Flashback: Watch Black Sabbath Become Wild Beatles-Style Kids' Cartoon - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Watch Black Sabbath Become Wild Beatles-Style Kids’ Cartoon

Robert Smigel’s ‘TV Funhouse’ imagined heavy-metal forefathers as zany beatniks

Black Sabbath became a wacky, Scooby Doo or Beatles-style cartoon in the early 2000s, when animator and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog creator Robert Smigel broke out his running SNL bit TV Funhouse into a half-hour show. The show ran like a Seventies kids’ show with a host, Doug Dale, who hung out with a bunch of animal puppets – including some voiced by Smigel – and introduced not-ready-for-primetime spots in the vein of his Ambiguously Gay Duo and X-Presidents bits. The show was short-lived, but its eight episodes were just long enough for a spot parodying Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

In the clip, the foursome – known for their copious intake of drugs and alcohol in the Seventies – are celebrating the end of what would have been their tour supporting 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Osbourne walks around in his underwear on a plane, Ward speaks incoherently and swallows gallons of alcohol, and they all put up with a shaggy dog named Doom Doom. They get into some calamities at a Hawaiian luau and pay the price in a typically outrageous way.

The real Black Sabbath – who deserve credit for being good-natured – recently dug up the clip and posted it to their Facebook page. In the meantime, they’re traversing the U.S. on the first leg of their farewell tour, which they’ve named The End.

Osbourne and Butler relived some of their wild tales in an interview with Rolling Stone about the trek – and commented on how things had changed. “When we first came to the States and we stayed at the Hyatt House in Los Angeles, I thought, ‘Fucking hell, we’re in California,'” Osbourne said. “The people were cool, the weather was great, we were swimming in an outdoor pool at midnight, we had drugs, alcohol, women and fucking parties. It was a great way to spend your young years.”

“Now we have private planes, the best suites in the best hotels, but the downside is there’s no drugs and no women,” Butler said with a laugh. “You come offstage and have a cup of tea and go to bed.”


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