This Day in Death

2.12.14: Comedy Legend Sid Caesar – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:48 am February 17, 2014

SID_CAESARI don’t care if you’re a comedy icon, I’m not taking you seriously until you fix that hat.


Sid Caesar, the legendary comedian behind the massively influential Your Show of Shows, has died at the age of 91. Your Show of Shows aired on Saturday nights during the 1950s, and featured 90 minutes of live comedy every week. It was a lot like Saturday Night Live, except that if a sketch went on for seven minutes they’d usually opt to throw a second joke in there at some point.

Despite his success, by the age of 30 Caesar was a self-hating, pill-popping, alcoholic mess, because apparently a lot of comedy types are actually just using humor to mask their deep, personal demons. Not me, though. I’m zen as a Chinese dentist over here. It’s all about facing your troubles before they get out of control. For instance, I used to get bullied every day in high school, probably for being so handsome and likeable that I intimidated the entire football team. Plus, some of the other kids didn’t realize that when girls would spit on me it wasn’t out of disgust, but rather because they’d start drooling in my presence and needed to eject the excess saliva immediately. It’s a perfectly healthy physiological reaction, but you try getting a bunch of teenagers to understand the nuts and bolts of how oral hygiene works. Anyway, that kind of trauma could really mess somebody up, but years later I learned to cope with it by following high school students home and beating them with a potato sack full of D batteries in their sleep. Sometimes I’d even try to mix in some comedy for them by saying things like, “Tell your parents it was assault and… BATTERY!” Although to be honest I bet they rarely ever do it. Kids just don’t respond to puns nowadays.

“If you want to find the ur-texts of ‘The Producers’ and ‘Blazing Saddles,’ of ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Annie Hall,’ of ‘All in the Family’ and ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Saturday Night Live,’ “ Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times when he was its chief theater critic, “check out the old kinescopes of Sid Caesar.”

Oh, I’m sure they’re great, but you’d have to have suffered some kind of potato sack-induced brain trauma if you think I’m gonna go track down kinescope recordings in 2014. I give up on trying to YouTube something if the autocomplete doesn’t know what I’m looking for by the time I’ve entered the first five characters, there’s no way I’m gonna try to figure out how to load giant reels of hyper-fragile film into the kind of medieval machinery they made the first Iron Man suit out of. Hell, I’m not even sure where I’d find that stuff. If I had to guess I’d say Detroit public school classrooms, but I believe all the roads into Michigan are pretty firmly under the control of merciless warlords by now.

Source: The NY Times

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