Nancy Roman

Inappropriate: Thank You, Mary Tyler Moore

In tribute to the amazing Mary Tyler Moore, here’s a post from 2 years ago. She always made me laugh, and that’s about as nice a compliment as you can get. Thanks, Mary.



I read the other day about a person having an inappropriate case of the giggles. And oh my, a memory jumped up and yelled, “You despicable person, you!”

You –  in this case –  meaning:


Do you remember the old Mary Tyler Moore episode about Chuckles the Clown?  The station’s resident clown was the grand marshall of the circus parade. He wore his Peter Peanut costume, and in a bizarre twist of fate, was shelled to death by a rogue elephant. All the guys at the studio could not resist making terrible jokes, and Mary was appalled at their lack of decorum. Of course, their laughs had played out by the time of the funeral, and they were properly respectful, and it was Mary herself who came down with uncontrollable, ill-timed laughter.

That episode was one of the funniest things I had ever seen on TV.

Until of course I had a similar experience.

At least the occasion wasn’t tragic. I have that excuse, at least.

It was 1986, and I was working in the cable television business. I was based in Connecticut and my boss, Rick, the regional Finance V.P., was based in Virginia. I liked working for him very much. (and not only because it is sweet to have a boss 324 miles away.) He was an intelligent man with impeccable manners.  Incidentally, he had a stutter.

We were interviewing companies in order to change credit card processors. Rick came up from Virginia. A very nice man came in from Omaha to pitch his organization’s service. He was smart and friendly and well-prepared. He also had a stutter.

There were six of us in the meeting. We had no conference room in our offices, so we had just pulled chairs around in a circle in the largest office. I sat between my boss and Jim, the credit card company sales rep.

The meeting was productive and cordial, but gradually I became aware that the more that Rick and Jim talked, the more they seemed to have some kind of synergistic effect on their respective stutters. It was almost as if each man’s stutter encouraged the other’s.

Rick had difficulty with W.  “W-w-w-when w-w-will w-w-we sign the contract?”

And with Jim, he stumbled over B. “B-b-but b-b-both of us can b-b-buy some time.”

Sitting between them, I listened to these two smart, nice gentlemen:





I liked and respected these guys. I have stutterers in my own family. It’s fine. It never bothers me. And I am a good polite person.

It happened anyway.



I was overcome with the giggles.

I tapped my foot. I covered my mouth and pretended to yawn. I pinched myself. scribbled in my notebook.

I coughed. My shoulders shook.

Eventually, I started to cry.

“E-e-e-excuse me,” I managed to stammer (yeah, it’s catchy). “I have something in my eye.”

And I ran to the ladies’ room and laughed myself silly. Then I composed myself and rejoined the meeting.

A few days later, I was out for a drink with a co-worker who was also at the meeting.

“Did you find it hard to sit in that meeting, and not laugh?” I asked.

“NO!” My friend said, horrified. “OF COURSE NOT! What is wrong with you?”

Oh, I am a terrible person.


“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”


  1. I’m so sad to learn that MTM died today. That episode is the funniest thing I have ever seen, because as you pointed out, it does happen to us from time to time. I can remember Johnny Carson talking on his show with MTM — he said it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen and teared up just remembering it.

    So am I.

    goodnight, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a great episode. I could laugh just thinking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That show was so fabulous….every episode.


  3. So many memorable episodes and shows.
    Mary Tyler Moore did more teaching women to be brave, to try and to not be afraid of failure that many women’s lib advocates. Classy, sassy, stylish, and smart.
    Hope they start replaying all her shows for the younger generation.


    • What I liked best was that she made it okay to be single. She was not a failure because she was unmarried. She was FINE. I had not seen that before on television.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Cathy Daisy

        You hadn’t seen it before because she was the first to portray a successful single woman! Hard to believe it was 1970. There was an earlier show That Girl but the Marlo Thomas character was younger and struggling and had parents and boyfriend hovering. Mary Tyler Moore was such an icon and role model for so many. What an amazing performance in that Chuckles the clown episode!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Having just become a high school graduate and started my first secretarial job, I so wanted to be her when the Mary Tyler Mary Show was on tv! I could never get a beret to fit just right on my head…. I, too, would love to see her show in syndication.


    • In one episode, Mary wore a blouse that I had – a blue and red plaid with a gold thread running through – a very unusual blouse. Imagine my joy that Mary wore my blouse!


  5. Deb

    I’ve had “Oh Rob…” stuck in my head for years every time I saw a picture of MTM.


  6. Loved Mary Tyler Moore and even I remember that episode. RIP, Mary. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jono51

    I had to leave Minnesota for a couple of years and MTM kept making me homesick and connected. I fell in love with her when she was Laura Petrie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved the Dick Van Dyke show as much as the Mary Tyler Moore show.


  8. I think you did exactly what anyone would have done.


  9. And yes, once you told the story, I remember that episode too

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That episode was a classic…and so was Mary.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. She was an icon, that’s for sure. Loved by so many for her talent & her grace! Loved your story, it can be so hard to contain laughter in difficult situations, no matter how much you try not to!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. She was amazing. And so are you I’m sure….we all get into those situations at one time or another in our lives. I had such an experience too…you feel terrible at the time…but yet…years later you can smile about it. A little.


  13. This blog really made me laugh as I have been in similar situations…worse one was a funeral!!


  14. Notice Betty White sitting next to Gavin McLeod (Murray)?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. bo

    Reblogged this on Bobbi's Blog and commented:
    Thanks for the laughs, Mary Tyler Moore!


  16. One of the best episodes! And I’m sitting here reading what you wrote, and OMG! Am I starting to giggle? It feels like I’m going to bust out laughing . . . because of what you went through during that meeting, and because of Mary Tyler Moore. Bless both your hearts for the chuckles!


    • I saw portions of the Chuckles episode just last night on PBS. I was hysterical all over again. And an interesting piece of triva…. that episode ran 5 minutes short in rehearsal… but a full five minutes of laughter during the half-hour.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We’ve all been there and there’s nothing funnier and more horrible. My late Dad and I used to have the same crazy sense of humor. I knew not to look at him if something both tickled our funny bone, especially if it involved another person. If I were you, I would’ve done the same thing.



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