We lost several funny people of note in 2014, but the year was a real doozy for comedy legends in particular, including writer/directors, TV announcers, critical mentors, and legendary performers we grew up watching. Many of the people below had careers so vast and influential that they’re impossible to sum up in a single paragraph. But I’ll try. So let’s bum ourselves out and then lift our glasses in remembrance. They are sorely missed.
Modern standup has been around in one form or another since vaudeville, but it’s only been since the late ‘70s that the standup special has gained traction as the crowning achievement of a successful comic. Fortunately, the beginnings of the standup special were as fertile as rock ‘n’ roll’s birth 25 years prior, with many of the all-time greats setting templates right from the start.
The material always comes first, of course, but as a video document of a honed act it’s also important to appreciate the visual elements — the framing, editing, and backdrop — and how they enhance or detract from the pacing and quality of the jokes. [...]
Here's a clip from last night's Tonight Show, in which Jimmy Fallon takes a few minutes to remember the great Robin Williams and do a quick impersonation of his hero. Click through to watch Conan O'Brien and Seth Meyers both take time out of their late night shows to salute Williams.
Conan O'Brien was nearly finished taping last night's episode of Conan when news broke of Robin Williams's tragic death, but the late night host still took the time to film a brief tribute to the late comedian. It's a short clip but O'Brien clearly is talking from the heart, and he ends the episode with "Good night, and God bless Robin Williams."
Robin Williams' new sitcom The Crazy Ones debuted on CBS last night after uber-hit The Big Bang Theory and did very well for itself, drawing 15.6 million viewers overall. Though it didn't hold onto to all of Big Bang's 18.9 million viewers, it easily beat its NBC competition, the premiere of The Michael J. Fox Show, which pulled in 7.3 million people. The Michael J. Fox Show's lead-in, the always ratings-challenged Parks and Recreation, managed only 3.3 million viewers, while CBS's 9:30 show Two and a Half Men drew 11.54 million people.