Rip Taylor, one of stand-ups most flamboyant practitioners, has died, according to Deadline. He was 84.
Taylor distinguished himself from the comedy pack in a number of ways, starting with his look: a generous blonde hairpiece and, a little ways into his career, a gigantic, protruding mustache. He often punctuated his energetic, campy, sometimes aggressive bits with liberal explosions of confetti.
Born Charles Elmer Taylor in 1935, he got his start while in the U.S. Army, performing sets around the world and developing another of his shticks: crying and begging the audience to applaud. He soon developed a number of names: “The Prince or Pandemonium”, “The Crying Comedian,” “”The Master of Mayhem,” “The King of Camp and Confetti.”
Taylor was a TV staple, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show 20 times, as well as numerous stints on The Jackie Gleason Show. He was a game show regular, appearing on Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and Match Game, on which he was Charles Nelson Reilly’s go-to substitute. From 1978 to 1980, he hosted the beauty pageant parody $1.98 Beauty Show, created by The Gong Show creator Chuck Barris.
The big screen often sought Taylor, in the sex comedies The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington and Chatterbox (about a woman with a talking vagina), as well as Cheech and Chong’s Things Are Tough All Over, Wayne’s World 2 and, in a straight-faced role sans his famous toupee, Indecent Proposal. He appeared as himself — alongside fellow comics Slappy White, Jackie Vernon, Henny Youngman, Charlies Callas, and Steve Allen — in a segment of the anthology comedy Amazon Women on the Moon, in which the cut-ups roast a dead man at his own funeral.
Taylor also appeared in all three Jackass movies, appearing at each film’s end to close things out, in the final one in glorious 3-D.
Taylor’s passing prompted much mourning on social media.
Rest n Peace Mr. Taylor. Loved you, grew up watching you. Thank you for all the laughter you brought me. 🙏🏾 Rip Taylor Dead: Flamboyant Comic, Host of 'The $1.98 Beauty Show' Was 84 https://t.co/x99u23lBid
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 6, 2019
Funny dude, nice man.
May he rest in peace: https://t.co/hfDBF6ZmQi
— Marsha Warfield (@MarshaWarfield) October 6, 2019
RIP Rip Taylor, delirious game show guest and confetti-tossing delight. He toured with Judy Garland while being married to a Vegas showgirl, which is bisexuality done right. He was defiantly non-PC and wore his hairpiece like a crown – the blissful opposite of quiet good taste pic.twitter.com/oWV40cBtXI
— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) October 6, 2019
The King of Confetti, The Crying Comedian, the great Rip Taylor has passed away at 84. He made thousands of outlandish appearances on television and in nightclubs and his zany shtick and over-the-top delivery was a favorite for me growing up. pic.twitter.com/4J7tyrynHN
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) October 6, 2019
RIP to Rip Taylor, who was sort of like if the Joker was Richard Simmons.
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) October 6, 2019
RIP Rip Taylor
*throws confetti* pic.twitter.com/AVY3etWsca
— Jeff Dwoskin (@bigmacher) October 6, 2019
Let’s bid him farewell with his last Jackass appearance.