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Carrot Top recalls Rip Taylor: ‘He never liked me’

Updated October 8, 2019 - 7:55 am

When Carrot Top burst on the national comedy scene in the 1990s, he seemed the heir apparent to Rip Taylor as the country’s pre-eminent prop comic.

Carrot Top (legal name Scott Thompson) did ascend to widespread fame, appearing frequently on late-night talk shows during his 15 years as a headliner at Luxor’s Atrium Showroom.

But Taylor, himself a longtime Las Vegas headliner, never endorsed nor supported Carrot Top’s career.

“He never liked me,” Thompson said in a phone chat Sunday afternoon as he learned of Taylor’s death on Sunday in Beverly Hills at age 84. “He always accused me of stealing his act.”

Taylor was unique with his penchant for throwing confetti over his audiences, his obvious hairpiece (which often fell askew during performances), his shrill delivery and general campiness. He was known for guest appearances on such game shows as “The Hollywood Squares,” “The Gong Show” and “The $1.98 Beauty Pageant,” which he hosted.

Thus, Carrot Top always attempted to distinguish his act from that of Taylor, who was a comedy institution by the time Thompson opened his series at Luxor. Thompson has updated his act routinely by drawing from the events of the day to remain fresh. Over the weekend he developed a Bernie Sanders necktie, outfitted with a stethoscope.

Early in his career, Thompson attempted to diffuse tension between himself and Taylor on an appearance on “The Daily Show” when Jon Stewart hosted. Carrot Top appeared on set, where Stewart broached the subject of his relationship with Taylor.

The red-headed comic strongly denied copping Taylor’s act, then cut to a previously recorded clip from a comedy club in Orlando, Fla.

“We set up this show, and I was introduced and walked out throwing confetti all over the place,” Topper said. “The audience loved it. It killed.”

The comedian ran into Taylor randomly years later at a now-closed Koo Koo Roo restaurant in Los Angeles.

“I went up to him and said, ‘I love you! I didn’t steal your act! Can we just be friends and drop this?’ ” Thompson said. “And he said, ‘Get the (expletive) away from me. Don’t (expletive) talk to me.’ “

As Thompson walked away, he turned to a friend and said, “Well, I think that went well.”

It was a funny, incidental moment, and the only time the two ever teamed on a comedy bit.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at 2realnews.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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