The Spider Monkey Routine
Every now and then we run into something so peculiar we have to
stop and ask ourselves "is someone pulling my leg?" "Is this
really true?" This happened to me recently at a small family
gathering, when a particularly odd phrase came to my attention.
My sister had just gotten married and we were sitting around the
living room, getting to know her husband, Jack. He was talking
about sports and sports trivia and he made a passing reference
to something called "The Spider Monkey Routine." He continued
telling his story, but I was no longer listening. These four
words slowly worked their way to the part of my brain that yells
"wait... what the heck did he just say?"
I had to stop him as soon as it seemed a polite enough time to
do so (see: right away). "'Spider Monkey Routine?' What's 'The
Spider Monkey Routine?'" He stopped and turned to my direction
and said "Oh, you know. The 'Spider Monkey Routine.'" I'm not
sure why he felt this was an acceptable response. It's not like
we were discussing television or breathing for crying out loud.
This was "The Spider Monkey Routine!" What could that possibly
mean?! Luckily my entire family was also puzzled. So Jack began
He claimed that Brian Billick, the current coach of the
Baltimore Ravens football team, was once a contestant on "The
Gong Show" in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He said that his
talent was something called "The Spider Monkey Routine," which
has since gone on to be sort of an underground joke in the NFL.
I will admit, I was still a little confused, but then Jack went
on to describe the routine itself.
According to him, Billick, clad in a furry, thumb-less monkey
suit began to wave his arms in the air while screaming "Waa
wooo! Monkey, monkey, monkey! Waa wooo! Monkey, monkey, monkey!"
This continued for what seemed like an eternity, but was only
about twenty-five seconds. Needless to say, he was 'gonged' and
left the stage in shame. Judge Jamie Farr described the scene as
a train wreck you couldn't look away from because there was an
idiot dressed as a monkey screaming in front of it.
This sounded downright hilarious and frankly, too weird to be
made up on the spot. But I had my doubts. So later at home, I
did some research, hoping to find more information, pictures,
and maybe (dare I hope) video. Thanks to a few search engines, I
found out that Brian Billick was on "Match Game" in the 1970s.
But that show doesn't give it's contestants the opportunity to
dress up as "spider monkeys," let alone scream and dance.
I then googled "Brian Billick Spider Monkey." And to my surprise
it pointed me right in the direction of Wikipedia (a free, user
maintained encyclopedia). Under the Brian Billick entry there
was a small bit of trivia. "A young Billick was a contestant on
the game show Match Game in 1977. Billick later appeared on The
Gong Show in 1980, where he performed his famous "Spider Monkey"
routine." Not only did this small sentence give my search hope,
it referred to the routine as "famous!"
Unfortunately, this glimmer of hope was also as far as my search
would go. To this day, I have not found anymore information
about the alleged "Spider Monkey Routine." I am hoping someone
out there can help shed some more light on this subject. Is it
real? Is it "famous?" Please email any
information/pictures/videos you may have to
email@example.com. Until then, waa wooo! Monkey,
monkey, monkey, my friends. Waa wooo! Monkey, monkey, monkey.