Denny Brownlee Speaks Dec17


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Denny Brownlee Speaks

Denny Brownlee is an award-winning actor, writer and an experienced, well rounded performer.  His acting credits include two feature films, numerous shorter productions, and principal roles in dozens of stage plays and comedy sketches.

DennyBrownleeHe was the original “Discovery Jones” – a children’s character on the cable TV network INSP, and spent a dozen years as a wacky radio co-host on the wildly popular “Morning Show with John and Denny” on Family Life – a network of 70 signals across New York and Pennsylvania. Additionally he has penned several original songs, dozens of song parodies and over a thousand comedy bits for stage and radio, and is now a frequent guest on the syndicated radio program, “The Daren Streblow Comedy Show.”  But still, his most well- known bit is his stuttering pig rendition of “Blue Christmas,” now a holiday radio classic that has played all over the world.  He just released a video for Youtube and elsewhere, to reveal his role in the performance, once and for all.

Mike Parker – You are perhaps most not-well-known for your, shall we say, unique rendition of “Blue Christmas.” How did that come about?

Denny Brownlee – close to 30 years ago I won a contest with the John Boy and Billy Show, and I started writing comedy for them, and they suggested we do a Christmas song. We chose Blue Christmas, turned on the microphone and just started recording. It took two takes, because I cracked up during the first take.

Parker – “Blue Christmas” has gone on to achieve a certain notoriety both nationally and internationally. In today parlayance we would say it ‘went viral.’ How did that happen prior to the emergence of the Internet age?

Brownlee – The following summer I was approached by a promoter who said we had a hit. We pressed it into a 45 and got into record stores, met with some of the biggest names in the recording industry and came one step away from scoring a record deal with a major label in Nashville. By the next Christmas it was everywhere.

Parker – As a novelty song, you kind of except some quirky occurrences. Any unique quirky things come to your mind about “Blue Christmas?”

Brownlee – It’s shown up in a number of front lawns in Christmas displays. It got picked up by the Dr. Demento show. About a year ago I was watching TV and saw Ray Stevens in a pig nose doing Blue Christmas in a stuttering voice. The guy who actually voices Porky Pig for Warner Bros. has been introduced as the voice of Blue Christmas and he’s had to tell them, ‘no, that’s not me.’

Parker – On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve had some pretty cool things happen with the song. What are some events that you are most proud of?

Brownlee – I’ve always been a big supporter of our military, so I’m proud that the song has been able to uplift the troops. The first time I heard about it was during Desert Shield just prior to the first Gulf War, when it was played to help bouy the spirit of the troops. In Iceland the military radio used the song as their sign-off. And because it is played all over the world, I know that a lot of people have gotten an extra laugh at Christmas-time and that does my heart good.

Parker – After all these years you are coming out with a music video of the song. Why?

Brownlee – Better late than never. We decided it was time to let people know who is behind this silly song. A lot of people who love the song don’t know that the voice of Seymour Swine, who sings “Blue Christmas” in Porky Pig voice, is me. Mostly because people either have given credit, or taken credit, where credit wasn’t due.

Parker – “Blue Christmas” has become a bonafide cult classic hit, yet you are often not recognized as the originator of this version. Does that bother you, or has it been detrimental to you and your career as an entertainer?

Brownlee – It’s been my greatest joy and my greatest disappointment. I want to be careful, because I don’t want to come across as all ‘sour grapes.’ But it’s been frustrating that it hasn’t done more for my career, and it really bothers me that other people have taken credit for it.

Parker – Last words?

Brownlee – I’m called by God to be a joy-bringer. Hopefully by His grace I’ll continue to do that.

The Seven Questions

1. What’s your favorite sound?
Brownlee – Laughter. Without question. Laughter is music to my ears.

2. What makes you happy?
Brownlee – Bringing that laughter.

3. What makes you angry?
Brownlee – Injustice. Of any kind. But I have to be careful with that, because it’s easy to become self-righteous and judgmental.

4. What is the secret of success?
Brownlee – Perseverance. Not giving up. Listening and heeding that still small voice.

5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Brownlee – I’ve always admired people from American history. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin. I think it would have to be Franklin, because he was so inventive.

6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Brownlee – I would want it to be a joke, something like, “What are you looking at?”

7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Brownlee – “You are my son, and I love you.”