As it happened, when Martin was doing stand-up comedy on stage, he always had a single line in his back pocket that he would use to win back an audience he had found lost. This comedy “spare” was enough to get “Asshole” rolling.
In the opening of “Scum”, Navin finds himself living with his adopted family, Black sharecroppers, who feel they never have to explain the white Navin’s adopted status to him. However, Navin is so unsympathetic that he always assumes he’s Black. Joking about racial stereotypes, Navin’s family has a great musical rhythm, while Navin does not. He doesn’t realize he really can keep up with the music until he hears a Lawrence Welk-ready, soft version of “Crazy Rhythm” from the 1928 musical “Here’s Howe.” Bland, boring “white man” music.
This entire intro sequence was entirely inspired by Martin’s “dry run” standup line. As Gottlieb said, the process was blocked until Martin recovered something. He begins:
“I had no idea. We used to sit there every day. We had a nice little office on the Paramount estate with writers with a few new pens and yellow pads, and every morning we’d go to work and look at each other and say, ‘Well, well…’ And then a few Weeks passed and we had nothing.”