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What is "Mugging the Camera"?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have some ideas... but... I am not quite certain.

I was reading up on some information on why Frank Zappa was banned from Saturday Night Live, and this came up:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Frank Zappa was banned from the show after his hosting stint on October 21, 1978. His acerbic and often misunderstood sense of humor made him more than unpopular with the cast and crew. During his performance, he made a habit of reading cue-cards and mugging the camera. Many cast members (save for John Belushi) stood noticeably far from him during the goodnights.
Could anybody please give a better defintion of this, of course, while at the same time abiding by the Head-Fi rules?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
Hamming it up, demanding attention, that sort of thing. Lookatmelookatme.

Interestingly enough, Googling for "mugging the camera" brought up your WP article as the 7th hit.
post #3 of 10
The usual expression is "mugging for the camera", as in twisting one's face -- or "mug" -- to ham it up, as was noted. Unless, of course, Frank Z literally mugged the camera (or cameramen)!!!

...which might explain why nobody wanted to get too close to him -- fear of extreme pranks, upstage-ism, show derailment, and/or bodily harm -- all in good iconoclastic fun, of course.
post #4 of 10
Come to think of it, I only saw fifteen seconds of him on that SNL episode and I thought he wasn't "playing along" very well. He was "too cool" for it, or so he thought.
It seemed to me that Zappa was cool (for fifteen seconds) because he didn't much care what anyone else thought, but there is quite a thin line between not playing along for a few seconds and being a jerk for a week of rehearsals.

On an interesting side note, mugging means to stare at someone aggressively or stare them down in the part of California that I came from, but it is not a definition that many people know.
I suppose it came from the staring association.

An interesting follow-up question would be:
how did you stumble upon this article Aman?
post #5 of 10
"Your Mug" is an archaic term for "Your Face" - "mugging the camera" or "mugging the crowd" means to turn towards the camera/crowd at all times, and to thrust your face forward so that it appears larger and more important.
post #6 of 10
I's a muggin' boom!
We's a muggin' bam!
I's a muggin' boom!
-- boo-boop-be-doop, shoo-bop-doo-wham!


It was a famous black-charts / jazz standard in the 30s and 40s. I've heard Cab Calloway (a notorious mugger) and Django Reinhart sing it.
post #7 of 10
Maybe Zelig is the worlds greatest mugger, followed closely by Forrest Gump.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
An interesting follow-up question would be:
how did you stumble upon this article Aman?
I was talking to a professor at college and we somehow got onto the topic of Frank Zappa, and he told me that he once saw an Episode of Saturday Night Live where Frank Zappa was the guest, and they never re-aired it again after the original broadcast. He didn't remember much about it, and I became curious as to why he got banned from the show.
post #9 of 10
I think it means to glare at the camera agressively. Like the slang term 'mean mugging' is how gangbangers walk around looking angry all the time - I imagine 'mugging the camera' is the same, like staring at it all mad or weird.

--Illah
post #10 of 10
and of course, he joins other respectable banned-from-SNL club members such as Elvis Costello and Cypress Hill.
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