Saturday, September 05, 2009

Feat of Saint Sid

My Fellow Comedists,

This week brings us the feast of Saint Sid. Sid Caesar turns 88. His Your Show of Shows took comedy from Vaudeville into the suburban world of grey suited middle managers of the 1950s. He could do the slapstick, he could do the highbrow and subtle, he could do music. But his character was a new archetype in American history. He was the first one to really lampoon life in Levittown, with its smug arrogance and alienation.

A talented comedian, he put together the single greatest collection of writers in comic history: Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen. In an interview, Gelbart said that the show stood at a lucky time in history. Televisions were so expensive that the only ones who could afford them were the well-off, the highly paid professionals like doctors and lawyers. So, the only people watching were among the most educated and that meant that they could do smart comedy. Once the price of the sets came down, shows needed to play to a different demographic and tv comedy changed forever.

Happy birthday Sid Caesar.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve