This Guest Voice special appreciation is by skippy the bush kangaroo, a popular blogger who writes in lowercase — and who offers this piece on the late comedy-writer great Larry Gelbart. He offers this caption for the above photo: skippy and dick benjamin laugh it up, while (left to right) leonard stern, stanley rubin, larry gelbart and carl reiner yawn.
rip larry gelbart
by skippy the bush kangaroo
tony award-winner and oscar nominee larry gelbart, one of the most prolific and important comedy writers of the 20th century, has died @ age 81. latimes:
larry gelbart, the award-winning comedy writer best known for developing the landmark tv series “mash,” co-writing the book for the hit broadway musical “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum” and co-writing the classic movie comedy “tootsie,” died Friday morning. he was 81.
gelbart, who was diagnosed with cancer in june, died at his home in beverly hills, said his wife, pat…
“larry gelbart was among the very best comedy writers ever produced in america,” said mel brooks, whose friendship with gelbart dated to when they both wrote for sid caesar’s comedy-variety show “caesar’s hour” in the 1950s. gelbart “had class, he had wit, he had style and grace. he was a marvelous writer who could do more with words than anybody i ever met,” brooks said.
in a statement friday, woody allen called gelbart “the best comedy writer that i ever knew and one of the best guys.”
said carl reiner, who had also known gelbart since the “caesar’s hour” days when reiner was a cast member: “the main thing about larry, he was a comedy prodigy who developed into a national treasure. the man was one of the most gifted satirists who ever lived.”
larry started out writing for radio in the 40’s, for different comics, notably eddie cantor & bob hope. he went on to write for red buttons’ television series, and some broadway shows (of which “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum” is perhaps his best known) before creating and producing the tv series “m*a*s*h,” based on the robert altman movie.
gelbart’s oeuvre is too extensive to list here. anybody in any creative endeavor could only hope to achieve one one-thousandth of the body of quality, important, and down-right hilarious work he turned out in his lifetime.
skippy himself had the great honor of working in a sketch written specifically for him by gelbart in a hollywood roast for leonard stern (producer of “get smart”) a couple years ago. skippy played chuckie weinberg, the shyest writer in show biz. roast emcee richard benjamin relayed chuckie’s speech praising stern, as chuckie whispered into richard’s ear (because chuckie was too shy to speak to the crowd). it’s an old gag, copped this time from benjamin’s film “my favorite year,” a fictional account of the writers on the sid caesar show.
it was, without question, one of the supreme highlights of skippy’s career.
rest in peace, larry gelbart.
skippy the bush kangaroo has been aware of all internet traditions since 2002, since which time he has been blogging continuously. like everyone else, he is convinced he in the center of the spectrum politically and of the universe personally. tho he constantly wants to, he has never shouted “you lie!” to anyone.
(TMV Editor’s Note: skippy invented the word “blogtopia.”)