The set never seemed to change, only the players and the wording of the jokes. This was Bob Hope's annual tradition of gumming some one-liners about the various Associated Press All-American team, a tradition I'll be revisiting at various moments in its history over coming weeks. This week we’ll be looking at 1983, when Bob Hope was sulking over the quick ending to Operation Urgent Fury, and William Perry was still human, and neither refrigerator nor action figure.
These segments, shot for Hope’s annual Christmas special, are a time capsule of then-current events and comedy stylings. They also remind us of a long-gone time, before Reggie White switched from impressions to ethnic humor. Also of a time when the definition of “joke” was different, and a bit more generous.
Russell Carter, SMU DB: “His hands are so sticky he got three offers from the NFL and one from the IRS.”
Bo Jackson, Auburn RB: “Give this guy the ball and he’ll go for 6 or 7 yards and knock a few people down along the way. He’s a lot like a Jerry Ford tee shot.”
Steve Young, Brigham Young QB: “His great great great granddaddy was THE Brigham Young. No wonder he made the team, he knows the owner.”
Reggie White, Tennessee DT: “Before they carry you off the field he gives you the last rites.”
Bill Fralic, Pittsburgh OT: “He’s the only player on the team wearing shoulder pads, hip pads, and a cow catcher.”
Wilber Marshall, Florida LB: “In the summer he lays down and rents himself out as a dam.”
William Perry, Clemson NG: “Bill, how’d you get to be 320 pounds?” “When I got to 324, I went on a diet.”
Gerald McNeil, Baylor SE: “Gerry’s so fast, when he flew out here he landed six minutes before the plane did.”
Jeff Leiding, Texas LB: “When he was a baby his folks wanted to have his picture taken on a bearskin rug. Jeff went along with it, but he insisted on using a live bear.”
Gordon Hudson, Brigham Young TE: “To give you an idea of how shifty he is, he was born two months before his mother knew it.”
Luis Zendejas (of the Kicking Zendejases), Arizona State K: “Must’ve been really terrible to have been the family cat in that household.”
Ricky Hunley, Arizona LB: “It’s a shame the way he knocks people down. He would’ve made a wonderful California driving instructor.”
Doug Dawson, Texas OG: “At Texas, Doug’s major is petroleum engineering and he gets plenty of practice out in the field. One defensive lineman he screwed into the ground is now bringing in 300 barrels a day.”
Tom Dixon, Michigan C: “He’s going to medical school and he’ll make a great doctor. He’ll squeeze the appendix out of you.”
Ron Rivera, California LB: “You think girls cheerleaders really help a player’s morale?” “You mean during the game or after, Bob?”
Jerry Gray, Texas DB: “In one game he stuck so close to the wide receiver, when the play was over he was wearing the other guy’s Fruit-Of-The-Loom’s.”
Programming Note: In lieu of this column next week, The Classical is honored to have its very own holiday special, A VERY ZENDEJAS THANKSGIVING. Am I nervous? Yeah, I suppose.