Tag Archives: Woody Allen

Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks!

I was flipping channels and caught the end of the Get Smart movie starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, and while it was mildly entertaining, I couldn’t help think how it paled in comparison to the brilliantly written series.

Of course, I can watch that whenever I want – a majestic box set.

And it made me miss Mel Brooks. Yes, I know he’s alive, and a spry 85 at that (pickles are nutritious, you know). But Woody Allen keeps spitting out films at a rapid pace, occasionally hitting the high marks again. But he’s long since given up zany comedy. Most of today’s comedy films are so broad and cliché that they quickly fade from memory. But the world of today is a crazy, insane place. We need crazy, insane comedy.

We need Mel Brooks now more than ever. I know he has lost so many of his reliable company; Harvey Korman, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, Rudy DeLuca, Madeline Kahn, Ron Carey and Kenneth Mars have all left this mortal coil.

But as Mel himself would say, “we have much to do and less time to do it in.”

Happy Birthday, Mel! Now get busy

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Editorials, Film/TV

December – Blog Snow and Recaps

You might have noticed a couple of subtle changes to the blog format today.

First, the overall theme was slightly revised to use a clearer, crisper font. I was perfectly happy with the old one, which has served me well for 698 daily posts. But WordPress was phasing it out and substituting this revised one effective today; since I didn’t see another I preferred, I figured I’d roll with the punches.

The second is a favorite of WordPress bloggers – snow! I’m also happy this is back, because with my border image it looks more like atomic fallout.

This is also the time where I start to circle back and look at some of the television shows, films, music and comedy releases that peppered 2010. My “best of” lists post in January, but I’ll try to use this month to call out several that were not specifically covered on the Prescription. Many times that third listen is the charm, and there is a pile to still wade through for the first time.

Hope you enjoy following along.

And Happy Birthday, Woody Allen!

Woody turns seventy-five today and is still going strong (two films in progress as we speak), although his recent track record can’t match profile of his majestic run in the 70s and 80s. But whose can? His work as a comedy writer alone makes him first-string on the all time team. Despite the oddities surrounding his personal life, he has to be rated as one of the greatest filmmakers in history.

Woody’s Wiki page  includes an interesting collaborator chart.

Leave a comment

Filed under Editorials

T.G.I.F. – Gene Wilder Edition

Who doesn’t love Gene Wilder?

I smile every time that commercial airs on television where Gene’s wonderful voice croons a line from “Pure Imagination” from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I don’t even remember the product (nor would I pimp it here if I did) but I tip my cap to their choice of material. Actor, writer, director, producer…Gene Wilder has given the world many laughs.

How would you like to start your film career in Bonnie and Clyde and then star in The Producers as your second effort? Or within a few short years, star in the iconic Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles and go toe-to-toe with the manic Richard Pryor? (Ironically Pryor was supposed play sheriff Bart opposite Wilder’s Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles – the part went to Cleavon Little, who the studio thought was a “safer risk”)?

Wilder’s film career all but stopped after the death of Gilda Radner in 1989, and in fact didn’t make as many films as you’d probably expect. But he sure had a high percentage of winners.

So Happy Birthday, Gene Wilder. These are ten of my favorite moments you’ve given me from a wealth of great performances.:

The Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles – “You can’t hold a gun let alone shoot one!”

Eugene in Bonnie and Clyde – “I’m gonna tear them apart! Those punks!”

George Caldwell in Silver Streak – “I can’t pass for black!!

Dr. Ross in Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex – “If I could see Daisy alone…”

Victor Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein – “Putting on the Ritz

Skip Donahue in Stir Crazy – “We don’t take…no shit. That’s right. No shit!”

Dave Lyons in See No Evil Hear No Evil – “YOU…are a dumb idiot!”

Willie Wonka – “Pure Imagination

Claude and PhillipeStart The Revolution Without Me – “Crazy? I’ll show you crazy!

Leo Bloom in The Producers – “I’m wet! I’m hysterical and I’m wet!”

Gilda’s Club

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV, Music

Stand Up Wit…David Feldman

David Feldman is an award-winning television comedy writer who, despite that success, toiled behind the scenes for years before doing his own material onstage on a regular basis. And when the stand-up appearances were successful, it still took him almost the entire decade to release his first comedy album. Hopefully Left Without Paying will generate enough buzz to prompt him to jumpstart the pace a little bit; I’d like much more from him before I punch my ticket off this mortal coil.

Feldman is pretty old school in his delivery, he enunciates dramatically with a slow and clear cadence. It’s as if a more hyper monologue-centric comedian was slowed down; imagine Rodney Dangerfield not sweating and using a bigger vocabulary, or early Woody Allen with less stutter and more confidence.  As expected from a writer for Dennis Miller and Bill Maher, two comics known for their biting sarcasm, Feldman’s barbs are fast and razor-sharp.

Feldman can dole out quick 1-2 punch lines but also revels in leveraging his physical appearance as a safe and ordinary looking guy to bait the audience into unsuspecting turns. What will start out like an innocuous topic that gets supportive applause will turn on a dime, or he’ll launch into an offensive joke demeaning women or the elderly. Of course, the crowd will take the bait and gasp, which sets him up to feign shock and with a shrug and a dismissive “Whaaat?”

Video: Cannabalism

He wouldn’t be a successful, award-winning writer if he didn’t have a boatload of great jokes, and this CD is loaded with them. I won’t spoil them here, but you’ll be pirating several at the office the next day. Favorites include the greatest Elvis impersonator, wet dreams, frozen sperm, cheating lists, deadbeat kids, the football injury, the Humane society for people…there are a few dry spots, but he’s wry and clever far more often than not. And, of course, wriggling out of a bit gone horribly awry is just as much fun for him.

Video: Sexual Harassment

Recorded with crystal clarity at the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis in front of a strong crowd, Left Without Paying is  a solid debut. Although Feldman currently records podcasts, I hope we get another album, and soon.

Buy Left Without Paying here.

David Feldman’s website

David Feldman wiki page and IMDB page

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Reviews

T.G.I.F. – Ten More Impressions

 

Matt Damon as  Matthew McConaughey.

A contestant on Next Big Thing nailing  Al Pacino.

Joe Alaskey as Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Don Knotts, Alfred Hitchcock, Walter Brennan and Peter Lorre.

Barry Mitchell does Woody Allen.

Another mystery guy channeling  Christopher Walken, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson.

Jim Carrey as David Caruso in CSI Miami.

Dre Parker doing Dave Chappelle, Bernie Mac and Damon Wayans.

Another anonymous YouTuber imitating Gilbert Gottfried.

Ray Ray in a skit as Regis Philbin and Owen Wilson.

Rob Magnotti as Ray Romano, Brad Garrett, Michael Richards, Bill Cosby, Dudley Moore, Paulie Walnuts, Nicolas Cage, Al Pacino and John Travolta.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV