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3 Armenians walk into a bar

Louis Armstrong has done it. Family Guy has done it. And Al Pacino has done it – twice.

February 6, 2018  |  by Creative Armenia

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1. Family Guy

To celebrate a successful operation, which gives him the ability to talk like Patrick Stewart, Family Guy hero Peter Griffin spends the afternoon making a list of famous Armenians. He names three. After a pause, Peter adds: "That’s it!"

Family Guy, Season 5, Episode 14

The famous Armenians he can think of are: Eric Bogosian (New York playwright and actor – and Creative Armenia board member); Andre Agassi, the former tennis star; and Jerry Tarkanian, the legendary college basketball coach who won a national championship at UNLV and was famously in the crosshairs of the NCAA throughout his career. In the 70s, NCAA lead investigator David Berst testified to calling Tarkanian a "rug merchant," back when that phrase was a known ethnic slur and not a serviceable name for a hipster barbershop.

Apparently, Peter Griffin doesn't follow the Kardashians. Or 1980s baseball. Or the Planet of the Apes franchise.

2. Louis Armstrong – Dardanella

Most famously performed by Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, the 60s hit Dardanella is a jazzy love song – a perfect tune for your next lazy Sunday afternoon. There is plenty to like about the song, including its leading lady.

There lives a lonesome maid Armenian

By the Dardanelles with glowing eyes.

She looks across the seas and sighs,

And weaves her love spell so sirenian.

Easier to love, this lonesome maid, than she is to rhyme.  

3. Al Pacino –  Author, Author

"You know how you can tell an Armenian?" Pacino explains to Diane Cannon. "Their name rhymes with Armenian." He didn't say it has to rhyme well. In the loosely autobiographical film Author Author Pacino portrays one Ivan Travalian, a playwright who also wants to be a good family man. He has five kids, a wife who just left him, endless demands for rewrites, and an actress who's eyeing to move in with him. Not an easy situation. But nobody said it's easy being Al Pacino – even loosely, and even in ethnic drag.

Al Pacino – Ivan Travalian (Author, Author, 1982)

4. Al Pacino –  You Don't Know Jack

Almost thirty years later, Pacino was called on to embody a real Armenian character: Dr. Death himself, Jack Kevorkian, the controversial Armenian doctor who championed and practiced euthanasia in the United States. This curious medical maverick went to jail and held several hunger strikes in his battle for a patient's right to take his own life. What kind of man dedicates his life to such a cause? And how did he fail to get the attention of Peter Griffin?

Al Pacino – Jack Kevorkian (You Don’t Know Jack, 2010)

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