Today was a sad day. Viva has died.
If you spent time flipping channels in MN from the 90’s until just 3 years ago, odds are good you landed once or twice on MTN, the cable access channel locally, and introduced yourself to Viva and Jerry.
I could never put my finger on why Viva and Jerry broke through in the seemingly bottomless well of cable access shows that came and went on MTN, but now, I feel like I get it. Viva and Jerry had a genuine zest for life, a playfulness, that even in the 90’s (which were, oddly, a simpler time) was completely refreshing. Viva loved her “spoofs” – taking everyday items and making them into something funnier. Jerry loved his Country music, and Viva. Most importantly he loved Viva. And watching them do their thing, whatever that thing was, was a joy. You never knew what was going to happen, and their unpredictability and happy humor were a welcome distraction to whatever life was dishing up.
Wednesday night, Viva died of a massive stroke. She was just 79. A celebration of her life will take place Saturday at the Cardinal Bar in South Minneapolis, where she and Jerry first met, and fell in love.
In the early 2000s, I was having a garage sale at my own South Minneapolis home, and Viva showed up. I fangirled so hard, you would have thought that Zac Efron had dropped by. She was an absolute delight. And in the intervening years since that date, whenever Viva and Jerry have come up in conversation, I have laid that little story out on the table as though I was touched by greatness on that Fall Thursday afternoon. Because I was.
Rest in peace, Viva.