“Life in the Slaw Lane”: Comedian Kip Addotta talks about veggies but he’s just arugula guy

By on August 1, 2018

Kip Addotta’s 1986 video “Life in the Slaw Lane” was the legendary comedian’s follow-up to an even bigger pun-filled novelty hit, “Wet Dream,” both longtime staples of the Dr. Demento Radio Show.

It’s just one of the food-themed music videos featured in Night Flight’s “Take Off to Food” episode — which originally aired the day after Thanksgiving on November 25, 1988 — which you can now see on Night Flight Plus!

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If you’re a regular here on the blog (thanks to both of you!), you know we occasionally like to take a “time-out” from the music and movies  to focus on the comedians who appeared on Night Flight (check out our vintage “Comedy Cuts” segments).

As you’ll see, the “Life in the Slaw Lane” video — the title track of an LP/cassette released by L.A.’s Rhino Records in 1986 — is a pun-filled Raymond Chandler-esque film noir-style parody.

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Addotta appears as a trenchcoat-wearing detective — let’s call him Sam Spud — whose “tart talk is peppered with indigestible puns,” as People put it in their pun-filled two-page profile from July 14, 1986 (they said Addotta was just “arugula guy”).

His silly soliloquy begins: “It was Cucumber the first; summer was over. I had just spinached a long day and I was busheled. I’m the kinda guy that works hard for his celery and I don’t mind telling you I was feeling a bit wilted. But I didn’t carrot all. ‘Cause, otherwise, things were vine.”

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The detective tells us about meeting up with his brother — “a skinny little string bean who had always suffered from cerebral parsley” — whose marriage to Peaches, “a soiled but radishing beauty with HUGE gourds,” is in trouble.

She’s begun an extra-marital affair, even warning her husband: “I’m gonna leaf ya for Basil, ya fruit!”

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The brothers commiserate about their mutual ruined relationships in a Broccolyn bar called the Mushroom.

Watch what happens next in his sad garden-variety vegetable-themed story which also features images from Ladisla Starewicz‘s 1933 surreal stop-motion film, The Mascot.

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Read more below about Kip Addotta.

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Kip Addotta was born on June 16, 1944, in Rockford, Illinois.

He worked as a barber and might have even continued cutting hair for a living had his wife not died when he was twenty-five years old, leaving him to raise their two children.

In 1972, Addotta decided to move to Los Angeles to give stand-up comedy a try.

This was the same year Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” had relocated from NYC to Burbank, CA, and Addotta even ended up parking cars at NBC’s Burbank studios.

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Addotta bullied his way onstage at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, and even got a job as an actor on the daytime TV soap “Days of Our Lives,” playing a piano player.

Eventually he was offered $1000 to open for the Fifth Dimension in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, which amazingly was enough to cover four months rent in L.A. at the time.

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During his peak in the mid-Seventies, Kip Addotta made regular appearances on “The Tonight Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” Don Kirschner’s “Rock Concert” and “The Midnight Special,” and lots of other TV shows, including four years as one of the challengers on the syndicated series “Make Me Laugh.”

Addotta appeared so frequently on “The Tonight Show” that he’d often fly by private jet to Burbank to do the 5pm west coast taping of the show before flying back east in time to hit the stage for his 10pm headlining slot.

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Addotta spent fourteen years as a stand-up comic, appearing across the country in comedy clubs, on college campuses, and in the big showrooms in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, opening for Diana Ross, Paul Anka, Liza Minnelli, Lou Rawls and others.

Eventually he began to record comedy albums too, beginning with 1979’s I Hope I’m Not Out of Line.

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1985’s The Comedian of the United States, produced by one-time Poco member Kim Bullard, included his filled-to-the-gills fish-themed “Wet Dream.”

It began as a joke about the movie JAWS, asking the audience, “Why is it that every time they catch a shark and cut it open, they always find a license plate in its stomach? Who are these people who drive into the ocean and park near a shark?”

“Wet Dream” became a huge novelty hit for Addotta when Dr. Demento began playing the track on his nationally-syndicated radio show.

After “Life in the Slaw Lane,” Addotta stopped writing punny songs like this one, because he became bored with the style and didn’t want to be defined by it.

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Addotta also spent several years hosting the cable-TV game show, “Everything Goes” — described as a cross between TV’s “Hollywood Squares” and strip poker — which began airing on September 12, 1981 on the Escapade channel, for its first three years, before moving to the Playboy Channel in 1984, ending its run on September 28, 1988.

He would continue to make lots of appearances in film roles and on TV shows, including Garry Shandling’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” and he’s continued recording a number of albums, the last one being 2014’s Ears to You.

His autobiographical comedic memoir Confessions of a Comedian was published earlier this year (2018).

Night Flight’s 1988 “Take Off to Food” episode also features Weird Al Yankovic (“Eat It”), the Fat Boys, Tom Petty, Barnes & Barnes (“Fish Heads“) and lots of food-related public domain interstitials, including the notorious “pot brownie” recipe from The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book! Watch it now on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.