Monday, February 24, 2014

Oh, Harold....

I just learned that actor/writer/director Harold Ramis died. He was 69.  When some notables pass, I think "how sad." With others, such as James Gandolfini or Philip Seymour Hoffman, it's like a kick in the gut. Ramis' work was hugely appreciated by me in my formative years (and well beyond). He was the reliably bespectacled nerd in STRIPES and the GHOSTBUSTERS films. He directed CADDYSHACK and later, GROUNDHOG DAY. He was a co-writer on NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE. Ramis had in fact worked with the Lampoon organization on their radio and stage revues years earlier.

I remember reading about Ramis and John Belushi in Bob Woodward's ultra inflammatory bio of the latter, Wired. They had worked together for many years. Both were native Chicagoans.  During a party in the late '70s Belushi, exhausted and intoxicated, fell on Ramis' lap and exclaimed, "Oh Harold..." As if he were consulting with an old friend and mentor. What should I do now?

While the heirs to the "slob comedy" throne of recent years (Judd Apatow et al) don't exactly light my fire, they have undeniably been inspired by all those anarchic yukfests of decades ago. The "young, dangerous comedy" spawned from the Lampoon, Lemmings, and Saturday Night Live.  I expect some heartfelt tributes in the days to come.

I would also like to have a break from having to write these eulogies for at least a little while, please.

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