LORELAI: Yeah, they’re mean. RORY: Except for Don Rickles. LORELAI: Totally except for Rickles.
Donald “Don” Rickles (1926-2017), stand-up comedian and actor. He became known primarily for his insult comedy. He was a regular roaster on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, and was the host of the final special, when Dean Martin himself got roasted.
LORELAI: It’s like a Dean Martin Roast. RORY: Those are never funny to me. LORELAI: Yeah, they’re mean.
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast is a series of television specials hosted by entertainer Dean Martin, airing from 1974 to 1984. For a series of 54 specials and shows, Martin and his friends would “roast” a celebrity. Roasting means to joke about and insult a celebrity, while also honouring them. The roasts were patterned after the roasts held at the New York Friars’ Club.
The specials were released on DVD, which is presumably how Rory was able to watch them. I find it unbelievable they would buy DVDs they didn’t find funny, or that they dislike “mean jokes” – Lorelai and Rory are both pretty cruel when it comes to humour. I can only think this is a little act they are putting on for Emily.
LORELAI: I’m crushing your head, I’m crushing your head. Let’s go. [Lorelai and Sookie get up and leave]
A reference to The Kids in the Hall, an award-winning Canadian sketch comedy TV series that aired from 1988 to 1995, and a revival season in 2022, starring the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. The troupe, consisting of comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, appeared as almost all the characters throughout the series, both male and female, and also wrote most of the sketches.
The show had a similar surreal vibe to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and it tended to be highly censored for American broadcasts, especially in regard to religion or nudity. It has been cited as an influence by several comedians.
One of their recurring sketches was “Headcrusher”. Mr. Tyzik (Mark McKinney) is a lonely man who despises virtually everyone, especially those he considers businessmen and trendy people. He calls them “flatheads” because in his mind, their heads deserve to be crushed. He is more than willing to help by pretending to crush their heads from a distance with his fingers, using forced perspective, while enthusiastically declaring “I’m crushing your head! I’m crushing your head!” in a high-pitched nasal voice with a slight eastern European accent, followed by making a crushing noise. Lorelai does this movement to one of the people shown on the real estate slide.
LORELAI: How’d it finally end with Cheech & Chong?
Cheech & Chong, comedy duo consisting of Richard “Cheech” Marin (born 1946) and Thomas “Tommy” Chong (born 1938). They found commercial and cultural success in the 1970s and 1980s with their stand-up routines, studio recordings, and low-budget feature films, which were based on the hippie and free love era, and especially drug and counterculture movements, most notably their love for cannabis.
Their 1978 buddy stoner comedy film Up in Smoke was poorly reviewed but a huge commercial success, becoming a cult classic and kicking off the entire genre of stoner movies. Their characters are a pair of drug-addled idiots who get into one ridiculous slapstick situation after another, so Lorelai seems to be saying that Jess and Dean are likewise a pair of comedic idiots.
The real Cheech & Chong broke up in the 1980s after an acrimonious falling out and didn’t reunite until 2008 – Lorelai may also be referring to that (not that she knows Cheech & Chong will get back together at this point).
TRIX: By choice, or do you scare the men with your independence?
LORELAI: Actually, I scare them with my Minnie Pearl impression.
TRIX: The lady with the hat.
Sarah Cannon, known professionally as her stage character Minnie Pearl (1912-1996), was an American comedian who appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for more than 50 years and on the television show Hee Haw from 1969 to 1991.
JESS: Yeah, or we can wear Three Stooges masks all the time, that way no one will know who we are.
RORY: I can be Curly.
JESS: I’ll be Moe.
The Three Stooges was an American vaudeville comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best remembered for their 190 short films. Their hallmark styles were physical farce and slapstick. Although six actors played the Three Stooges, the classic line up was Moe Howard (played by Moses Horwitz), Larry Fine (played by Louis Feinberg), and Curly Howard (played by Jerome Horwitz). Their peak popularity was from 1934 to 1946, but television syndication made them one of the most popular comedy acts of the early 1960s.
Rory was proud to be seen with Dean, and kiss him in public. Now her relationship with Jess begins with her hiding their relationship away as if it is something shameful. It doesn’t feel as if the relationship is getting off to a very healthy start.
EMILY: And what do you intend to do with that paper clip? LORELAI: I intend to carve something really dirty into the bathroom door … What rhymes with Nantucket?
Nantucket, an island about 30 miles from Cape Cod in Massachusetts; the main town on the island is also called Nantucket. European settlement on the island began in the 17th century, and it was a major centre for the whaling industry by the 19th century – it features in Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick. Since the 1950s, it has been an upmarket summer colony and popular tourist destination.
The island features in a famous limerick which begins, “There once was a man from Nantucket …”. The original, written in 1902, is:
There once was a man from Nantucket Who kept all his cash in a bucket. But his daughter, named Nan, Ran away with a man And as for the bucket, Nantucket (“Nan took it”).
It spawned numerous sequels, many of them vulgar in nature, because the island’s name rhymes with “fuck it” and “suck it”. The earliest such example was published in 1927. It is a staple of American humour, with the name itself enough for listeners to understand the allusion, as in this scene.
EMILY: She was sitting at the table giving all the peas voices.
LORELAI: With a little encouragement, I could’ve been the Senor Wences of the vegetable set.
Wenceslao Centeno, known professionally as Señor Wences (1896-1999), Spanish ventriloquist and comedian. His popularity grew with his frequent television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1950s and 1960s. Later, he became popular with another generation of fans on The Muppet Show.