Bill Maher’s Cousin Sang the Praises of a Civil War General

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Bill Maher and Civil War general statue

On his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Bill has made it clear he sides with those who want statues of U.S. Civil War generals taken down.

In one ‘Overtime’ segment of his show, Bill spoke about the people who oppose removing the statues by asking “What happened to southern hospitality?”

He suggests anyone that supports the statues staying in place should consider what it must be like for people who are offended to have to walk by them every day.

Bill goes on to show some mock statues to give those ‘heritage people’ an idea how it feels to walk by a monument they don’t like.

But although Bill Maher is of the opinion that these statues should be removed, one of his relatives can actually be seen singing the praises of a Civil War general right in front of his statue.

In a September ‘Overtime’ panel conversation, former Rep. Barney Frank mentioned that one of The Three Stooges (Shemp Howard) was married to his cousin and then Bill revealed that his second cousin was Stubby Kaye – an American comic actor known for his appearances in Broadway and film musicals.

That part of the conversation begins at the 7:52 mark, which can seen beginning at that point below (Youtube link)

One of Stubby’s best know roles was as “Marryin’ Sam” in the Broadway musical Li’l Abner and its film adaptation.

A highlight of Li’l Abner is a musical performance honoring Civil War general and town founder, Jubilation T Cornpone, with a statue of Cornpone prominent in the background.

And while it is true that Stubby Kaye is singing his praise of the general – as a comedic musical, Cornpone’s actions during the war are a little less than heroic…

Cornpone’ bravery is suspect right from the start, with the song beginning:

When we fought the Yankees and annihilation was near,
Who was there to lead the charge that took us safe to the rear?
Why it was Jubilation T. Cornpone

And by the second verse, there’s no doubt left at all.

When we almost had ’em but the issue still was in doubt,
Who suggested the retreat that turned it into a rout?
Why it was Jubilation T. Cornpone

The song continues with hilarious example after example of how bad Cornpone was as a general.

In fact, in the second act, as the townspeople try to move the Jubilation T. Cornpone statue, they find a plaque bearing a declaration by Abraham Lincoln that reveals Jubilation T Cornpone’s military blunders almost single-handedly allowed the North to win the Civil War.

It’s well worth checking out the performance. You may even find yourself (uncontrollably) singing it to yourself for the rest of the day.

Here are the lyrics, in case you want to read or sing along with Stubby Kaye.

A giant Jubilation T Cornpone statue also appeared in the Li’l Abner theme park which opened in 1968 and closed in 1993, aside from some occasional tours.
( Click here to see a photo of the park performers and actors posing with the statue in one of the early years)


Top image: Youtube screencap | Bill Maher via Wikipedia (cc)