in Biography, Theater

On Being Stallion Cornell

The name “Stallion Cornell” requires some explanation as I launch my own eponymous blog.

It’s not my real name. It’s also not my “porn star” name, a la George Costanza’s “Buck Naked.” It’s just a name that I thought sounded funny, but it’s taken on a life of its own.

It all began in the mid-eighties, when I was in a weird little show in LA the summer before my senior year in high school. I was the narrator for said show, and my written script was fairly fluid. I therefore introduced myself with a different stage name every evening, and “Stallion Cornell” was the one that got the biggest laugh.

After graduating from high school, I took a creative writing class during my freshman year at the University of Southern California. The conceit of the class was that each of us would fulfill a weekly assignment, and the teacher would “publish” the best entries in a packet she would distribute to all the students for discussion. One week, I wrote an assigned poem under my own name and then, on a whim, wrote a second poem and attributed it to “Stallion Cornell.” It was a love poem to a sheep. It got a much better response than my other poem did. Since then, Stallion has been my alter ego of choice.

I was a theatre major at USC, and, as such, it was my duty to dig up a string of monologues for class assignments, and, invariably, the same monologues kept being recycled, and I can only take so much Christopher Durang. So I started writing my own and, to be sure that I was being judged on my acting and not my writing, I attributed them to a fictional author, the good Mr. Cornell. (I sometimes changed the first name to “Sam,” just to be safe. But Stallion would not be denied. Sam’s day is done, and I mourn him not. )

These monologues got goofier and goofier, and they usually involved bizarre situations with really loud people. The first of these, which included all manner of shrieking punctuated by the phrase “I’d offer you a biscuit first, but I don’t like you very much,” still remains my favorite, although the one where a guy rips out his own heart and smothers it in mustard remains a close second.

Perhaps the highlight of my university education came when a classmate and I wrote and assembled several of these monologues for a one-night-only performance of “An Evening with Stallion Cornell” at USC’s Bing Theatre. Great actors performing truly stupid monologues is a joy forever. And this guy’s performance, which involved ripping out a heart/KFC chicken sandwich from his chest and proceeded to pour ketchup all over it and eat it, still makes me laugh every time I think about it. (He was supposed to use mustard, but I freely forgave the departure from the script.)

Stallion followed me through my checkered theatrical career, as I went on to manage a small theatre in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I always got Stallion’s name somewhere in to the program – once he was billed as “psychic nutritionist,” a title I stole from “Superman III.” But Stallion got his big break at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Southern Utah, where I was commissioned to rewrite the musical extravaganza “Utah!” to make sure that it didn’t offend anybody. The end result proved to be less than spectacular, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing thousands of playbills printed with the credit “Revised book by Stallion Cornell” printed on the cover.

Stallion is also my online presence at several Battlestar Galactica discussion boards, including my own, Stallion Cornell’s Moist Board, hosted at this very site. Again, many have asked what “Moist” means, and some have inferred a prurient sensibility thereto, but it’s just a word I think is funny. (And, deep in your heart of hearts, you think it’s funny, too.) Online Stallion also has an arch-enemy – Languatron, a lunatic who thinks all who disagree with him are being bought off by Universal Studios executives. It seems that the Internet is a silly place, indeed, but you already know that, seeing as how you’re still reading this dreck.

Stallion lives on. I’ve written an unproduced screenplay titled “Stallion Cornell,” an Oxford-was-Shakespeare historical play, and many other stories plays and ditties attributed to Mr. Cornell, including “The Ballad of Stallion Cornell,” which I seldom perform unaltered in public since it callously mocks fat people and has the word “slut” in it. I’ve written many songs since, but that was the first song I ever wrote on the guitar.

(I can soften the fat references and replace “slut” with “nut,” but it’s just not the same.)

Hey, Rove! Divide This!

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17 Comments

  1. Stallion Cornell does sound like a porn name and for that matter so does Jackson Hole.I still want to know the truth behind RGrant.The body is buried with poor Sam Cornell.You can’t hide the truth Cornell. You’ll rue the very day you started this blog!Sincerely,PeterP.S. Seems like a retelling (not reimagining) of your trip to Universal Studios would be a good one for the blog.

  2. The Universal story must be told, Peter. And I could be Jude the Obscure with a little more gel. And I think Yul is groovy. Is that so wrong?

  3. Hi Jim,I think you may be out of town, but I was wondering if you could give me a call when you have a minute. Ben Driggs (Aspen Grove). 801-947-3053. Thanks!

  4. Stallion Cornell was a sad, lonely fella. Who lived all alone on the isle of Patella, and spent all his time trying to make some vanilla ice cream, out of coconut milk.” And there were lots of other rather candid lyrics as well.And I remember a guitar, an old U of U letterman’s sweater (for debate, I assume), and a high school assembly where candidates for Sr. Class President could say (and sing and dance) whatever they wished.Or maybe that was the searing anthem entitled “Color Your Dreams?”

  5. I didn’t sing on that occasion, as I recall. I didn’t write the Ballad of Stallion Cornell until my freshman year at USC.Color Your Dreams made its debut at the Homecoming Pep Rally.

  6. Yeah… on a re-reading, I think I crossed up a few episodes. But I neglected to mention the seminal moment of your HS performance art career. I seem to remember a school lip-sync contest, a way-too-small purple unitard with little (if any) undergarments, the lyrics “If you start me up!”, and a frantic school official turning off the house lights midway through the performance when the top half of the unitard came down. I never screamed so loud my entire life as that night.

Webmentions

  • Announcing Retro Friday | Stallion Cornell October 10, 2007

    […] ON BEING STALLION CORNELL – posted August 15, 2007 My blogging debut, complete with the story of the origin of the name “Stallion Cornell,” with a secondary explanation of the since-abandoned “moist” subtitle. Also updated a broken link about the whereabouts of Jovan Rameau. […]

  • Moist No More? | Stallion Cornell's Blog Previously Known As Moist October 10, 2007

    […] I don’t think I could part with the Stallion Cornell pseudonym. In my very first blog post, I recounted the name’s origins, although, looking back on my explanation, I left a few things out, such as the Senior Yearbook Quote […]