Nipsey Russell

Nipsey was a funny man
With great timing and quick wit
When he delivered his trademark poems
He always was a hit

As mentioned in our tribute to Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark, I stumbled upon Nipsey Russell almost by accident one day while watching reruns of the $100,000 Pyramid, and then later saw him as a guest panelist on Match Game. While you could stick a gun to my head and I still wouldn’t care about most of the 1970’s B-listers they had as guest panelists on those shows, there was just something special about Nipsey. I needed to find out more about this guy, and how he got famous.

It turns out that the game show guest appearances were how Julius “Nipsey” Russell got famous. He may be the only person who ever became a celebrity that way. But it makes sense – he was positively delightful, and they kept bringing him back for more.

At least once every episode, Nipsey would recite a humorous four-line poem. His lyrical gifts were to social commentary what Erasmus Darwin‘s were to science and Lesane Parish Crooks‘ were to hip hop.

A short sampling of four Nipsey poems:

The opposite of ‘pro’ is ‘con’
That fact is clearly seen
If progress means move forward
Then what does Congress mean?

If you ever go out with a schoolteacher
You’re in for a fantastic night
She’ll make you do it over and over again
Until you do it right

What is the secret of eternal youth?
The answer is easily told;
All you gotta do if you wanna look young
Is hang out with people who are old

The girl who would make my life complete
Need not be young and fair
Just be a nymphomaniac
And a multimillionaire

The last one, at a celebrity roast, provoked Betty White to respond “I’m not a multimillionaire, but one out of two ain’t bad!”

If you wonder how a man so great
Would wear such wacky collars
It’s because for the thousands contestants won
Nipsey probably just made a few dollars

Although Nipsey was a constant panelist on celebrity roasts and game shows (he was especially valuable on the show Rhyme and Reason, a game show based on poetic ability), he also had a starring role as the Tin Man in The Wiz, a blaxploitation version of The Wizard of Oz. Yes, you read that right.

Before entering showbiz, Nipsey served as an Army medic during World War I in Europe, and upon his return, as a Second Lieutenant. He later inspired Nipsey Hussle, whose real name (Ermias Asghedom) means he’ll probably be featured on this blog himself someday.

With regards to Nipsey, I’d just like to say these final words:

‘Twas sad when Nipsey passed away
In October, 2005
But thanks to YouTube and TV
Nipsey’s charm will always survive!

Share your own Nipsey-style poems with us in the comments section! Our favorite(s) will be posted with a link to your blog in one of our upcoming posts.
 (General guidelines: You can write several poems, but each poem should be four lines long, with the 2nd and 4th lines rhyming. Don’t shy away from provocative subjects, but keep it within the confines of what Nipsey would have been allowed to say on the air during the 1970’s.)

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About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names. funnynamesblog.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Greatest hits. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Nipsey Russell

  1. I always loved Nipsey! As a very young child I watched Match Game with my father…my excitement to watch Nipsey was borderline weird since I was only about 5 or 6.

  2. Rob says:

    Nipsey is the best. Saw him recently on Super Password and he’s a current (well, currently airing) panelist on Match Game. He’s so funny and charming!

  3. crubin says:

    Wow. Talk about a blast from the past. I loved that guy! Of course, I can’t think of any Nipsey-style poems right now, but I’m sure one will hit me at three am tonight…

  4. unclerave says:

    You simplified things just a little bit. He was a comedian and an actor long before he became a game show staple. My big question is to the derivation of “Nipsey”?

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the heads-up! I didn’t realize that. Most of these shows happened before I was born, so I just know him from reruns and occasional film appearances.

      P.S. You’ve mentioned a darker font in the past. Do you know how to change font color without losing the template we’re currently using? I like the features of the design, but I wouldn’t mind making the text a bit darker.

      When I try to even just change the font color within a post, this is usually the darkest it gets unless I’m using a hyperlink or bold font.

      • unclerave says:

        It’s not just the darkness, but the size too. Maybe it has something to do with your template? In my Settings – Reading I think my page shows only 10 posts, before you’d have to hit Next Page. Maybe yours is set higher, resulting in a smaller font, so they can squeeze more posts on your page.

        Also, there might be a difference based on which way you Write a Post. There are two or three (maybe more?) ways, and they bring up slightly different screens. I never use the New Post link at the top of the page, or the New Post tab. I always go to my Dashboard, then I rest the curser on my blog name right next to the W, which brings a drop-down menu that starts with Dashboard, New, Comments, Menus, Widgets, etc., then I rest the curser on New, which brings up a side (right) menu of: Post, Page, Media or Link. I click on Post. That brings up the full feature Add New Post page that I use.

        I do color the majority of what I write, but not everything. I embolden some, but not all that much. If you compare the posts on my blog to yours you’ll see a difference in font size. Mine’s larger, so even un-boldened and un-colored it’s easier to read.

        Play around with it, bro. Try my way and see if it makes a difference. If it does you’ll be making a lot of people happier!

        — YUR

  5. Bridgette says:

    I remember Nipsey Russell –
    He played the Principal
    In that movie Wildcats –
    where Goldie Hawn was a football coach who took the men to school.

    • Dave says:

      Good one! It took me a time or two to get the cadence down, but I like this one because it reminded me of a movie I saw years ago, but forgot Nipsey was in. Thanks for the memories! That was a good film!

  6. Thinking……
    In the words of someone else with a memorable name…
    ‘I’ll be backkkkk!’

  7. Jim Maher says:

    Nipsey Russell loved his words
    Like guitar, orange, and tucker
    He starred in blaxploitation films
    But missed ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!’

  8. Anne Sikes says:

    I remember Nipsey most from his Laugh-In days. My family loved that show. (Well, my father often disapproved.) The first thing I always think is “Here come da judge!” when I think of him, from that show. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a good poem, but they all fall sadly short right now. Will keep trying though! Thanks for the memories.

    • Dave says:

      Glad to take you on a trip down memory lane! As for the poem…

      The rhyming of lines 2 and 4,
      Is all that is desired,
      It doesn’t need to be profound,
      So long as it’s Nipsey-inspired!

      and, perhaps I should mention…

      The contest will be open
      for at least a few more days
      So as soon as something comes to mind
      Make sure to send it our way!

      Haha, you can tell I enjoy this post. Thanks for the visit!

  9. The Hook says:

    A blast from my past! I used to love Nipsey! Thanks, man!

    • Dave says:

      You’re welcome. Thanks for the comment! It’s hard not to love Nipsey. Just look at his reaction to helping someone else win $25,000 here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLxwzUYIafU&fb_source=message

    • Dave says:

      And I’d love to hear a Nipsey-inspired poetic offering from you! We’ll be keeping the contest open for a few more days, and we’ll post the winners (with a link to their blogs) in an upcoming post. We’re still a humble blog (150-500 hits a day), but it’s a good chance to get some exposure to a new audience who shares your love for humor and quality writing.

  10. t.a. says:

    The poem I wish to compose
    Is written especially for you.
    Thanks for the ‘like’ on my blog
    And for the ode to Nipsy, too!

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  12. amb says:

    What a fantastic idea! So much fun. I humbly present my offering:

    His name might not have the same cachet
    As “Ross”, “Pryor” or “Jackson”
    But you just can’t tell the story of The Wiz
    Without Nipsey’s groovy Tin Man action

    • Dave says:

      That’s pretty darn good! I love the little things like you fitting “cachet” and “groovy” into your poem. This one’s a frontrunner!

  13. amb says:

    Why thank you! 🙂

  14. Farewell to dear ol’ Nipsey
    he was such a witty poet
    the leading quatrain master
    to him we really owe it!

    Aw it’s not one of my best, but I found this one really tough!!! 🙂

    • Dave says:

      That’s pretty good! Any time you can get a word like quatrain or oscilloscope into a poem (other readers, here’s where she did that: http://worldlywinds.com/2012/05/24/fair-days-and-foul/) you will always get extra points with me for “degree of difficulty.”

      Rob once wrote a poem about baseball announcer Jim Joyce, and managed to fit the words “impartial” and “field marshal” into a rhyme. One of the greatest accomplishments in the history of our family, which stretches way back to John A. MacDonald, first prime minister of Canada.

      • Haha brilliant!! You realise you are just encouraging me to find outrageous rhymes now?! 😀

        • Dave says:

          Oh yes. I certainly do realize that. I think challenges and restrictions breed creativity. That’s what makes writing this blog a lot more fun than a “write about one interesting person a day” blog. 🙂

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  16. Paul says:

    I seem to remember a commercial that ran over and over again advertising Nipsey’s future guest appearance on one of the many shows. Because of the repetition (and how clever it is), I can recite it to this day. In the commercial (and I am sure, on the show) it went something like this:

    “All men are brothers under the skin, my friend,
    Of this there is no doubt.”
    He said, “Well, go back under the skin, my friend,
    And send your BROTHER out!”

    Emphasis provided by Nipsey…
    I miss him.

    Paul

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