Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feast of Saint Foster

My Comedist Brethren,

This week brings us the feast of Saint Foster. This would be Foster Brooks' 99th birthday.

Beginning work as an announcer and news reporter, he began doing stand-up. Steve Allen and Perry Como launched his career, but it was the Dean Martin Roasts that made him a household name.

His schtick was the drunk guy, always two steps drunker than Dean Martin was supposed to be. His stammering, halting, slurred delivery and his spoonerisms were classic. The character of the drunk in the 50s and 60s that Brooks personified was very different from the enlightened stoner bit we would see in the next couple of decades from Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. Brooks' drunk was not the wise fool, but rather the purely honest man. His laughs came from seemingly unintentional puns, mixed up phrases, but often from saying things one would not generally say when sober -- even if one was thinking it. The drunk in this period was to be laughed at, not with, but laughs he got, as much from his delivery as from his material.
Happy birthday, Foster Brooks.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve