"Stay Down Here Where You Belong"


The Dick Cavett Show "Comic Legends" DVD box set includes an episode from 1971 that featured Groucho Marx. On the show, Groucho sings the poignant antiwar song "Stay Down Here Where You Belong", which Irving Berlin wrote in 1914, after the start of the Great War:

Down below
Down Below
Sat the devil talking to his son
Who wanted to go
Up above
Up above
He cried, "It's getting too warm for me down here and so
I'm going up on Earth where I can have a little fun
The Devil simply shook his head and answered his son

Stay down here where you belong
The folks who live above you don't know right from wrong

To please their kings they've all gone out to war
And not a one of them knows what he's fighting for

'Way up above they say that I'm a Devil and I'm bad
Kings up there are bigger devils than your dad

They're breaking the hearts of mothers
Making butchers out of brothers
You'll find more hell up there than there is down below
After singing the song, he compared its message to the pointless and endless war that was then being fought in Vietnam. Later in the same show, he made snide comments about both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and their respective responsibilities for the dead and wounded of that war.

Thirty-six years have passed since that show was aired. And some things just don't seem to change. We still have pointless wars, and presidents who start them.