Sunday, October 18, 2015

Top Five: Why Richard Simmons is Awesome

So the first request of our First Annual APLV Reader Poll was for more Richard Simmons, but Simmons is a man–nay, a presence–we should have discussed long ago. Mea culpa! Inimitable, indomitable, occasionally incomprehensible, Simmons is a pop culture phenomena of epic, decades-long proportions. Pop stars and their ephemeral tunes have come and gone, politicians linger past their prime, actors fade into obscurity, but Richard remains. It's not hard to understand why, though.

5. He's Powered by a Fusion Reactor

I teach, but anyone with a performative bent to his job–actors, musicians, courtroom lawyers–knows that performance is exhausting. So is engaging large audiences. As a teacher, I find that I simply must have more energy than the rest of the class combined. You need to project volume, yes, but most of all enthusiasm. Simmons one-ups us all by, beyond engaging big audiences, engaging them with strenuous, nonstop exercise. He just doesn't stop. There's no chance to lose focus or be diverted. He's just pouring out energy and drawing everyone in like a tie-dyed, calorie-burning vortex enthusiasm.

4. He's Positive

Everybody has a shtick. There are the macho trainers, who help you get huge. There are the sculptors, who want you to get sexy. Then come the tough guys, who break you down. Richards is pure positive energy, attached, fascinatingly, to nothing. It's just all good juju. You can apply it however you want. It's like plugging yourself into raw, limitless, positivity.

3. I Don't Know Any of His Opinions

Nowadays no actor is just an actor, singer just a singer, or anybody just a professional doing a job. Everyone needs to be an activist, especially a liberal one. Everyone needs to come out in support of some cause or injustice. I don't know what Richard thinks about anything, though, except exercise. Like all people, I'm sure he's had struggles and I'm sure he has opinions, but they're not part of his job. He wants people to be healthy and exercise. That's it.

Is this the face of a liberal? Conservative? Platonist? Sandinista? Trekkie? Or is he just a man passionate about balloons and exercise? Do we care?

2. He Works Hard

For a guy who could sit back and coast on royalties from decades of exercise videos, this man works. On the radio, on his website, workout videos, books, public appearances–it's madness! He's a one-man industry.

1. He's Hilarious

I can't add anything to this. Not. One. Thing.


He was allegedly in, of all movies, Fellini Satyricon.

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