I think it’s our right to be funny so it only seems fitting that I should make a full faith effort to “write to be funny”. Now, in all fairness…I don’t know how to do that. For most of my life I’ve been one of those people whose friends have always said “oh, you’re so funny, you should do comedy”, but I never did. Well, or at least I haven’t yet anyway. I don’t think it’s a fear of failure, I think it’s a fear of comparison.
I grew up a child of the 70’s. A time when stand-up comedy, television and even movie comedy were evolving from its post-war, anti-war sentiment into something completely different. Comedians were changing the way we thought of them as performers. They were shedding the constraints of language and content. Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, even the first time I saw Buddy Hackett, or Redd Foxx were saying things that made your parents shake their heads. They still laughed but continued to shake their heads just the same.
HBO changed my comedy world. I saw and heard things as a young adolescent that made my brain hurt. And then in 1977 I saw and heard someone who completely altered the very concept of what I thought I knew about comedy.
He was fast, he was spontaneous, he was just brilliant…and for forty years I enjoyed every adventure he was willing to take, every challenge he overcame, every tear of laughter that rolled from my cheek.
So, Professor Williams, I take this challenge to prove that I was a worthy student. That witty will be the spark you helped ignite all those years ago rambling as a Russian gymnast or preaching from Reverend Billy Bob’s Disco Temple of Comedy.
To “reach around the back of that TV set because somebody will get a laugh as it shocks your ass across the room”. We do not dare let the laughter fade, the memories dwindle or the genius disappear. We are the legacy of his brilliant life. The tears of sadness should fade to bring back the tears of laughter. And it should be loud enough, outrageous enough, genius enough that the twinkle in the stars at night will be him….laughing back with us.