Friday, June 8, 2012
Rant #753: Birthdays, We've Got More Birthdays
And you thought that yesterday's Rant about the birthdays of Tom Jones and Ken Osmond would be the last of them for this week, didn't you?
Well, let's add three more to the list.
Comedians Jerry Stiller and Joan Rivers celebrate birthdays today. Stiller is 85, and Rivers is 79.
And let's not forget that today is also the birthday of singer Nancy Sinatra, who turns 72.
Stiller is a comic for the ages. He has redirected himself so many times, but he continues to be one of the funniest comics on television to this day.
I first was introduced to Stiller through his comic partnership with his wife, Ann Meara.
As part of the Stiller and Meara comedy team, the two helped to redefine comedy in the 1960s. Their real-life stories--him, a Jewish guy from the Lower East Side, she of Irish personage--brought comedy to another level. Most of their comedy played off the differences between the two--including that he is a short guy and she is kind of tall--but the love they felt for each other was demonstrated every time they performed.
Their magic was most widely seen on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and their comedy was universal.
Stiller went on to star on the stage, in movies, and most prominently, on TV, in shows such as "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens."
And he is as active today as he was 50 years ago.
The same thing can be said for Joan Rivers. Don't go by her public persona today.
Rivers is actually one of the funniest comics that there ever was or ever will be.
She also honed her craft on "The Ed Sullivan Show" way back when. She, along with Totie Fields, Phyllis Diller and others, brought female comedy to new heights.
Most of her comedy revolved around her family, and specifically, her husband Edgar. All the trials and travails of being a Jewish American Princess were brought out in the open by Rivers, and at that time, that personage was not necessarily the negative that it is today.
She was what she was, and she let us have it. And we laughed and laughed and laughed some more.
She changed after her husband's suicide. Although she, like Stiller, has transformed with the times, today, Rivers is nothing but a parody of herself. She is nasty, snide, and has had as many surgical procedures as Michael Jackson had during his lifetime.
But when she just tries to be funny, withoiut the guile, she can still be very, very funny.
Now onto another person who helped define another time, Nancy Sinatra.
Sure, Sinatra was daddy's girl, but she managed to carve out quite a career for herself as an actress, and most notably, as a singer, during the Swinging 1960s.
"These Boots Are Made For Walking" stands as perhaps one of the first women's rights song, and she had all the razzle and dazzle to carry quite a list of hit songs during her career, including "Sugar Town" and "You Only Live Twice."
And her duets with Lee Hazlewood are legendary, too.
And although she was daddy's girl, she had her own career to pursue, and she pursued it with a lot of glamor, bikinis, and incredible sex appeal--with and without her boots on.
Yes, she posed for Playboy, and it was that incredible figure that she had that carried her there, too.
She continues to record every once in a while, but that look that she had in the 1960s helped to define the era.
Stiller, Rivers and Sinatra share one thing: staying power. It's as if their careers began 50 years ago and they have never gone away.
And that's good, real good, because these people are very, very talented, and they know how to entertain.
They are entertainers, entertainers for the ages.
Speak to you next week.
Posted by Larry at 4:38 AM