Billy Crystal As Mark Twain

More accurately Billy as the 10th and latest recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Since no award is complete without an award show, Billy received the award on October 11 at the John F. Kennedy Center. The TV version aired November 12. Fortunately I was in a hotel room that night and stumbled across the show.  It was funny for both the presenters, including Robin Williams, Jon Lovitz and Martin Short as well as clips from Billy Crytal’s many TV, movie and theatrical performances. If you can catch it on PBS. I guarantee substantial laughter.

Some background on the award. It was first given in 1998. The award is “to recognize the art of humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly.” No other criteria for picking winners is mentioned. Past winners in order are Richard Prior, Carl Reiner, Jonathon Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin and Neil Simon. The bar is not only set high. These winners are humorists that not only make you laugh out loud until you cry but also make you smile…and even make you think.

Billy Crystal’s best works clearly meet these criteria.  Since he is only a few years older than I am so I did not know it then but I wanted to be Billy Crystal when I grew up. Jewish, funny, an everyman that makes every man and woman crack up. His humor is very good but seems doable. I could never be Robin Williams who I believe is the funniest man ever for any 3 minute span. He is too frenetic. That’s not me. But Crystal’s humor? I think (or perhaps dream) that if my wit was just a bit quicker and a tad sharper maybe I could have made a living out of being funny and being funny in a very human way. 

OK maybe I am more than a bit and a tad away.

Whether it is characters from SNL such as Fernando, Sammy or Ali, movies such as When Harry Met Sally or City Slickers, his play 700 Sundays or even his acceptance speech at the Mark Twain Awards, this is one clever, funny man. I leave you with the famous fake orgasm scene from when Harry met Sally. In this he makes us laugh by being a straight man to the otherwise not so funny Meg Ryan. Billy, I salute you! (BTW doesn’t is seem just a little odd to call a fifty something year old man Billy?)

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

2 Responses to Billy Crystal As Mark Twain

  1. Pingback: TV Movies Soaps » Billy Crystal As Mark Twain

  2. Frank says:

    Billy Crystal and you…yep, you’re brothers from another mother. That is so funny…you do have that sense of humor and I love it.

    My fave BC skit was the one on SNL: I hate when that happens. LOL.

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