The death of true comedy …
Legendary comic and impersonator Jonathan Winters has passed away at his home in Montecito, California at age 87. The world just got a little less funny with his passing. Jonathan Winters was simply hysterical. Remember an era of comedy that was not mean spirited, laced with profanity and witty, neither do I. But during Winters’ era it was. Winters was a comic genius who could switch in and out of character impersonations like we switch a light switch or today’s generations change their Facebook status, tweet or text. Winters inspired generations of improve comics, probably none better than Robbin Williams. And as fate would have it, Winters would later have a role on Williams’ popular TV show ‘Mork & Mindy’ VIDEO) as his son Merth. However, I remember Winters best for his role in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Just priceless comedy. The gas station scene (VIDEO) with Winters and Fred Silver … just too funny. This movie just never gets old. And who can forget when Jonathon Winters was a special guest crime solving with the Scooby Doo gang (VIDEO) where he played himself, Jonathan Winters, the not so famous comedian, hahaha. We shall miss you.
Jonathan Winters, November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013 - RIP
Mr. Winters was at his best when winging it, confounding television hosts and luckless straight men with his rapid-fire delivery of bizarre observations uttered by characters like Elwood P. Suggins, a Midwestern Everyman, or one-off creations like the woodland sprite who bounded onto Jack Paar’s late-night show and simperingly proclaimed: “I’m the voice of spring. I bring you little goodies from the forest.”
A one-man sketch factory, Mr. Winters could re-enact Hollywood movies, complete with sound effects, or create sublime comic nonsense with simple props like a pen-and-pencil set.
The unpredictable, often surreal quality of his humor had a powerful influence on later comedians like Robin Williams but made him hard to package as an entertainer. His brilliant turns as a guest on programs like “The Steve Allen Show” and “The Tonight Show” — in both the Jack Paar and Johnny Carson eras — kept him in constant demand. But a successful television series eluded him, as did a Hollywood career, despite memorable performances in films like “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Loved One” and “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.”
Jonathan Winters roasts Johnny Carson
Jonathan Winters on the Jack Paar Show from 1964