It Came From the Delete Bin: Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses?

Can I Do It...Til I Need Glasses?The way I write articles for this site is ridiculous sometimes. When I compiled clips from Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? for this article about three months ago, I hadn’t yet learned that CodeRed was giving this film a May DVD release. Now my Media Home Entertainment VHS is obsolete. I know, declaring now that VHS is obsolete, I’m such a card.

Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? is the sequel to If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!!, both films having thrown their diaphragms into the sketch-comedy film sweepstakes of the 1970s. This trend spawned Kentucky Fried Movie, Loose Shoes, The Groove Tube and Tunnelvision, but Can I Do It… almost seems like a film from a different era. Basically, it’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In with added naked ladies. Oh, and dirty jokes. This film aims for the highbrow.

Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? starts with a man in a bird suit initiating sex with a woman, I assume. The VHS tape starts the film in progress as early-1980s videotapes often do, so I’m lost as to what the bird suit signifies. Once the audience gets warmed up for Best Burlesque Jokes of 1928, it’s time for the opening credits and the catchy theme song. The theme is two-and-a-half minutes long, since Can I Do It… is 73 minutes long and time needs to be filled somewhere.

“Story Lady with Aunt Gloria” features the story of Little Red Riding Hood, who is pursued by a wolf as expected. The wolf announces that he’s going to eat her, and you can figure out the rest.

This is actually one of the better jokes Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? dramatizes. It’s either a good or bad thing depending on one’s tolerance to burlesque humour. Frankly, Can I Do It… blew its load by featuring one of its best jokes this early in the film.

The best directed comedy in the history of motion picturesDid you know Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? features parodies? Here’s The Lone Stranger and Pronto to prove it to you. The Lone Stranger gets bit on the trouser snake by a rattlesnake. Pronto runs like wind to doctor (all natives in this film speak broken English, it heap established cliché) only to find out that he must suck poison from wound.

If you believe the IMDb comments, there are three “Lone Stranger and Pronto” segments, two of them ending in the same punchline and the third ending with the Lone Stranger’s bandaged dick out of his pants. Long time, many moons, noooo choctaw.

A standard frog prince, cursed by the Wicked Witch of Encino, convinces a woman to kiss him. The kisses don’t help lift the curse, and it’d spoil the joke to reveal what the frog prince really wants.

The frog wears a collar and bow tie, since that is what all frog princes wear in their amphibian forms. He also claims to live on a beach eating flies, although he’s roughly human-sized and capable of turning on stupid women. Seems to me like the frog is playing a confidence game. Dirty, dirty frog.

Can I Do It…‘s main claim to fame is that it featured Robin Williams before he became famous for both Mork & Mindy and his cocaine-fueled comedy act. Williams appeared on the Laugh-In revival around this time, but no one counts that. Williams’ footage didn’t make the cut the first time around, but fame has a funny way of causing people to cash in on a trend.

Williams doesn’t do much in this film, certainly not enough that he needs glasses or is in danger of going blind. This sketch has him in a courtroom questioning “Mrs. Frisby.” Turns out Mrs. Frisby is just a sex fiend and not a widowed field mouse with a pneumonia-stricken son, so it’s not much of a joke. For this and another sketch, Williams received priority billing when Can I Do It… was re-released in 1979.

A native American warrior named Chief Bowels (of the Farkakte Indians, since all natives are Jewish) is being evicted from his all-weather teepee, but Bowels doesn’t want to evacuate his ancestral home. If you think it’s a spoiler that this leads to “Bowels No Move” jokes, you’re just fooling yourself. This is the sort of joke that Jackie Martling tells in about thirty seconds, laughs to himself about, and then abandons for a Dirty Johnny joke.

More Robin Williams. Here the joke is that a gynecologist hangs a tooth over his office door. Williams plays the guy mistaking him for a dentist. If these were the only two scenes Williams appeared in, what was the point of wasting him like this? Even the end-of-joke music stings suck! What gives?

Here’s a joke that I think Jackie Martling “stole” (as if it’s possible to steal generic dirty jokes in the first place) for 1984’s The Only Dirty Joke Book. Compare the clip to Jackie the Joke Man’s version:

See what Martling does? He doesn’t belabor the point. The punchline is tighter and Martling actually admits how shitty the joke is. He also throws in Paul Reiser and Andrew “Dice” Clay references, which for 1984 is rather prescient. He improves on the joke. This is one of the worse jokes in Martling’s book, which should say something.

Another “Story Lady with Aunt Gloria” segment features Irving the sperm’s bid to enter the egg and become a baby. The sperm trains harder than anyone, focusing on his goal. The ending is trite – his efforts were wasted on a blowjob, so the best Irving could hope for is to become a mouth baby. The build-up to the joke is better than usual, though.

I imagine I come across as hating the hell out of Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? I don’t. Compared to, say, the average Andy Milligan film, Can I Do It… knows what it is and what goals it wants to reach. It’s just that I’m familiar with Jackie Martling – not that I’m a fanboy, I just prefer his retelling of dirty jokes to this film. In lieu of a proper ending to this article or me Ctrl-C and Ctrl-Ving “HOWARD STERN’S PENIS BABA BOOEY” thirty times, here’s more F. Jackie at work. Enjoy!

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer