Since I came out of the Decade of Excess, most of the comedy I love comes from that decade, as well. In the 1980s, stand-up boomed after greats like Carlin and Williams got their start in the ’70s. Fellows like Barr, Cosby, and Saget brought stand-up right into the living rooms of American families. If not for those shows, I don’t know what kind of person I would have ended up being today. Roseanne, The Cosby Show, and Full House were staples in my family’s TV routine, and they always kept me laughing. These next three comedians also went on to shows or movies that greatly influenced my watching habits or made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the world. Without further ado, here’s this week’s dose of the funny!
Paul Reiser, Also very much a staple of my childhood, as My Two Dads and Mad About You were shows me and my family watched constantly. He was always the straight-laced, determined one who wanted things perfect and his own way — needless to say, I could understand where he was coming from (I’m a Virgo, c’mon!). His humor always landed well with me, and I loved watching him on those shows. Here he is in 1987, cracking up Johnny Carson! (From funnystuffcollector)
Rosie O’Donnell, One of these 80s stars whose stand-up I saw before she got into TV. To this day, I love and respect her perspective and stance on things because she believes in caring about other people — She wasn’t initially known as The Queen of Nice for nothing! — and she has a startling conviction about things that other people might disregard or choose to call her names for. That’s fine — she needs or heeds those opinions about as much as she needs another hole in her head. It is this defiance of the opinions of those around her that inspire and motivate me daily to just be me. Thanks, Ro, it means the world. Here’s a bit from one of her appearances on A&E’s An Evening at the Improv. (From VintageVHS)
Eddie Murphy, His name was truly made on the stand-up stage. I definitely saw his stand-up before I saw anything else (not when it was new, unfortunately), and noted his energy and potential immediately. Not too long after I saw that red, leather suit, I saw Beverly Hills Cop for the first time (again, not when it was new). And from there he just shot up, not even stopping over lesser films to keep on making the greats: alongside Beverly Hills Cop, there’s Dreamgirls, Coming to America, Trading Places, and 48 Hrs. And I actually kind of enjoyed Vampire in Brooklyn; feel free to take from that what you will. I have no shame. Here’s the full Delirious special — Ah, the red, leather suit… (From Taren Shakur-O’Brien)