A Comedic Master Class

Yesterday’s post “Are Women Funny?” generated a lively conversation through which I discovered a host of new comedians. Thank you, everyone, for joining in.

One very funny person who curiously was not mentioned on the comments thread is Phil Hartman. He exemplified smart-funny, rather than slob-funny or crude-funny; his hallmark was a magnificently assured rapid-fire delivery of whole paragraphs of well-written material. He also had a hilarious stillness, a Madeline Kahn-esque ability to be funny just by standing there. This is a recording of Hartman’s audition tape for the 1985-86 season of Saturday Night Live:

It doesn’t get much better than an impression of a German impressionist doing impressions. Enjoy.

  1. Israel P.
    Judith Levy, Ed.: It doesn’t get much better than an impression of a German impressionist doing impressions. Enjoy. · · 18 minutes ago

    The late great Israeli comic Shaike Ofir teaching Hamlet in an English class to Arab children.

  2. ctlaw

    Any more proof needed that women don’t have senses of humor?

  3. Pencilvania

    SNL’s writers should snap up some of those ideas he gave for segments.

    He had brilliant timing & delivery.

  4. Mollie Hemingway

    Phil Hartman was the best. Still so saddened by his untimely death. SNL was great, as was News Radio.

  5. iWc

     I watched the first half. Found it vaguely amusing. Didn’t laugh once.

  6. FloppyDisk90

    If you’ve never seen him in the SNL version of the Dating Game then you haven’t lived lived to the fullest.

    The man was a genius.

    Warning:  CoC non-compliant

  7. tabula rasa

    His Clinton was the best.

    And, of course, the anal-retentive chef.

    I’ve never been a big sitcom guy, but News Radio was fantastic.

  8. Sidehill Gouger

    His best was Reagan and Sinatra

    CoC non-compliant!

  9. Butters

    don’t forget Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure

  10. C. U. Douglas

     

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Phil Hartman was the best. Still so saddened by his untimely death. SNL was great, as was News Radio. · 6 hours ago

    Phil Hartman was brilliant. I was floored when I heard he was killed (and the circumstances).

  11. Wylee Coyote

    Interesting that he does a Sgt. Bilko bit in this reel – he later went on to play opposite Steve Martin in the movie version.

  12. Howellis

    Phil Hartman was a comedy genius. As the father of a poorly behaved boy in “Greedy” he had one of my favorite movie moments, when the kid goes too far at the dinner table, and thinks his parents won’t be able to do anything to him in front of the rest of the family. Priceless.