Re: Dramatic vs. comedic actors

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Posted Byjerry4opry on July 31, 2003 at 05:18:30:

In Reply to: Dramatic vs. comedic actors posted byLL on July 30, 2003 at 19:26:43:

: : : As a side note, Red Skelton often commented on how he didn't like to socialize with other comedians..."They're always trying to top each other" he said. Instead, Red preferred to socialize with actors who were not famous as comedians....Vincent Price, John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, etc.

: : : now i have an idea as to why Red Skelton usually used movie actors instead of his peers in radio and early TV...i've always wondered why when watching an old Skelton show he mostly used movie stars and dramatic actors! I'm a huge fan of Vincent Price too and his appearance on Skelton's shows were always hilarious!

: ========================
: Also remember that Jack used Ronald and Benita Colman on his show, and their "classy" dramatic background made them all the more amusing. There is a story about Jack advising them to read the comedy lines completely straight, as if they were doing a dramatic line. This is not unlike Gracie Allen's illogical logic, talking about the things her family did as if they were completely reasonable, sane things.

: It's something that I've found lacking in today's sitcoms; the actors seem completely aware of the intended humor in what they're saying, and punch it (punching a gag means emphasizing--or overplaying--to milk laughs). It operates sort of in the vein of the baggy-pants comedian who says, "THAT was no LADY...that was my WIFE!!! Wacka-wacka-wacka!!!" Then couple that with a laugh track and the audience is being programmed on "what's funny" by having it thrown in their face harder than the proverbial pie.

: i have a radio episode with Ronald and Benita might've been their first? Anyway, they were expecting a friend from England named Jack. They planned a dinner but somehow our Jack got confused and thought that HE was the "Jack" the Colman's were expecting. Benny shows up all dressed up expecting the Colman's to get dressed and go out with him. The British Jack drops by and it never dawns on our Jack that he was there by accident...making it all the more hilarious. The four people kept a fascinating conversation going by saying: "yes sir", "yep!", "that's right", "yep" through most of the dinner.

the other radio show i have with the Colman's as guests includes Frank Nelson. Ronald and Benita went out with Jack and Mary. It was a "recollection" scene because at the program's start the IRS came calling and wanted to know how Jack Benny could take three people out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and only spend something like $4.98! Jack's scene with Frank Nelson, naturally, stole the show. This IRS show was re-done on TV with Jimmy Stewart and his wife minus the Frank Nelson casting.

This is off-topic but i consider myself a fan of most comedy. i hate the HBO "cuss up a storm" comedians where every third word is "F" this and "F" that. It takes no talent to do that...just ask any taxi cab driver in rush hour traffic in New York or L.A...they'll give you some colorful language! anyway, i like Benny Hill. I know what you're thinking...but go beyond his scantily dressed "Hill's Angels" and examine the type of comedy he did. He did old-school vaudeville with a burlesque twist and his idolization of Charlie Chaplin inspired him to do fast paced silent sketches with nothing but Boots Randolph's saxophone wailing the theme song in the background. His slapping the bald man's head in the fast sketches became a long-running gag. The BBC considered Benny Hill a slightly naughty version of Red Skelton. By the way, Benny Hill was born "Alfie Hill" and he took his show name from none other than Jack Benny! That's how "Benny" Hill got his name.

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