At Michael Jackson's moving memorial in the Staples Center Tuesday, Motown founder Berry Gordy eulogized that the title "King of Pop" was not big enough for Jacko, calling him "simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived."
Somewhere in Heaven, Sammy Davis Jr. fumes.
See, it's been universally accepted that Sammy was the greatest entertainer who ever lived. Now that both he and MJ are sharing the bill at the Great Rendezvous Ballroom in the Sky, it behooves God, Thor, Vishnu, Devi Mahatmya or whichever non-mortal entity is in charge of the joint to organize a Supreme American Idol competition between the two. Shakespeare, Flo Ziegfeld and Judy Garland (the original Paula Abdul) can be the judges.
However, before such a competition is held, it behooves a thinking person to concede the many reasons (18 to be precise) that Sammy out-entertains Jacko. It's really no contest.
1) Jacko was brutally pushed to perform by his father, but Sammy was brutally pushed to perform by his father in the mid 1920s. Do you know how audiences and promoters treated black entertainers in the mid 1920s? And to get around child labor laws, Davis had to live with being billed as "Silent Sam the Dancing Midget."
2) Jacko performed with the disadvantage of one glove, but Sammy performed with the disadvantage of one eye.
3) Jacko sustained serious injuries while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984, but Sammy was almost killed in an automobile accident--the 1954 crash in San Bernardino that resulted in that lost eye.
4) Jacko was a devout Jehovah's Witness, but Sammy was a devout Jew. Count the number of great Jehovah's Witness entertainers, the number of great Jewish entertainers and call me in the morning.
5) Jacko amazed audiences with his moonwalking skills, but Sammy amazed audiences with his tap-dancing skills. Do you know how hard it is to amaze anyone tap dancing?
6) Jacko's pals were Corey Feldman,
15) Jacko hung out with Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House in 1984, but Sammy not only hung out with Richard Nixon there in 1973, Dick let him the spend the night, the first time it is believed an African-American had been invited to do so (excluding whoever Thomas Jefferson was secretly banging, of course).
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16) Jacko sang the embarrassing "Say, Say, Say" with Paul McCartney, but Sammy appeared in the embarrassing Cannonball Run II with Burt Reynolds.
17) Jacko was portrayed in a TV miniseries by Jason Weaver, but Sammy was portrayed in an HBO movie by Don Cheadle.
18) Sure, Berry Gordy called Jacko the greatest entertainer who ever lived, but 42 years earlier Sammy was forever immortalized as "The Greatest Entertainer in the World" in the I Dream of Jeannie episode of the same title. See, Tony needs Sammy to perform at Gen. Peterson's 10th anniversary at NASA, but because Davis is previously booked Jeannie must create a duplicate of the greatest entertainer who ever lived . . .
Okay, so maybe that was more embarrassing than Cannonball Run II.