Friday, 30 May 2008

On Comedy: Harvey Korman, RIP

Legendary comedian and TV stalwart Harvey Korman passed away yesterday at the age of 81. As a wee shaver in the 70s & early 80s I spent some of my childhood watching his antics on the Carol Burnett Show where he was the rock solid foundation of a pretty sharp cast.

An anecdote from that era was told by the singer Tony Orlando who was doing a CBS variety show literally across the hall from Carol Burnett. He was exhausted after the day's filming, and when he ran into Carol Burnett in the hall he asked how she managed to do a show like hers for so long, and still look calm, rested and ready for action.

Her answer: "Hire a Harvey Korman."

Korman was never the "star" in the traditional sense, but his work, which he made seem so effortless, provided a strong comedic base that elevated weak performers, and made strong comedians superstars. In today's pop-culture of talentless spotlight hogs, he was the unselfish gentleman of comedy, doing his best, not just to promote himself, but for the material.

But let us not dwell in the sadness of his passing, that would be inappropriate, instead, let us take some time to let him do what he did best: Make us laugh.

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