Tag Archives: Fred Willard

Best in class

It might be irreverent to say it in this movie awards season, and I might just be a minority of one, but I wish they’d bring back the American Comedy Awards.

Everything that can be said about Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards has been said, by those far more in the know than I. To prove how out of touch I am, my favorite movies (drama and comedy) of the last two years didn’t receive significant mention; this is shaping up to be the third. Gran Torino in 2008 and Pirate Radio in 2009 went un-hyped. This year, one of my faves, Get Low, which featured one of Robert Duvall’s best acting performances to date, hasn’t really even been mentioned. Maybe Oscar will take notice.

What really baffles me about the Golden Globes is the make-up of their “Musical or Comedy” category and, specifically, why The Kids Are All Right was deemed a comedy. I watched it yesterday and didn’t laugh once, and wondered if there was simply a shortage of comedies and musicals and it just got stuffed in there for balance. I liked the movie well enough, and agreed that both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore deserved nominations for their acting, but can’t for the life of me understand the comedy designation.

Comedies don’t typically get serious nods during award season anyway. They’re often too raunchy for serious consideration. It seems that good comedies are rarer each year. Perhaps, rather than lump them in awkwardly with movies like The Kids Are Alright, comedies should have awards all their own. The question is: are there enough good ones?

I’d think that anyone with a bit of smarts and a working funny bone would enjoy two hours in a theater laughing until the tears flow—without toilet jokes,  off-color ethnic jabs or in-your-face genital humor.

In 2001, the year in which the American Comedy Awards were last held, Best in Show, perhaps the best of director Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries, took Funniest Motion Picture, Funniest Supporting Actor (Fred Willard) and Funniest Supporting Actress (Catherine O’Hara). It’s hard to find better comedy than that.

Word has it that MTV and Comedy Central are starting new comedy awards to air this April. I hear many comedic greats are involved, including Phil Rosenthal of Everybody Loves Raymond. This gives me hope that a void will be filled.

Otherwise, with no serious award to strive for, what’s the incentive to make a good comedy any more, except to entertain a country and a world in desperate need of intelligent humor?


Filed under Movies, Television and Radio

Life’s lessons learned

A few days ago, I mentioned that I had received a gift subscription to Esquire magazine. By the way, the giver remains anonymous.

I also mentioned that I was looking forward to reading what various public figures said about what they’d learned about The Meaning of Life. Last Thursday, a four-hour plane ride gave me time to explore.

The public figures had plenty to say on the subject, and their comments held as much entertainment value as wisdom.

But buried within the feature were comments by private figures—regular readers of Esquire who wrote in with their pearls of wisdom about what they’d learned along life’s road. They’re my favorites in part because I can relate in some way to each one.

I’ll start by sharing the regular-Joe pearls, then give you some snip-its from the celebs.

“Being out of work for seven months in 2010 taught me character, humility, and persistence. It also really sucked.” – Yale Hollander, 42, St. Louis

“The fact that curiosity killed the cat isn’t an argument for not being curious; it’s an argument for not being a cat.”  — John Alejandro King, 40, Washington, D.C.

“Never eat at a chain restaurant while on vacation.”  — Curry Smith, 26, New Orleans

“Get in shape to play. Don’t play to get in shape.”  Russell Bryan Love, 44, Santa Cruz

“Of all the things I’ve become attached to, the ones I superglued to myself caused the greatest regret.”  — Daniel Rahe, 30, Tacoma

“Sometimes your neighborhood bar feels more like home than home.”  — Derek Gale, 30, Chicago

“I always took pride in the fact that I was not one of those guys whose ego was tied to his career. But when I lost my job, I was amazed at how much my ego was hurt.”  — Mickey Chapatte, 52, San Diego

There is a lot of wisdom among the celebrity “What I’ve Learned” entries, so pick up a copy of the magazine or go online and read them all. Here are just a few of the ones I found meaningful:

Robert Redford:  “Humor. Skill. Wit. Sex appeal. That order.”

James L. Brooks:  “Every laugh you have at the keyboard does not mean everybody else will laugh. But laughing helps sustain you to move forward.”

Fred Willard:  “Ballet I love for about five minutes. Then I want to see a comic come out.”

Ricky Gervais:  “Music is still the greatest art form. I’m in awe of it. A chord can make me feel sick.”

Danny DeVito:  “I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower and it’s leaning. You look at it, but nothing happens, so then you look for some place to get a sandwich.”

Here’s to The Meaning of Life and to getting closer to finding it in our own lives. L’chaim.


Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, Quotes, Reading