Buddy Rubbish


Louis G. Roscher (1952 - 2008)

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die just as it does not cease to be serious when people laugh" - George Bernard Shaw

Lou Roscher - known by the stage name “Buddy Rubbish” throughout the known world (and some parts of New Jersey) - radio disc jockey, comedy impresario, and stage performer, died (or use your own euphemism) from complications after emergency heart surgery on Friday, April 11. He was 56 (roughly 8 dog years). Since Buddy had perfect timing, he must have known something we don't know. A vast circle of friends, fans and irate creditors are mourning his passing. In retrospect, he would likely be extremely annoyed at not having written his own obituary.

Born and raised on Long Island, Buddy took a circuitous path to his final home in Turners Falls. A natural raconteur, he peddled frozen shrimp on the side of the road, tended bar from Florida to New Hampshire, organized shows, worked at several radio stations, and performed wherever and whenever he could, occasionally leaving common sense by the wayside. Through the decades he hosted comedy and musical events, put on benefits (his generosity is well known), cobbled together video presentations, wrote for a number of publications, played chess with opponents in local clubs and online around the world, and was one of the stalwarts of the Northampton Arts Council’s Transperformance series, appearing as everyone from Yogi Berra to Joan Baez. Though, oddly, never as Madonna.

Buddy (then in the guise of Lou) came to the Pioneer Valley in the late 1970s via the Renaissance Community. Soon after, he and his partner, Virginia Simpson, opened The Separate Entrance, a local watering hole, in South Deerfield. After being mentored in comedy by the mild mannered Ed Vadas, he started The Comedy Crunch, which provided a springboard for many standup comics and musicians. After leaving the Hot-L, The Comedy Crunch moved to the Iron Horse, where it provided the Pioneer Valley with many more years of uproarious and often embarrassing open mic comedy.

In 1984, the comedy/music duo of Buddy Rubbish and Bobby Darling (area musician Joe Lada) began broadcasting the Oldie Show on WRSI, then in Greenfield. Their program was a three-ring circus of entertainment, being unable to fit a fourth ring into the studio due to physical constraints. Well-versed in popular and esoteric music of the 1950s and 60s, they presented an eclectic mix of well-known and obscure songs, accompanied by pre-recorded and live comedy bits. The centerpiece of the show was the second-floor Drive-Up Window on the alley dubbed “Memory Lane” (the name actually written by Buddy's attorney, Sandy Staub). Requests were taken from honking motorists in the alley, and prizes (records, candy, “genuine Mohawk Dum-dum Arrowheads” [a/k/a, rocks], along with other odd paraphernalia) were lowered down to grateful and often-inebriated fans. The show ran for many years until Buddy took over the morning show on the station. He later worked on WRNX, WGAM, and WPVQ.

After his illustrious radio career, he returned to bartending in many valley bars and restaurants. While never likely to win the “employee of the month” award (see Red Sox below), he was a master behind the bar; making new acquaintances, entertaining patrons, and always ready to dispense a “generous pour” when friends stopped by.

It is almost 20 years since Buddy scored an invitation to travel with one-time Yankees manager Stump Merrill and a slew of American ballplayers to teach baseball to the Russians. There is conjecture that this trip led to the ultimate breakup of the Soviet Union.

Buddy went to Woodstock, got there late, and left after one act.

Often overlooked and forgotten (for obvious reasons to those who heard them), he was lead singer for the (thankfully) ephemeral Buddy Rubbish and the Deertones.

Buddy was an important contributor to the seminal cartoon-and-humor magazine Scat, based in Northampton. He hoped to take Scat to a national audience, but his overtures were rebuffed. He later learned that they were never buffed in the first place.

Though raised on the Mets, Buddy became as passionate a Red Sox fan as any Boston Townie. Let it be known that he never let work interfere with his love for the game. He was also an ever-enthusiastic fan of the New England Patriots, describing himself as “numb” after the recent Super Bowl loss.

Buddy was an avid herbalist.

One of Buddy’s enduring hopes was that his birthday, January 23, 1952, would become a national holiday, or at least a recognizable occasion, like National Petulance Day. He ultimately conceded that at his death he would be satisfied to have all city buses draped in black bunting.

Although Buddy was a talented improvisor, song and comedy writer, and spontaneous wit, his greatest creations were his beloved children: Jackson Louis (8) and Lily Eloise Roscher (6). We would be remiss here to not include his co-producer, Ellen DeBruyn, without whom the production would have been unmanageable.

Buddy’s parents and sister predeceased him, as did his famous sketch character Billy the Bat.

In lieu of memorial services, raucous celebrations of Buddy’s life will be held on Sunday, May 18, 6pm at the Northampton Center For The Arts.

Donations may be made to Buddy's Kids at any of the 18 PeoplesBank branches in the Valley.

Written by Bobby Darling, Leo T. Baldwin and Mike Chrisman