Duluth and Northeast Minnesota got a shout out on Robot Chicken this week. Watch the crappy screen-grab clip above, or view the pay version of the full episode below.
It’s been ten years since Saturday Night Live aired its skit about a local band, led by Jack Daniels-guzzling Wally Hamrlik and his wife Char, who overstay their welcome while performing “Fly High Duluth,” the theme song for morning show Duluth Live. The sketch originally aired on Jan. 14, 2006, and was first posted to Perfect Duluth Day on on Jan. 16, 2006. Happy Saturday.
Sadly, there is no longer an embeddable version of the video online, but it is available on nbc.com.
In the first episode of Season Two of Curb Your Enthusiasm (2001), Larry David is trying to sell cars for the first time in his life. Duluth comes up in his spiel.
Customer: What kind of gas mileage am I going to get?
Larry David: Fifty-two.
Customer: Fifty-two in the city.
David: Depending on the city, of course. Duluth is a city, it’s considered a city, but it’s not as big as Brooklyn or whatever.
In the pilot episode of Hannibal (2013), a serial killer is murdering young college women around Minnesota. Laurence Fishburne and Hugh Dancy travel to Duluth (which apparently has train service) to investigate. Hannibal Lecter gets involved, for some reason. He and Dancy share breakfast in a Duluth motel room, then visit a Duluth construction site. A woman’s body is found in Hibbing, impaled on deer antlers. Dancy figures out who the killer is using amazing leaps of logic. The serial killer (who happens to be a member of the Building Trades, which is not surprising) is eventually cornered at his home.
All in all, business as usual in Duluth.
The Duluth reference here is likely intended to be Duluth, Ga., since the Chris Stevens character on Northern Exposure is a native of Wheeling, W.Va., and any wrestling convention he attended would probably have been during his years at Wheeling Central Catholic High School. (Assuming “convention” means “tournament” — it could also mean a gathering of popular wrestlers signing autographs or some other thing.) The distance from Wheeling is great in either direction, however — 650 miles to Duluth, Ga., and 950 miles to Duluth, Minn.
The majority of the 2013 film Best Man Down is set in Lutsen, though none of it was shot north of Forest Lake. In this scene, Duluth is referenced briefly in the dialogue while the Northland’s NewsCenter’s Michelle Lee is on the television in the background.
D. B. Sweeney plays the part of Doug Dorsey, a hockey player from the fictional town of Mayhorn, Minn., which is apparently supposed to be near Duluth. When Sweeney’s career is cut short, he goes back to Minnesota. It is unclear whether he is in Mayhorn or Duluth, but the radio station he listens to broadcasts out of Duluth.
As further illustration of PDD’s ridiculous fascination with any reference to Duluth in popular American culture, here’s a clip from last night’s David Letterman monologue on The Late Show.
It’s probably been dealt with here before, but Richard Dreyfus (as Elliot Garfield) and Quinn Cummings (as Lucy McFadden) have a conversation at the supper table in the 1977 film The Goodbye Girl and have this exchange:
I taught drama at Duluth Junior College.
You taught drama? Far out!
Very far out. It’s up near Canada.
The call went out a week ago, and now, here it is, the opening theme to The Louie Show. Thanks to Waferdog for passing along this essential archival VHS treasure from 1996.
There isn’t really any Duluth footage in the opening, other than the big “Duluth” sweatshirt Louie sports.
Minnesota-born comedian Louie Anderson starred in a CBS sitcom in 1996 that was set in Duluth. It didn’t last long. Six episodes were produced; five were aired. None of the episodes were shot in Duluth, but the opening theme featured Louie in a sweatshirt with “Duluth” across the chest and some transition footage was shot in Duluth. Obviously it is not available on DVD or streaming on Netflix, but thanks to old VHS copies floating around town we’ve been able to pull together excerpts from four episodes (see below).