Stand-Up Comedians

The cover story of Time magazine, March 11, 2019 is about Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  One part of the article is entitled “The 5 Funniest Stand-Up Specials Ever.”  Ms. Louis-Dreyfus gives her 5 top choices.  Three of the choices I can easily agree with.  Richard Pryor, Live on the Sunset Strip (1982).  Steve Martin, A Wild and Crazy guy (1978).  For Ellen Degeneres, (see below)a 1996 performance is chosen.  I’d go with a 12/18/18 performance entitled, Relatable. It was her first stand-up performance in 15 years.  And as the title of her performance indicates, she is still indeed Relatable.



I would have to replace two of her choices (ie, Steven Wright and Paula Poundstone) with 2 individuals I wrote about in a different article.  Specifically, George Carlin and Robin Williams.  If you need a specific performance to judge these individuals’, I’d say: “Why?”  You must have seen some of the many television specials by Carlin.   His “7 dirty words” routine is an example of his genius.   Other examples could be:  “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.”  And “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

And Robin Williams is my funniest favorite.  Of his TV performances, my favorite may have to be 1988’s “A Night at the Met.”  His show began with him realizing the 2 huge lights retracting into the ceiling looked like “Imelda Marcos’ earrings.” Williams gives everyone more jokes per minute than anyone.  You get quantity and quality of his work every time.

As a 6thcomedian, I’d chose someone I haven’t seen lately: Bob Newhart.  People familiar with his television shows may forget he started (as a bookkeeper turned) comedian.  My favorite piece of his work was him trying to explain the rules of baseball in a telephone call to someone unfamiliar with the game. I suddenly realized how complicated the game we were born with was to a stranger.

Who would make your “best 5” list?


About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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