The nicknames, "The Prince of Pandemonium", "The Master of Mayhem" and "King of Camp and Confetti", are but a few valid applications that have been thrust upon zany comedian Rip Taylor, whose unique blend of burlesque and self-deprecating humor has entertained audiences for over four decades. A clever, quicksilver comic, he has headlined the top showrooms of Las Vegas, appeared on scores of television shows, starred in various musical stage slapsticks and even toyed with dramatic material over the years.
Born Charles Elmer Taylor under quieter and more normal circumstances in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 1934, the raucous Rip began it all tossing out one-liners in nightclubs and had his first big break on Ed Sullivan's The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) TV show in 1964. The tacky costumes, ridiculous props, handlebar mustache, wacky wigs and manic confetti-tossing didn't take long to follow as professional trademarks, and they soon made their way into the 1970s pop culture. Frequently appearing on television, he appeared in everything from variety shows to talk shows (Merv Griffin and David Letterman) to sitcoms like The Monkees (1966). He was the gag man who delightfully wrangled out of every groan-inducing one-liner there was, eventually finding the perfect avenue for his brand of insanity via producer Chuck Barris and his syndicated TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s. Rip became a favorite panelist judge, along with Jaye P. Morgan, on Barris' The Gong Show (1976), and later served as host of the equally tacky The $1.98 Beauty Show (1978).
A mainstay in Las Vegas, whether as ringleader of a topless chorus line or opening act to a major entertainer, Rip also slayed 'em on Broadway ("Sugar Babies") and has demonstrated a fine singing instrument in musicals including "Anything Goes", "Oliver!" (as "Fagan"), "Peter Pan" (as "Captain Hook") and in a 1999 production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (as "Pseudolus"). On the more serious side, he played Demi Moore's crusty boss in Indecent Proposal (1993) and showed up sans confetti as Kate Hudson's father in the Rob Reiner feature, Alex & Emma (2003). For the most part, however, Rip has continued on his merry way in such campy film nonsense as Barris' The Gong Show Movie (1980); the "Exorcist" spoof, Repossessed (1990), with Linda Blair and Leslie Nielsen; the foreign-made The Silence of the Hams (1994) ["The Silence of the Hams"] and Jackass: The Movie (2002).
Beginning in the early 1960s, when he first provided additional voices for The Jetsons (1962), Rip has continued making voice-over work a viable means of income. His voice can be heard in such animated films as Утиные истории: Заветная лампа (1990), Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992) and Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico (2003). Rip was nominated for an Emmy award for voicing the role of "Uncle Fester" in the TV cartoon series, The Addams Family (1992).