Monthly Archives: March 2016

It’s good night from me…


I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie Corbett, 85, the diminutive half of Britain’s much-loved The Two Ronnies.

The Two Ronnies show began in 1971 and ran for 12 seasons over 16 years. But Ronnie Corbett actually began working with Ronnie Barker years before that, most prominently on The Frost Report. Most of the individual Pythons worked with the pair as writers, and one of the most successful ongoing sketches featured John Cleese with the pair as upper (Cleese), middle (Barker), and Corbett (working) class.

It’s a brilliant concept (written by Marty Feldman and John Law), almost works as a sight gag alone, though the writing is brilliant. This clip doesn’t include the punch line(s) however:

Middle: We all know our place, but what do we get out of it?
Upper: I get a feeling of superiority over them.
Middle: I get a feeling of inferiority from him. But a feeling of superiority over him.
Working: (looking up to them, literally) I get a pain in my neck.

I never met Ronnie Corbett (who always reminded me of my pal Tim Kazurinsky), but the first time I visited London, I was staying at Graham Chapman’s house, and was delighted to hear that The Two Ronnies were headlining at The Palladium, and at Graham’s suggestion, scored a ticket. It was money well spent.

We’re losing way too many talented folks lately, and it makes me sad that Ronnie Corbett is gone, but happy that he had such a long, wonderful career and, by all accounts, a happy life.

And now, sadly and for the last time, it’s good night from him.

@johncleese @grahamchapman @montypython #montypython #ronniecorbett


Australia’s loss is Tahiti’s gain: Happy BD Eric!

Born March 29, 1943, that makes him…I’ll let you do the math. The most important thing is that @ericidle is celebrating another birthday following a frighteningly successful tour of Australia with another tall, humorous British gentleman. And to think I knew #ericidle before he was a hashtag. Happiest of birthdays and welcome to middle age! #montypython


Terry goes bust…

TJ Boom
I haven’t posted anything yet about Boom Bust Boom, the new feature documentary by my pal Terry Jones (and friends) that opened two weeks ago in New York. That’s because I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, though I don’t have a great excuse. The fact is that it’s now available on iTunes and On Demand, so I don’t have to wait until it comes to an area theatre.
Here’s the trailer and here’s some more info
Boom Bust Boom  incorporates music, animation, and puppetry, in addition to live action and hosting by Terry, as it shows the link between our unstable economy and the way economics is taught, as it puts a spotlight on mistakes of the past made by bankers and politicians, while investigating the worldwide economic crash of 2008.
The film came about after Terry met economics professor Theo Kocken, and the two collaborated on the script for Bill and Ben Productions. If you’ve ever wanted to know how the financial world works, I can’t think of a better person to teach you than Terry Jones. I have a feeling it may be the most enjoyable economics lesson you’ve ever had.

#terryjones @PythonJones

Remembering Del…

Del Close died 17 years ago today, March 4, 1999, less than 24 hours after his farewell party.

He taught us a better way of life through improvisation, he showed us how to die, and he certainly knew how to edit.

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think of something Del said or did, or that I don’t share something with my students.

Just last weekend, after they did a scene about a living person at his own wake, I had to tell my PythonProv class that Del had done it first. Coincidentally, they will be on stage tonight at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO, doing work that I taught them to do because Del taught me to do it first.

If you’re an improviser and were lucky enough to know Del, tell someone a Del story. If you didn’t, then find someone who knew Del and ask them. (And if you can’t do either, then I would opportunistically suggest you look through a copy of The Funniest One in the Room.)

If Del was still here, he would be very happy–though probably not surprised–at the way that long form improvisation has continued to grow, and very proud of the way that Charna and so many others have carried on his work.

#delclose #iochicago #improvimage