Sunday, May 25, 2008

Say Good Night, Dick

Brothers, sisters, and Transgendered Comedists Everywhere,

It is with great sadness that I report that Dick Martin is with the Cosmic Comic now (hat tip to YKW). He died of respiratory failure last night.

It was 1967 and NBC was getting clobbered in the ratings, so they threw out some young comedians just to fill the slot, having little hope it would do anything against the likes of Ed Sullivan. But Rowan and Martin's Laugh In became a shot in the culture wars of the late 1960s. Dick Martin was tuxedoed update of G. Maynard Krebs designed to lampoon Hugh Hefner. Ironically, he would go on to marry, divorce and remarry Playmate Dolly Read.

His delivery was always joyful and his timing flawless. While Rowan and Martin represented the new generation in terms of content, they were perhaps the last of the great traditional American comic teams in the tradition of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, and Lewis and Martin whose names theirs so closely resembled. In fact, it was as short term replacements for Dean Martin that they got their big break in moving from nightclubs to television as an act. Watching the two of them play off of each other, you always had the sense that these two not only knew their craft, but had a good time.Rest in peace, Dick. Thank you for all the laughs.