Saturday, July 02, 2011

RIP Leonard Stern

My Fellow Comedists,

This week we lost one of the lesser known comic geniuses of our times. Leonard Stern passed away at age 87. He was the executive director and writer for Get Smart, he wrote the screenplays for Ma and Pa Kettle and Abbott and Costello films, he directed the George Burns movie Just You and Me, Kid, he wrote episodes of The Honeymooners, The Steve Allen Show, and the Phil Silvers Show.

But his greatest comedic achievement was the invention of MadLibs. The idea first came to him in high school. It reappeared when he was a writer on the Honeymooners and he asked his fellow writer Roger Price for an adjective to describe the nose of Ralph Kramden's boss, but before he could get out what he wanted the adjectives for, Roger started giving him random ones. The two found the situation hilarious among themselves and decided to write up short stories with missing words for a party they were going to. When it was a huge hit at the party, they saw the potential and the rest is comic history.

From all of us who ever went on long car trips or to camp, thank you Leonard Stern.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve