Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category
Robin Williams has a very nice piece in the NY Times on Jonathan Winters:
My father’s laughter introduced me to the comedy of Jonathan Winters. My dad was a sweet man, but not an easy laugh. We were watching Jack Paar on “The Tonight Show” on our black-and-white television, and on came Jonathan in a pith helmet.
“Who are you?” Paar asked.
“I’m a great white hunter,” Jonathan said in an effete voice. “I hunt mainly squirrels.”
“How do you do that?”
“I aim for their little nuts.”
My dad and I lost it. Seeing my father laugh like that made me think, “Who is this guy and what’s he on?”
A short time later, Jonathan was on Paar again. This time Jack handed him a stick, and what happened next was extraordinary. Jon did a four-minute freestyle riff in which that stick became a fishing rod, a spear, a giant beetle antenna, even Bing Crosby’s golf club complete with song. Each transformation was a cameo with characters and sound effects. He was performing comedic alchemy. The world was his laboratory. I was hooked.
Not only was Jonathan funny on TV, but his comedy albums are also auditory bliss. One of my favorite routines involved a mad scientist who sounded like Boris Karloff. But instead of creating a Frankenstein, he made thousands of little men that he unleashed on the world. His shocked assistant cried out, “What are they looking for?”
The professor replied, “Little women, you fool.”
He also created comic characters like Maude Frickert and the overgrown child Chester Honeyhugger. In one classic pre-P.C.-era routine, he had Maude being molested by a huge farmhand. She protested, “Stop, I’m church people.” After he had his way, he was off to do his chores, and she called out, “Don’t be long.”
Mort Sahl said Jonathan was seen as a great improviser, but to him he was just being himself. . .
David Brooks has a good column today:
The purpose of the Republican convention is to introduce America to the real Mitt Romney. Fortunately, I have spent hours researching this subject. I can provide you with the definitive biography and a unique look into the Byronic soul of the Republican nominee:
Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947, in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Virginia and several other swing states. He emerged, hair first, believing in America, and especially its national parks. He was given the name Mitt, after the Roman god of mutual funds, and launched into the world with the lofty expectation that he would someday become the Arrow shirt man.
Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal.
Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil. He had several boyhood friends, many of whom owned Nascar franchises, and excelled at school, where his fourth-grade project, “Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known,” was widely admired.
The Romneys had a special family tradition. . .
I’ve been watching a bunch of comedies from the 1930s, and unfortunately many have not aged well: too slow-paced, gags not funny, timing off. But now I’m watching one as crisp as a new dollar bill: I Love You Again, with William Powell and Myrna Loy. Absolutely terrific. Recommended. It even cheered me up.
I have realized that the 24 BBC Goon Show CDs that I have (96 complete radio programs), plus an additional CD/booklet on Spike Milligan and his career, are not really of much interest to children and grandchildren, lovely though they were to me in my youth—I listened regularly to rebroadcasts in the mid-to-late 60′s. Wonderful shows with Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, and announcer Wallace Greenslade, and always with two musical interludes, the first by the fabulous jazz harmonicist Max Geldray and the second by the swinging Ray Ellington Quartet (both of whom would occasionally take parts in the skits), together with the BBC Band led by Wally Stott. So today I put them on Craigslist.
Time to move some stuff out of here. So you know why I like these so much, here’s one performance by Geldray from one show:
And here’s an excellent article on Geldray.
The guys at Wicked_Edge have been having some fun with the new Schick Hydro® 5 Power Select™’s “easy-to-read LED screen [that] communicates visually to clearly distinguish which vibration level is in use” (full specifications).
tommij points out this:
You know you’re getting rather deep into shaving when you start enjoying shaving comedy.
Many episodes available on CD from the BBC. (It was a radio program… )
I mentioned Beyond the Fringe. Here is a sample.
Very sorry about the lack of embedding, but it’s as good a way as any to provide a link. This one goes out to LMC:
Just came across again and enjoyed once more—as the commenter on Wicked_Edge states, the thing that makes this is the parceling out of tasks among the various blades:
I just watched the first episode of Season 3 of Yes, Minister, “Equal Opportunities” via Amazon Prime (free streaming video). It’s pretty easy to find: I just moved to the “TV Series” menu item, which lets you pick “Genre” and “Comedy” seems to be exclusively British comedies—at least that’s all I saw. Different seasons of the same series appear randomly, so you have to browse. But I bet there’s a search.
I hadn’t realized that this series was pretty much an instruction manual in the economic and political theories of the Thatcherites, but once I saw the YouTube video on that, it’s obvious when you watch the episodes. But damn! they’re funny.
Two series, no longer produced, but available in their entirety and well worth watching—indeed, well worth purchasing, since you (or at any rate, I) can watch them over and over with enjoyment. And both Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are available for instant view on Amazon—free to Amazon Prime members.
If you do watch instantly, be careful to start with the first season and watch the episodes in sequence: the plots build on what has happened earlier in the series. Four seasons are available for Yes, Minister, but only two for Yes, Prime Minister, though I was sure that had more seasons. Maybe the full collection is available only on DVD.
These two series, though excellent comedies, are as instructive about politics as another comic show, Jon Stewart’s.
Here’s a sample from the first series, “Yes, Minister”:
Jake Johannsen. Watch a little and see what you think.
I just discovered Corner Gas, a sit-com set in a tiny town in the middle of Saskatchewan. If your sense of humor is anything like mine: DO NOT MISS! It’s absolutely terrific. Unlike the majority of sit-coms that I’ve seen, it does not move in a little clatter of wisecracks and one-liners. Instead, it takes its time to set up a real honest laugh-out-loud belly laugh, several in each episode. Some misfire, but most are right on the mark. True a great series. I’m finishing the first season (just two DVDs), and have three more seasons to watch, by which time I hope Season 5 is out on DVD.