Larry David, producer of the defunct, but not defunct due to re-runs, Seinfeld has his own comedy show called Curb Your Enthusiasm. The comedy is wild and untamed. There is no way this show could appear on the normal network schedule. Only Cable TV can contain this show, which appears to have no limits.
Seinfeld scraped against the edges of network acceptability and chose some outrageous themes. I started to make a list of other funny men and their routines (Shtick) that I have seen on television. When the list was 50 names long, I knew it would make a great trip down the "Memory Lane of Comedy." If I have forgotten one of your favorites, please write or e-mail me and I will correct my oversight.
Here goes: (Capsule Comments)
1. Jack Benny - Stayed in character (cheap), great cast.
2. Milton Berle - Funny, slapstick, Tuesday night. He sold more TV sets than RCA.
3. Red Buttons - Ho! Ho! Last month at Westbury Music Fair, he was on stage 1 1/2 hours at the tender old age of 83.
4. Myron Cohen - Great Jewish accent. Always on the Ed Sullivan Show.
5. Buddy Hacket - Has a comic face. Good joke teller.
6. Mel Brooks - Frantic, crazy humor. Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Your Show of Shows.
7. Sid Caesar - Great mimic and dialectician.
8. Redd Foxx - Blue stand-up comic and great series Sanford and Son.
9. Carl Reiner - Writer of The Dick Van Dyke Show and comedy album with Mel Brooks, The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Man.
10. Phil Foster - Brooklyn comedian. Called Carl Erskine (Dodger pitcher) "Oisk" in his routine. Laverne's father in Laverne and Shirley.
11. Bill Cosby - I Spy and funny TV dad.
12. Woody Allen - Brainy, stand-up comic routines. Early movies were very good. Tiring of his nerdy routine.
13. Rodney Dangerfield - Gets no respect, but is entertaining.
14. Ed Wynn - Crazy laugh with a lot of gadgets.
15. Dick Shawn - Weird, way out and wacky.
16. Zero Mostel - The greatest Tevye of all.
17. Lenny Bruce - Fought and died for freedom of expression and the right to use curse words. Died of drug overdose.
18. George Carlin - Cerebral comedy and has insight.
19. Freddy Roman - Borschtbelt storyteller.
20. Mal Z Lawrence - Staccato beat. I cry with laughter.
21. George Burns and Gracie Allen - He was the straight man and she would answer with nutty but clever responses.
22. The Marx Brothers: Groucho - quick-witted, You Bet Your Life. Harpo - not a sound but great visual humor. Chico - phony Italian accent, very funny, and Zeppo and Gummo - sidekicks.
23. Fibber McGee and Molly - Middle America humor, crazy overstuffed closet, great line, "Taint Funny McGee."
24. Ray Romano - Everybody loves him. Average guy.
25. Drew Carey - Makes me laugh but I don't know why.
26. Gary Shandling - I love Larry Sanders, crazy cast.
27. Billy Crystal - Yankee fan. Very talented.
28. Chris Rock - Pointed humor but amusing.
29. Robin Williams - His recent HBO show was a showcase for his ad lib and physical humor. His energy level and his great material went on for two funny hours.
30. Jackie Gleason - Ralph Kramden, the bus driver. He was also a great showman who directed an hour-long show with beautiful music and the June Taylor dancers.
31. Jackie Leonard - Fast-talking comic.
32. Jackie Mason - Finds humor in the smallest things. Has a Yiddish style and can be biting and incisive.
33. Joan Rivers - Smart, a bit crude, funny, self-deprecating.
34. Phyllis Diller - Made fun of herself and husband (Fang).
35. Imogene Coca - With Sid Caesar. Stayed in character.
36. Whoopie Goldberg - Better actress than comedienne.
37. Joy Behar - Good stand-up. Feminist humor.
38. Ellen DeGeneres - Sexual innuendos but funny.
39. Jerry - Prissy, great observations, stayed with the theme.
40. Elaine - Second City comedienne, very believable.
41. George - Everybody knows a nebbish like George.
42. Kramer - Cosmo has great burlesque movements. His entrances and exits are funnier than other comedians' entire routines.
43. Newman - The evil mailman.
TV Hosts: 44. Jay Leno - Sets up his gags beautifully. Nice guy! 45. David Letterman - Keeps a serious tone but slips in good jokes from time to time. 46. Johnny Carson - Sly Midwestern humor. Relaxed for late night viewers.
47. Rich Little - Canadian mimic - good parody of Richard Nixon.
48. Frank Gorshin - The Joker. Talented.
49. The Ritz Brothers - Harry and his madcap brothers' famous routine, "Don't Holler."
50. The Three Stooges - Larry, Curly, Moe and Shemp slapstick.
51. Pat Cooper - I laugh at his "Italian shtick" ... also Corbett Monica and Charlie Callas.
Don't forget dead-pan Joey Bishop or Flip Wilson in a dress shouting, "The devil made me do it!"
Like Pagliacci, the clown, we sometimes see the sad aspects of the comedian. Every street corner in Brooklyn had its own comedian. Most never made the big time, but quite a few did. Again, if I have left out your favorite funny person, let me know.