Sad news today. Harvey Korman, one of our good guys, our funny, funny men, one of our heroes died today.
A hero? Yeah. He made it on pure talent. Pure commitment to whatever he was doing, even when it made him look like an ass. The husband in the Mama skits was at time psychotic. How did that group pull off making that dysfunctional family so damn funny? My wife says watching the HBO series Extras is too painful for her, she can't enjoy the humor. It's takes daring to make ugly and cruel funny. Harvey Korman could pull that off with ease and he never apologized for making us laugh. He never said "Don't judge me for being good at cruel." He just let his genius flow and the opinions fall where they may.
And he was the straight man and he was Rhett Butler, he was the traveling salesman, the Doctor…the reason I love this man is because of what he gave me and my family. Saturday nights were the time to all sit and watch the one show we could all sit and watch together, and I could hear my dad laugh. My mom and dad didn't stay together very long so I don't have a lot of laughing family memories. I have very distinct memories of the happiness we all had laughing at Carol, and Lyle and Tim and Vicki and Harvey. I loved knowing that when Harvey showed up in the scene there was bedrock. something great could happen because the glue was there. Everyone could bounce off Harvey and something funny would happen. He didn't sing or do the musical acts, so when they ended and he came out, it was another chance at hearing dad laugh.
That's what we do folks. We have great impact on strangers. We communicate happiness and love and freedom when we fearlessly share our talent and depict our characters without any apologies. Even the mean ones. That's why I say hero. We all say we do that but do we really give over all the time?
God I love that man for his bravery to flat our share his talent all he time.
I have an audition today. This comes after a long talk with the manager that came to the conclusion that I've become stale and something needs to be done to freshen me up. Something. That intangible, opinion based vagary that makes us nuts. So I go in today with the idea that I have to be something more than what I am. This is the kind of thing that makes us go in thinking about our strategy and stop acting the part out.
We were lucky to have tutors like Harvey Korman. His fearlessness taught us all, whether we know it or not, that you have to risk it all to have any chance at getting some of it right. I didn't know him but he's got a store house of good memories in my head. Isn't that maybe the biggest compliment one can get as an artist?
I'm sad today, but in a couple hours I will make those folks in the audition laugh because I will be fearless and I will be fresh. I will use the lessons Harvey gave me and I will risk being funny at all costs.