For the first Picture Of The Day of 2021, let’s start with something that has nothing to do with current events, but should put a smile on your face.

I think the first time I saw Gary Mule Deer was on the syndicated “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert,” a weekly series that started airing in 1973. Or maybe it was on NBC’s “The Midnight Special,” a similar show from the same era. He also made lots and lots of appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” “The Gong Show,” “Make Me Laugh,” “An Evening At The Improv,” “Merv Griffin,” and the very first HBO standup special (along with Jay Leno). Since he and David Letterman knew each other from their years at the Comedy Store, he was invited to work on “Late Night” and “Late Show” several times, too.

Mule Deer always made me laugh because of the way he delivered his corny jokes, making them sound as if he was telling them for the first time. He also did a bit in which he duct-taped a rubber chicken to the microphone stand, put a cigarette in its mouth, then knocked it out with an arrow fired from the strings of his acoustic guitar. That always put me on the floor in my high school years.

He was probably still doing that routine last year, when he toured as the opening act for Johnny Mathis, who at the time would have been 84 years old. Mule Deer, meanwhile, was a relative kid at age 80. He was also supposed to open for Steve Miller here in St. Louis in the summer of 2020, but that gig and tour were canceled due to COVID-19.

This clip of Gary Mule Deer is from an appearance on “CabaRay TV,” a show Ray Stevens (also a spry 80) has done from his dinner theatre in Nashville for many years…