Friday, October 19, 2007

Humor for a small audience

I don't imagine many people under 30 years old would find the new blog of Dick Cavett at the New York Times page very funny, but to those of us older than 40 he is a refreshing new addition to the blogging era.

When I was young there was no internet and computers were something that had to do with punch cards and "Stop" and "Go To" commands. There was still a debate in Math classes about whether students could use calculators in class that had the limited capability of doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Our minds, outside of school were still being polluted by television but we only had 4 or 5 channels to choose from. This did not stop us from vegetating in front of the TV sets for hours at a time however.

Of course, evenings consisted of scheduling around such sitcoms and Welcome Back Cotter, Happy Days, and The Dukes of Hazard. Before School, we'd watch Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room and after school we'd plop ourselves in front of the television for a couple of hours to watch reruns of Gilligan's Island, Underdog, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Scooby Doo. Sometimes we would stay up late with our Dad's and watch Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show and late at night Tomorrow with Tom Snyder. Often, while learning the artful skills of flipping that would soon serve us so well once cable TV arrived, we would stumble upon The Dick Cavett Show.

If memory serves me correctly, he was on PBS. PBS is what brought us Monty Python and The Benny Hill Show. As teenagers, much of his intellectual and sophisticated humor must have went over our heads, but there was something there that held our attention and we would sit and smile as we watched him question his guests in his most unique way. As we aged we started laughing harder at his quirks and were let in on his humor. His humor required that we know current events and the political discussions of the day.

I have not heard from Dick Cavett for many years. A search on Google shows he has continued to have shows up to the present on one network or another. But, the multitude of channels on the dish network and Cable have turned many of us away from the information overload accosting us from our television sets, so he has been lost to us and the world for a couple decades or more. What a refreshing and wondrous relief to discover his humor again while reading the New York Times online.


Richard said...

Lets' not forget Magilla Gorilla, one of my personal favorates.

"Won't you - buy him - take him home and try him - Magilla for sale..."

Andy B said...

I missed that one. Probably before my time as I was born in 1964.

I don't remember it on the lineup of reruns from out independent channel 9 in our Twin Cities (mpls/St Paul) region.

Another talk show one we used to watch was Merv Griffin and on late nights, when we discovered SCTV with Levy, Thomas, Moranis, Candy and others we thought we were watching the funniest people on the planet. Then there was the original lineup on Saturday Night Live...