Friday, January 22, 2010

Fiction Friday: Our Comic Ancestors

Over the years, I've spent a lot of time watching stand-up comedy and comic films, and one thing that interests me is trying to identify the comic forbears of various comedians and comic actors.

For example, Dick Van Dyke was clearly inspired by Stan Laurel. For Alan Alda, it was Groucho Marx.

My own single greatest influence was probably Bob Newhart, from whom I learned the humor of the unsaid.

Last Week's Winners:
The responses to last week's prompt, to finish out one (or more) of a list of 10 "Lists of Three," totally blows away any prompt I've tossed out there before. I got 51 entries from 10 different people, and they're all hilarious.

K of Interstitial Life
Candles, Champagne and Unplanned Pregnancy

What A Card of What A Card:
2) Wynken, Blynken, and that girl with the buggy eyes.
3) Baseball, apple pie, and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.
5) Cats, dogs, and my baby brother
7) (That was the summer I saw) England, France, and Trina Johnson's underpants
9) Recipe for Soup: Celery, carrots, and an old leather shoe

Mr. Knucklehead
of Knucklehead!
1) The butcher, the baker and a syphilitic old Quaker.
2) Wynken, Blynken and Charo.
3) Baseball, apple pie and reality television.
4) Diamonds, emeralds and implants.
5) Cats, dogs and a side of onion rings.
6) Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros and receding hairlines.
7) England, France and a pair of dad's pants.
8) Lawyers, guns and a two-hour shootout would be awesome.
9) Celery, carrots and a chocolate covered Twinkie.
10) Candles, champagne and Sandra Bullock.

Berowne of Savage Reflections:
Baseball, apple pie and -- steroids.

Dedene of Soyez Bienvennue Chez Moi
Wynken, Blinken, and Nicolas Sarkozy. (They're all midgets, right?)

Steven G
1) The butcher, the baker and the undertaker
2) Wynken, Blynken and Helen Keller
3) Baseball, apple pie and Malcom X
4) Diamonds, emeralds and Barney Frank
5) Cats, dogs and Vietnamese food
6) Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros and cash for clunkers
7) England, France and power bidets
8) Lawyers, guns and Moses
9) Celery, carrots and wabbits
10) Candles, champagne and vaseline

of The Paddock
1) The butcher, the baker and my mother??
2) Wynken, Blynken and her brother
3) Baseball, apple pie and deep sea diving
4) Diamonds, emeralds and bus driving
5) Cats, dogs and walnuts
7) England, France and bare butts
9) Celery, carrots and mustard
10) Candles, champagne and busted

Rachel Cotterill of Rachel's Ramblings:
The butcher, the baker, and that unemployed bloke - you know, the one who never quite managed to diversify when the villagers all had enough candlesticks to go around twice.

Ellie Bellen of Distracting Minutia
2) Wynken, Blynken, and the men that loved them.
3) Baseball, apple pie, and a punch in the eye.
5) Cats, dogs, and the people that mate them.
8) Lawyer, guns, and the guillotine

Mrs. Mullet
of Frogs in my Formula

1) The butcher, the baker and Feng Shui Director
2) Wynken, Blynken and Turducken
3) Baseball, apple pie and breast implants
4) Diamonds, emeralds and QVC
5) Cats, dogs and Nutria
6) Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros and mullets
7) England, France and Uranus
8) Lawyers, guns and the Conservatory
9) Celery, carrots and giraffes
10) Candles, champagne and Erik Estrada

This Week's Prompt:
Who is your comic inspiration? Put another way, name your favorite comedian or comic actor and tell me what makes her/him so funny. Feel free to leave a link to a sample of her/his work (which I will promptly steal for Web Wednesday).


  1. I'm a new follower so I didn't know about your Friday linky. Looks like fun! I may join in next week.

    PS Bob Newhart is so very funny. I don't really have one favorite. I grew up watching the Carol Burnette show. Everyone on there was hysterical.

  2. I guess I'm too late to link up, or I'm just doing it wrong.
    Please helllllp meeeeeee.
    {Aw shut up, you cry baby.]
    Who you calling schizo?
    [schizo is the wrong word, jerkoff, you mean multiple personality disasshole]
    I'll give you a multiple right where you live.
    [you want a piece of me? come on, come on]

  3. Some of those are too funny!

  4. I think Bob Newhart was amazing! I read that Dean Martin was an amazing host, who went out of his way to have his guests look good. And the drinking was catually all an act.

  5. I would answer this question by mentioning something interesting. Can you tell, just by watching them on screen, which of the two -- Laurel or Hardy -- was the real director, producer, writer and idea man of the team?

    Because one of them did that important work and the other, though a key part of the couple on the screen, was to a great degree along for the ride.

    I don't believe you can tell, just watching them, but it was Stan Laurel. After a day's shoot, Oliver H. would head for the golf course; Stan L. would go to work: screening dailies, editing, writing, till late at night.

    Laurel and Hardy were mostly Laurel.

  6. Like you, I love Bob Newhart. Lately, I am taken with Wanda Sykes and Ellen Degeneres.

  7. I love so many and they span the decades so I can name over two dozen.

    As a girl, nothing felt more wonderful than hearing my parents laugh until they cried. Kids don't often get to see their parents THAT joyful. So I love Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, and especially Jack Benny for giving me that.

    Comedians are a country's measurement of freedom.

  8. Wow, what a challenge from such a torch bearer as the author. To host a blog with so much enthusiasm and needle sharp wit for over a year now is amazingly inspiring. Humor in life, like the laughing Jesus painting back in the 70's, is such good mojo.

    I've racked my freeze dried brain and remember how the Marx Brothers had me howling. I can simply look at Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, John Cleese, Chevy Chase and I laugh. The writers deserve so much credit. Mel Brooks is a god. But in the grand scheme of things, there is one person who always had my eyes glued to her every movement. Lucille Ball. Her facial expressions, delivery and timing were the purest comedy I have ever seen. I've rolled all the great comedians around in my memory tonight, and Lucille Ball keeps showing as the absolute creme. The writers would give Lucy a platform, and she would always take it far beyond ordinary hilarity. What a gift! And she could do it without speaking a word.

  9. My favourite comedians are Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard. Completely different styles, and I can't imagine what you'd get if you put them in a room together, but they both seem to "get it" by being completely authentic people who just happen to have witty thoughts about the world as it is.

  10. Great information you have provided here. It is very useful to know these things. Any way thanks for posting such a good article. I'll be very grateful if anyone give cheap ferry to france.

  11. Oh darn I had hubby come home in a frenzy and forgot! I like Rachel's- good one!

    A prize I have for you by way of a quiz- what is running, but if one of its ingredients was spread on bread and fell off the cabinet it would land right side up and not make too much of a mess? Well if I said 'what is runny' it would really give it away...I am perfecting something for you...

  12. You're right - they are all great.

  13. One of my all-time favorites is Tracey Ullman. She's a great character actor and so comedic--at a time when women didn't traditionally do comedy. I'm a fan of Steve Martin (his writing is funny too). Robert Francis "Bobcat" Goldthwait made me laugh (in small doses).

    But hands down, Dave Chappelle. Every time. His comedic energy crackled.


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