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Big Words: Thank This!

by Big Daddy Graham

I’ve been a talk show host at 94WIP and various other stations for more than 20 years. Every year I hear various hosts at my station and other spots on the radio dial “discussing things to be thankful for” on Thanksgiving Day and the days leading up to it.

I myself have used this conversation starter, so don’t think I’m putting on any airs here. And it’s not like I don’t appreciate the thought and sentiment behind it. Having survived some serious illnesses, there are hundreds of life moments that I am incredibly grateful for. (But please don’t cut me off in traffic or I will flip you the bird!) Geez, just having the luck of being born in the U.S.A. is something that many of us take for granted.

So just for the heck of it, I’m going to have some fun and go in a different direction and bring up some Thanksgiving tidbits that get on my nerves, and maybe some of these will connect with you.

For starters, I’m always hung over. Every year, all the Philadelphia comics meet at Chickie’s & Pete’s in South Philly the Wednesday night before. It’s a fun event, one that I wouldn’t miss. Unfortunately, I don’t miss any rounds, either. Being that more alcohol is consumed the night before Thanksgiving than any other night of the year, I wonder how many people reading this suffer from the same calamity.

Then there’s the ride. I virtually have no relatives at all. My wife, however, being Irish/Italian, has thousands. And every single one of them seems to live in Kansas. Not one of them lives around the corner. I live in Mullica Hill and my wife’s immediate family lives in Rehoboth Beach, Bucks County and Maryland. Cut me a break! While I love my in-laws, as an entertainer who spends his life in his car, I must admit there are some Thanksgivings where it’s an effort just making it to the driveway. (Hmmm, I wonder if they live that far away from me on purpose.) One year, my wife and I ran out of gas on the trek to her mother’s. That’s a Thanksgiving that I am grateful never happened again.

Then there’s this mystery that occurs over and over again on the occasional Thanksgiving gig that is thrown at my house. My wife is a tremendous cook. So much so that it is virtually impossible for me to hang around the living room watching football without wanting to eat something before all the guests arrive. Now first of all, I’m not even allowed in the kitchen. I might as well be in solitary confinement at Graterford. So I have to wait till she is not over the oven to sneak a bite of anything, and out of nowhere my wife will appear and karate chop my hand like she’s stinkin’ Chuck Norris. What’s up with that? It’s my house too. I helped pay for everything. Don’t I have any food rights at all? Uh, no.

While we’re on the subject of turkey goodies, let me make this bold statement. I hate cranberries. Why must they be forced on me every year? If they were that delicious of a food, wouldn’t we eat them all year round? Who wants to chow down on a “delicacy” that comes out of a bog? And exactly what is a bog anyway?

And I have an Italian mother-in-law who is like a private detective at the dinner table. I could eat every piece of dark meat there is, every roll, every celery stick, every ounce of stuffing, and she will still, every year, like clockwork, mumble at me, “Uh, what’s the matter there, don’t like the cranberries?” NO, I DON’T!

Then there’s the football. Who doesn’t love football? With all due respect to baseball, the NFL has become America’s pastime. That’s not even up for debate anymore. And what do we get every Thanksgiving? The god-awful Detroit Lions and the dreaded Dallas Cowgirls. OMG! You think you’re suffering as an Eagles fan having never won a Super Bowl? The Lions, who have been in the league since 1929, have never even been to one. And here’s how I feel about the Cowgirls. If owner Jerry Jones was kidnapped by a team of the FBI’s Most Wanted, I would contribute money to their cause if they would promise me one thing: NEVER RELEASE HIM!

Then there’s the ride home. It’s always a major effort. Every year, it’s a struggle to keep my eyes open. When I mention this to my wife and daughters (and new son-in-law Matt), one of them will inevitably tell me, “it’s the tryptophan.” Every year, out of the blue, one of them turns into the brilliant chemist Walter White and delivers this proclamation like I’ve never heard it before. Let me clue you in. It’s not what we eat on Turkey Day, it’s how much. It’s pretty much a given that whether I eat 27 pounds of pizza or squash, it’s going to make my eyes droop and my belt tighten into “Dunlap disease.” So enough with the tryptophan!

So Happy Thanksgiving and wait till you read my take on the holidays. Nah, seriously, eat, drink and be merry!

TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS starring Joe Conklin and Big Daddy Graham is returning to the Broadway Theatre in Pitman on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. NFL Hall of Famer Ray Didinger will be the guest MC. Go to for tickets and more information.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 8 (November, 2013).
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