Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thank You, Ed Sullivan!

I've been watching, for the thousandth time, The Royal Tenenbaums tonight on IFC. I was watching it because I've mostly seen it expurgated on Comedy Central, so to see it again pristine (as I did several times in the theater upon original release) is a treat. It's an almost perfect movie--for me anyway, though I'm sure many uncomfortable with Wes Andersen's style would vigorously argue otherwise. In particular it was the ideal venue for the talents of Ben Stiller, currently vacillating between the brilliance of Tropic Thunder and the fecality of, well, just about every other movie he's done since.

On the shitter recently I was looking at a 1971 TV Guide, as I am woefully apt to do. In many ways those old editions are as current as any Entertainment Weekly or whatever the fuck have you, except Jack Lord is on the cover. In it, Anne Meara laments the cancellation of the Ed Sullivan Show, which she and husband Jerry Stiller had appeared on 47 times up until that point. She relates how she and Jerry were financially dependent on those appearances at a time when no one else was giving them a shot. "We couldn't have had our second baby if it hadn't been for Sullivan," she is quoted as saying. That second baby would be none other than Ben Stiller (whose first-ever role in a guest appearance on his mother's short-lived 70's show Kate McShane was added to IMDb by yours truly, BTW).

So, to recklessly extrapolate, we would not today have Bob Odenkirk, Janeane Garofalo or Andy Dick, co-stars of the sublime Ben Stiller Show, if it were not for old Ed Sullivan. Therefore, perhaps no Mr. Show, no Tom Goes to the Mayor or Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, no NewsRadio or Sober House (not the best parts of them, anyway)... no, uh, whatever my gal Janeane's up to these days... So here's a big thank you, Ed Sullivan. And here I thought Topo Gigio was enough reason to appreciate you, you long-dead fuck!

Oh, and just for the hell of it, here's a strange little something for Urn O'sh--Sandy and Disney, thirty-five years after the fact. The people in those costumes are old now. Except Pluto--he died of pancreatic cancer in 1981. Meeting Sandy Duncan was the highlight of his life. Sad.