Laughter And Lutzes: Figure Skating At Its Funniest
There are few things in this world that make me happier than laughter. When I decided I wanted to write about funny figure skating programs, I had a few in mind that I wanted to share and sat down with a pen and a piece of paper to make a list of 6.0 programs that I thought were absolutely hilarious. Already knowing that there are hundreds of hilarious programs that I'm sure I'm completely forgetting at first thought, I already wound up with a list of eleven performances that didn't just make me chuckle, but made me "LMAO" (as the kids these days, say... you know). And with that list of programs, I was reminded instantly of just how wonderful a tool humor is in connecting with an audience. William Arthur Ward once said "A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life." The same rings true for any figure skater wanting to reach out and connect with the audience they are there to entertain. If you can make them laugh, you have them in the palm of your hand. Let's take a look at 6.0 hilarious figure skating programs and what makes them so damn funny:
DEBI THOMAS - WANDA BEAZEL
SCOTT HAMILTON - HAIR
I was hard pressed to decide on the funniest program that I thought the always hilarious 1984 Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton had ever skated. There have been so many through this professional career but personally I think his "Hair" program takes the cake. Cleverly choreographed and full of detail, Scott had people roaring in the aisles with his interpretation of a hippie turned businessman in this rip roaring program that reminded me of an old drag queen joke: "it's my hair, I bought it". It's the hairiest Hamilton has ever been that I've seen.
ISABELLE BRASSEUR AND LLOYD EISLER - PATRICIA THE STRIPPER
LAURENT TOBEL - CARMEN
1999 French National Champion Laurent Tobel had to be at least six foot two and towered over his competitors. With a goofy grin and a killer sense of humor, he was one of few skaters who was able to infuse comedy into his amateur programs and carry it off without a hitch. If a towering Tobel in a tutu is wrong, I don't want to be right. I'm pretty sure it's very wrong though.
OLGA MARKOVA - GO DOWN MOSES
Known for her avant garde, serious and dramatic presence on the ice, Russian National Champion and 2 time European medallist Olga Markova of Russia had a commanding style that kept your eyes on her every time she took the ice. She even gave Maria Butyrskaya's death stare a run for its money. That said, she wasn't a comedic skater whatsoever. But when she took the ice in the gala after finishing 2nd at the 1998 World Professional Figure Skating Championships skating to Louis Armstrong's "Go Down Moses", you couldn't help but laugh at the complete absurdity of her program. Seemingly unaware of the social and political significance of the song, she bizarrely performed as a presumably intoxicated 1920's flapper or something, quite possibly assuming that the song was just a jazzy or a bluesy ragtime anthem and not a call to end slavery. I had to include this for the simple fact that I think (ironically) this is just TOO MUCH.
DOUG MATTIS - IMITATION
If you're not done laughing yet, might I recommend YouTubing Kurt Browning's "Rag/Gidon/Time", Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's "Hat Trick", Tomas Verner's "Sexy And I Know It" and "Gary Beacom's "I'm Your Man" for starters. And you certainly can't forget the movie Blades Of Glory, which I still think was a hilarious poke of fun at the sport as well. Who am I forgetting?
What performances do YOU think are the funniest figure skating has ever seen? Let me know on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard or on the Twitter at http://twitter.com/SkateGuardBlog!