Yesterday, I had a video of Mike Nichols and Elaine May here as the Mystery Guests on What's My Line? And honestly, that's not really fair. That's not how you want to see Nichols & May.
This is how you want to see Nichols & May.
To anyone who's never seen their comedy team, you're in for a treat. To those who have seen their comedy team -- you're still in for a treat. What made their humor so wonderful (and hugely successful) is that they didn't tell jokes, they dealt with the human condition -- in all its low-key lunacy -- and that's not only universal, it's lasting.
There are so many sketches to choose from, but I've chosen this, because I think it's my favorite. He grieving man sees an ad for an inexpensive funeral and goes in...
(Note that this comes from inclusion in another TV show and is slightly truncated.)
If memory serves, this below is approximately how the full version of the sketch ends.
Miss Loomis asks Mr. Mazlo-Freen if he'd like any music at the funeral. He thinks that might be a good idea.
SHE: We only have two prices here. $3,500 and $37.50.
HE: I'm just curious...
SHE: For $3,500 we fly in E. Power Biggs and the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
SHE: For $37.50, Joanie Greenfield, a local schoolgirl, comes in and plays the organ.
HE: Fine, that one. The $37.50.
SHE: I...uh...I should let you know that Joanie only knows one song.
HE: And that is??
SHE: "Blues in the Night."
HE: No! Forget it. No music!
SHE: No music? Are you sure?
HE: No, no music! Nothing!
SHE: But it would be no depressing.
HE: (Frantic, crazed) No music! Nothing! Forget it. No music! I have nothing! I have no more money. You've taken it all. No music.
SHE: (There is a long silence. Then,) Well...It's your funeral.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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