associate with Andy Kaufman. If you didn’t get it, it was puzzling, obtuse, quaint or just plane lame. But if you did get, it was hard not to laugh out loud and praise the brilliance of the concept.

  9. #9 gruebait
    September 17, 2009

    “But what about the buffalo?”

    The first time I heard that, I nearly did a spit-take.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    JefFlyingV: Amen. In a secular kinda way.

    Doug: Andy Kaufman!!! Brilliant!

    I’ve got a post coming up a bit later showing some old Laugh in and asking for ideas as to what grew out of those old acts. I had not thought of Gibson-Andy Kaufman, but you dead on, I think.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    September 17, 2009

    gruebait: Me too, but I think it might have been with a sippy cup.

  12. #12 Degrees of Freedom
    September 17, 2009

    Thank you for the N’s..

    … nom nom nom …

  13. #13 Degrees of Freedom
    September 17, 2009

    That was an error.

  14. #14 KeithB
    September 17, 2009

    He was also a passable Wilbur in the old animated Charlotte’s Web.

  15. #15 wrpd
    September 17, 2009

    My favorite Henry Gibson skit was one where he was standing with his hands clasped in front of him with a grand piano behind him. He sang one line: “You don’t have to be happy to be gay.”