Kip Addotta Sings About Veggies, but He's Just Arugula Guy

updated 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Orange you glad Kip Addotta has a new album out? That after 14 years of playing endives, he's finally got a hit? That his Life in the Slaw Lane video made it onto MTV? That he doesn't have to work for a meager celery anymore? Really, isn't Addotta's success just grape? Or, like so many others, do you require an eggsplanation?

Okay, lettuce try again, slowly. Kip Addotta is a comedian. He has written a song, which might be like any song, except it isn't. It's about murder and vegetables. Vegetables so tough you could steam them for hours, and they'd never talk. His video for the song—the aforementioned Life in the Slaw Lane—features a Sam Spud detective whose tart talk is peppered with indigestible puns. "I had just spinached a long day and I was busheled," he announces. "But I didn't carrot all. Because otherwise, things were vine." As the story unpeels, his sister-in-law, Peaches, "a soiled but radishing beauty with huge gourds," is having an affair with Basll. "I knew he was in a yam," says the detective of his brother. "He told me his wife had been raisin cane." In the end, Peaches gets pruned, but not before Addotta delivers other hip chive, including "they'd sowed their wild oats but just barley," "it irrigated me to see artichoke" and "we tried to weed it out, but the problem still romained." So what if some of the jokes are a little brown around the edges. Addotta is crossing his cucumbers, hoping that the Slaw LP—which contains eight other satirical ditties—will become a veggie big hit, a top grocer. He would like to live appley ever after.

Who is this comedian with an edible complex? A visit to his house in Santa Monica yields intriguing clues. There's a fish pond with a fiberglass cobra in the middle. There's a sinister black '64 Lincoln in the drive. There's an attractive redhead at the gate. "He's in there," she says, pointing ominously to the open front door. "He's ready."

Tackily dapper in black sweats and white socks, Addotta sits behind a big desk, sucking on a mug of java. Faced with an ultomato—spill the beans, dip, or this reporter beets it—he delivers. He's 41. Made 20 or so appearances on The Tonight Show. Been married twice, widowed once, divorced once. Refers to his ex-wife as "Plaintiff." Romance gone rotten, he says, is bad for the soul but good for business: "I get to write songs like I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Just Like Having You Around. It's a wonderful vent." In happier moods, he has written Christmas songs, including I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.

He had the foresight, as all comedians should, to have an unhappy childhood. "I was a very skinny kid," he says. "I had very few friends. I slept in a crib until I was 9. It was a little embarrassing." His grandmother wanted him to be a priest. Instead he became a barber. He was 27 when, out of shear boredom, he hung up his clippers and moved to L.A. "I'd always had this fantasy about comedy," he says. He settled for the next best available option, parking cars at NBC's Burbank Studios. "I figured I'm gonna be parking Johnny's car. I swear I was that stupid." He bulled his way into the Comedy Store. He moonlighted a bit as a piano player on Days of Our Lives. When he was offered $1,000—"four month's rent"—to open as a stand-up for the Fifth Dimension in Lake Tahoe, he turned pro.

This year he'll cater to audiences in 35 cities. And he's got other projects on his platter. "My next song is going to be about colors," he says, "green and brown and—maybe—fuchsia." But mostly, when he's off the road, he likes to stick around the house, where he points with pride to the trappings of success: the Lincoln, a blue marlin on the wall, a six-foot inflatable Godzilla in the bedroom. Thereby, of course, hangs another tale—but as Addotta says in Slaw, "My little story's okra now. Thank you so mulch."

From Our Partners