Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

My son, the theatrical revue

The man behind <i>Survivor: Camp Granada</i>
The man behind Survivor: Camp Granada

He was born Allan Copelon in Chicago, Ill., in 1924, and began his entertainment career as a perennially unemployed writer and producer of TV comedy, but by the time most of us heard of him – and heard him – he was Allan Sherman, the parodic folksinger, doing with folkie or classical standards and pop hits of the late Fifties and early Sixties what "Weird Al" Yankovic would do with the flash and trash of the Eighties so many years down the road. Sherman's songs were peopled with characters from everyday life – especially if, every day, you happened to be Jewish and middle class – and his humor, universally appealing, was grown from a gentle, clever skewering of cultural cliches and wordplay corny enough to out-harvest Nebraska.

So for a brief time in the early Sixties there was this guy whose records would crack you up sufficient to send the seltzer or Grape Nehi out through your nostrils and which you (or your kids) would find copies of at garage sales and Goodwill stores decades later, and you'd put the needle into the groove of the old scratchy vinyl and be singing "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" (the infamous saga of life at Camp Granada) or "Sarah Jackman" or "Hungarian Goulash No. 5" all over again. And by that time Sherman had written Rape of the A.P.E., a book-length treatment, wryly crafted, of sex and its historical repression and resurgence in the United States. He had also become, you may recall from the many years before the Mike Myers trainwreck of a pop vehicle, the definitive voice of Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. That, back in '71, was two years before Mrs. Sherman's son, the celebrity, headed off to the great Comedy Songwriters' Open Mic in the Sky.

And now, as if to coincide with Rhino Records' newly released box set of Sherman's multi-LP career (My Son, the Box; from www.rhino.com), the Jewish Community Association of Austin is presenting Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!, a recently toured revue featuring many of Sherman's best songs, here directed by K.C. Gussler and ready to tickle your funny bone anew – especially those parts that are connected to your nostalgia bone.

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! runs Feb. 9-26, Thursday, 7pm; Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2 & 7pm, at the Dell Jewish Community Center, 7300 Hart. For more information, call 735-8058 or visit www.jcaaonline.org.

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