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Flimflam experts (and old pals) Harry Anderson and Turk Pipkin reunite sans Celine

By Belinda Acosta, Fri., June 4, 2004

 Turk Pipkin assisting Harry Anderson in Houston  at a TV commercial shoot circa 1980
Turk Pipkin assisting Harry Anderson in Houston at a TV commercial shoot circa 1980

The official press release calls it "an evening of death-defying flim flammery," but the wacky, adrenaline-fueled Harry Anderson calls his one-night-only performance with Austinite Turk Pipkin at One World Theatre "an evening without Celine Dion. Of course, we can't guarantee she won't show up."

When pressed for details, Anderson promises – in a phone interview that's a cross between a noogie and a wedgie – "No one gets hurt. No one gets a nail up his nose. If there's a nail going up anyone's nose, it will be mine."

Familiar to TV viewers from his early appearances on Cheers and Saturday Night Live and later star turns in Night Court and Dave's World, Anderson got his start in the 1970s as a street performer. He developed a character called Harry the Hat, a kind of urban trickster, and this malarkey-slinging, street-wise bamboozler performed sleight of hand, magic, and other tomfoolery with a swagger and a wink from the streets of San Francisco to the Drag. Pipkin, now a successful writer and sometime actor (he appeared in The Sopranos), had a juggling/comedy act in those days. When the two met at an Armadillo World Headquarters performance, a heartfelt friendship was born.

"Actually, Turk owes me a lot of money," Anderson says. "I carry the responsibility for drawing the crowd [at the Old World], and Turk lives nearby." Allaying fears that Pipkin will be the evening's lovely, leggy assistant, Anderson says that his wife Elizabeth will perform that role.

The "evening of death-defying flim flammery" launches One World's new Variety Series, an experiment in broadening the theatre's repertoire. Sandra Bernhard's cabaret/comedy act is the next offering June 27. The series is off to a good start, according to One World associate director Lana Patricios. Tickets for Anderson's show are selling swiftly.

"I don't know why anyone likes anything," Anderson says when asked to comment on the appeal of his act. "I guess it's like bungee jumping, feeling like you get close to the edge, but there's no real danger."

No danger in bungee jumping? Only a seasoned trickster could make jumping headfirst into a mile-deep ditch sound like a great idea. end story


Harry Anderson and Turk Pipkin will perform Friday, June 4, 7pm & 9:30pm, at One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Caves Rd. For more information call 330-9500 or visit www.oneworldtheatre.org.

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