Monday, May 26, 2008

Dick Martin

He always seemed like a nice guy, and from what I've read about him since his death the other day, my perception apparently was, for once, right on the money.

I particularly remember seeing him on game shows and talk shows and noticing how he would laugh at other comedians. That's not something you always see.

And although I usually pay a bit more attention to the straight men when I'm watching comedy teams (I like watching straight men try to be funny but not too funny as they feed the comic and try to control the pace of the act), Rowan and Martin were an exception. Dan Rowan didn't seem particularly charismatic (I've since read that he wouldn't exactly be a semifinalist in a World's Nicest Man contest), and I was more drawn to Martin's persona -- silly, goofy, the type of guy who could get away with risque material because he was almost a cartoon character. (I suspect you could say something similar about Groucho.)

I also think Dick Martin got one of the biggest laughs ever on "Match Game" with a response that, as I recall, practically incapacitated Gene Rayburn for the better part of a minute.

The question was something like: "Ninety-nine-year-old Mr. Periwinkle married a 22-year-old exotic dancer. They spent their honeymoon blanking."

Martin's response: "Shucking oysters."

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