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Garry Shandling, RIP
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The Larry Sanders Show was, to my mind, the third best sitcom of the Nineties, the peak decade of sitcoms, featuring two of the best supporting performances ever — Rip Torn as Artie, samurai producer, and Jeffrey Tambor as Hank, needy sidekick.

I can never find video of Shandling telling the joke about going camping in Sequoia — staying at the Sheraton — and he drives past a herd of cows and, we all do this, Garry rolls down his window to say “Moooooooo,” and the cow says to the other cow, “Oh, look, a cow driving a car. How can he afford that?”

 
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  1. The influence on Steve is unmistakable.

    • Replies: @Clyde

    The influence on Steve is unmistakable.
     
    It's uncanny.
  2. I remember his bit about people who call their dog a family member, “Ever try to give a dog a pill? No one in your family acts like that.” Something like that, but it was pretty funny.

  3. This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    • Replies: @Lugash
    Simpsons?
    , @J. Farmer
    Sorry to be an annoying pedant, but question begging has nothing to do with asking a question. It's a kind of logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in the premise.
    , @syonredux

    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?
     
    The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and The Larry Sanders Show
    , @Broski
    I'd guess Seinfeld and King of the Hill. Imagine a show having John Redcorn or Kohng Koy "Kahn" Souphanousinphone as characters today.
    , @Honesthughgrant
    The four best comedies of the 90s:

    Seinfeld
    The Simpsons
    Fraiser
    King of the Hill
  4. What are the other two? Seinfeld and…?

    • Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur
    I would guess Frasier.
    , @MarkinLA
    "Married with Children" was a documentary so it doesn't count.
    , @Josh
    Sienfeld and the Simpsons. Am I the only one who has ever read this site before?
    , @Coemgen
    The other greatest sitcom of the 90s has got to be Father Ted (Seinfeld for Irish Catholics).
  5. i loved “its gary shandlings show ” as a little kid

  6. @Corn
    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    Simpsons?

  7. @Anonymous
    What are the other two? Seinfeld and...?

    I would guess Frasier.

  8. Of the Larry Sanders show I remember two things: his mouth, which took up 90% of the screen, and the swearing. It seemed like the first sitcom to ever do that and it came across as a bit of a gimmick to seem cool.

  9. This is the theme to Garry’s funeral
    This is the theme to Garry’s funeral
    Garry called me up and asked to write his eulogy
    I’m almost halfway finished,
    How do you like it so far?
    How do you like the theme to Garry’s funeral?

    This is the theme to Garry’s funeral.
    The opening theme to Garry’s funeral.
    This is the music that you hear as you view the casket.
    We’re almost to the part of where I start to cryyy.
    Then we’ll leave Garry Shandling’s funeral.

  10. @Corn
    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    Sorry to be an annoying pedant, but question begging has nothing to do with asking a question. It’s a kind of logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

    • Agree: Percy Gryce
    • Replies: @marwan
    in 2016 these distinctions are no longer relevant
    , @Bill Jones
    "Beg the question" is a contraction of "begets the question" i.e. gives birth to.
    I've seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a "nice point" used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.
    , @Bill
    Give up. They will get tired of it and move on.

    Just a few years ago, everyone was using "parameter" to mean "perimeter," like "He ranged within the parameters of the discourse." Caused me no end of spergy rage. But, that is gone now. The morons have gone on to other mutilations of the language.

    "Begs the question" to mean "raises the question" will similarly just go away in a few years.

    I think we are probably stuck forever with "impact" and all of its retarded derivatives from people who can't keep "affect" and "effect" straight, though. That one does not seem to be going away. I'll be restraining myself in the nursing home from flipping out on some retired corporate middle manager babbling about how impactful the new color scheme is.
  11. I’ve got a few old friends who have worked off-camera in television and movies for years. When The Larry Sanders Show was running they all thought it was the closest representation available of what working in television was actually like.

  12. Lugash, I’m hoping The Simpsons are in there.

  13. +1 on The Larry Sanders Show. Very funny.

  14. @J. Farmer
    Sorry to be an annoying pedant, but question begging has nothing to do with asking a question. It's a kind of logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

    in 2016 these distinctions are no longer relevant

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    That's why we're losing. We (the culture) can't define terms. We can't make distinctions. We can't argue logically.
    , @Chrisnonymous
    I think the original phrase should have been "raises the question"...

    In 2016, it's becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It's one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
  15. @J. Farmer
    Sorry to be an annoying pedant, but question begging has nothing to do with asking a question. It's a kind of logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

    “Beg the question” is a contraction of “begets the question” i.e. gives birth to.
    I’ve seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a “nice point” used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.

    • Replies: @J. Farmer
    I'm aware of the phrase "begets the question," but I have never heard that explanation before. Virtually any usage note I have ever read considers the phrase "begs the question" as meaning raises the question as incorrect.
    , @Chrisnonymous

    cites
     
    You're just trolling us, aren't you?

    Seriously, have any links for that? Sounds plausible but couldn't find anything...

    Also, Cambridge Dictionary supports the first usage of "beg the question".
    , @Percy Gryce

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.
     
    No, the OED 2d ed. cites the logical-fallacy meaning first from the 1580s.
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Incorrect. The actual courtly Tudor insinuation is “births the query,” an utterance followed by tittering, flushed faces and the occasional retaliatory beheading.
  16. @marwan
    in 2016 these distinctions are no longer relevant

    That’s why we’re losing. We (the culture) can’t define terms. We can’t make distinctions. We can’t argue logically.

    • Agree: EriK
  17. @marwan
    in 2016 these distinctions are no longer relevant

    I think the original phrase should have been “raises the question”…

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    I think the original phrase should have been “raises the question”…

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     

    High IQed Ted Kaczynski had a habit of mixing up idiomatic proverbs. This is how he was uncovered. His brother recognized this same screwing up of idioms and phrases in his manifesto.
    , @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

  18. @Bill Jones
    "Beg the question" is a contraction of "begets the question" i.e. gives birth to.
    I've seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a "nice point" used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.

    I’m aware of the phrase “begets the question,” but I have never heard that explanation before. Virtually any usage note I have ever read considers the phrase “begs the question” as meaning raises the question as incorrect.

    • Replies: @Broski
    It means to skip over a ripe question, and thereby to impoverish, or beggar, the skipped question.
  19. @Bill Jones
    "Beg the question" is a contraction of "begets the question" i.e. gives birth to.
    I've seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a "nice point" used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.

    cites

    You’re just trolling us, aren’t you?

    Seriously, have any links for that? Sounds plausible but couldn’t find anything…

    Also, Cambridge Dictionary supports the first usage of “beg the question”.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    I believe, and it's 40 years ago now, that I saw it in "The Frank Muir book"
    By this chappie
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Muir

    We are (hopefully) in the process of moving house so most of my books are boxed up and in a storage unit.
    When we get settled I'll see if I can dig it out.
    I've got the 20 volume OED packed up too and it may add something to the question.
  20. Seinfeld and News Radio probably.

  21. The Larry Sanders Show was, to my mind, the third best sitcom of the Nineties, the peak decade of sitcoms, featuring two of the best supporting performances ever — Rip Torn as Artie, samurai producer, and Jeffrey Tambor as Hank, needy sidekick.

    Steve has good taste. I think The Larry Sanders Show was a bit ahead of its time. Today it would probably be first run on Netflix or Amazon Prime and people would be binge-watching it and there would be recaps on Salon/Slate.

    Speaking of Rip Torn, the Red Letter Media guys did a small, funny bit on him during a discussion of Men in Black III:

  22. Not my style of comedy, so I can’t judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of “ugly kids.” I’ve seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I’ve never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of “what do you say when someone’s kid is ugly?” routine that never sells with me. It’s really mean, since kids can’t defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I’ve noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some “ugly little Jew” , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can’t recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about “ugly kids of others.”

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird—why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    • Replies: @marwan
    Wow ,
    What fantastic thing to write in a memorial post about a well liked comedian who just died . But then again , what more can we expect from a Roosh sycophant .
    , @Dave Pinsen
    You're in the running with Steve Cuozzo for the lamest reaction to Shandling's passing:

    https://twitter.com/jhowellharris/status/713157536237625345
    , @V Vega

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of “ugly kids.” I’ve seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I’ve never looked at a child and seen ugly.
     
    I come from a family full of good-looking people. One kid in our family started modeling at 5 years old. We used to marvel at the fact that we didn't have any "clunkers."

    Then a couple of my cousins moved out of state, and married some really shitty looking men. They could marry anyone they wanted. They picked inbred-looking losers. Result was some depressingly ugly babies, who are growing into offensive looking children. We were hoping my cousin's genes would overwhelm the ugly spouse's genes, but no such luck! One of my cousins looked just like Liv Tyler, I still can't believe her husbands genes overruled hers. But they did.

    They keep posting pictures of their ugly dullard-looking children on Facebook, and it bums me out every time. I guess I'm just spoiled, but I despise looking at people's ugly kids, and being expected to act as if they don't repel me. I'm not exaggerating. These kids are fucking ugly. If you woke up in the middle of the night, and saw one of them standing at the foot of your bed, you'd hit the fucking ceiling.

    Every time my cousins post yet another fucking Facebook photo of their genetic malapropisms, I want to say, "Nobody forced you to marry that ugly man, and now you have ugly kids, and you want me to pretend they're NOT so you're not constantly reminded of your stupid ass mistake!"

    Anyway, there's plenty of ugly kids around, and if you "can't see it," you're neurotic.

    , @ScarletNumber
    If you think that some kids aren't ugly, then you are being obtuse.
    , @Brutusale
    You're in the Boston area, right? Don't take the abuse to heart. A lot of those commenting here have never lived among the 2%.

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you've got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you've already been watching Seinfeld for years. And I have enough of an ego to have no need to engage in status whoring.

    Are these guys amusing? Certainly. Transcendentally funny? No.
    , @Jefferson
    "So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can’t recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about “ugly kids of others.”

    Black women are the most openly blunt about making it perfectly clear when they think someone is ugly.

    Whenever I openly hear women say that Lil Wayne and Jay-Z for example are ugly, 9 times out of 10 it is coming from a Black woman.

    A lot of White women would also agree that those two men are ugly, but few would admit it in public for fear of being labeled racists. After all White women on average are even more politically correct than White men.
  23. @Bill Jones
    "Beg the question" is a contraction of "begets the question" i.e. gives birth to.
    I've seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a "nice point" used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    No, the OED 2d ed. cites the logical-fallacy meaning first from the 1580s.

  24. In my Apple computer dictionary, the first definition of “beg the question” includes “invite an obvious question,” which is how the original commenter Corn used it.

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce

    In my Apple computer dictionary, the first definition of “beg the question” includes “invite an obvious question,”
     
    That's an example of descriptive rather than prescriptive lexicography.

    That's letting the masses tell you about meaning.

    That's how we ended up with Obama as president.

  25. Aimee Mann on Gary. Oddly, they were both into boxing.

  26. @Grumpy
    In my Apple computer dictionary, the first definition of "beg the question" includes "invite an obvious question," which is how the original commenter Corn used it.

    In my Apple computer dictionary, the first definition of “beg the question” includes “invite an obvious question,”

    That’s an example of descriptive rather than prescriptive lexicography.

    That’s letting the masses tell you about meaning.

    That’s how we ended up with Obama as president.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    That’s how we ended up with Obama as president.
     
    And Apple as precedent.
  27. The Official Term in Latin (which is what makes it Official) is “petitio principii”. Petitio doesn’t mean “begets” the question. It means precisely “begging” it.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    Latin being what it is, petitio principii can also mean (in post-classical Latin, anyway, I think), at least when applied to the terms we are discussing, precisely "making a beggar out of the question", i.e., ignoring the question in such a way as to make people aware that the question is begging for an answer. This 'nuance' could, of course, have been missed by every dictionary writer who ever lived, because they were all drudges at heart, even the healthy ones with nice houses in the suburbs, so I am not concerned if you can quote your Oxfords and Websters and Bakers at me. Researchers interested in this should scan the oeuvre of Wodehouse and Thackeray and their colleagues and epigones for ringings of the changes on this and similar phrases.
  28. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Chrisnonymous
    I think the original phrase should have been "raises the question"...

    In 2016, it's becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It's one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.

    I think the original phrase should have been “raises the question”…

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.

    High IQed Ted Kaczynski had a habit of mixing up idiomatic proverbs. This is how he was uncovered. His brother recognized this same screwing up of idioms and phrases in his manifesto.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I don't think this is a very original idea, but I have a suspicion that the ability to see connections between things is a cognitive trait that has disorders like autism at one end and disorders like schizophrenia at the other. This is why people who take LSD see how everything in the universe is connected while LSD can also induce schizophrenia. When not completely disordered, the schizophrenia end of the spectrum would include genius and also non-beneficial characteristics like the one you describe of mixing idioms and phrases.

    Vis-a-vis my previous comment, I am not suggesting that the modern world has a high number of geniusy-like people, just people who never learned the phrases correctly in the first place.
    , @Lyov Myshkin
    Poor Ted with his 1200 horse power brain chewing on idioms for days like a dog chewing on a bone. Some of the Zodiac letters contain similarly idiosyncratic and odd uses of language.

    Sla
  29. @Percy Gryce

    In my Apple computer dictionary, the first definition of “beg the question” includes “invite an obvious question,”
     
    That's an example of descriptive rather than prescriptive lexicography.

    That's letting the masses tell you about meaning.

    That's how we ended up with Obama as president.

    That’s how we ended up with Obama as president.

    And Apple as precedent.

    • Agree: Percy Gryce
  30. Wow, Very ironic since I had just watched this:

    http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/garry-shandling-its-great-that-garry-shandling-is-still-alive

    It was a pretty morbid episode where he and Seinfeld talked a lot about Robin William’s death.

  31. There was no third best sitcom in the 90’s That’s why Sailer doesn’t list them . He knows that he would lose all credibility if he listed something like the the soft , gentle TP that Fraiser was . Shandling was on HBO so maybe he still counts , other than that it was Seinfeld and then please nothing but a long dry spell until “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” in the 2000’s and maybe the “Venture brothers ” If you people think anything else was funny in between then and now maybe we should go back to the 60’s and “Our Miss Brooks” with Eve Arden or “The many Loves of Dobie Gillis” . …

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Frasier was often hilarious, particularly the episodes where other characters thought Frasier was gay. It doesn't resonate as much as Seinfeld or Larry Sanders because it was more of an old-fashioned sitcom, with an emphasis on the situation part, but it was very well crafted.
    , @BenKenobi
    I am contractually obligated to second your love for both the Aqua Teens and Venture Bros.
    , @Clifford Brown
    I would also add Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm for the 2000's.

    Gary Shandling's interview on Marc Maron's WTF is pretty great. Shandling comes off as borderline zen in this interview.

    The interview starts at 14:00 mark.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCnQhQThleI
  32. No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2…..of course it’s Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they’d stopped in 1999.

    Anyone that says Mad About You is banned for a year.

    I really liked Get A Life but didn’t last very long. Larry Sanders definitely #3. Honorable mention Dr. Katz, News Radio.

    • Replies: @Chuck

    No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2…..of course it’s Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they’d stopped in 1999.
     
    Why would a decline from 1999 to 2000 dethrone it? It's average quality over the decade was still higher than any other sitcom in the 1990s, even Seinfeld. One can make a good argument that, measured by its first nine seasons, the Simpsons was the best tv show ever, or at least the most impactful.

    I endorse putting Larry Sanders high on the list. I binge rewatched it last year on Amazon Prime. It's held up well.
    , @NoseytheDuke
    If you read the book Planet Simpson (highly recommended) you'd know that The Simpsons is way better than Seinfeld. Seinfeld was funny and deserving of acclaim but the best of comedy reveals truth. There's more truth to be found in The Simpsons than in all of the network news broadcasts combined. Big truths, Seinfeld mostly confined itself to little truths.

    Shandling like the best of comedy purists knew that truth makes comedy more valuable and so dealt with truths, hence his popularity especially amongst peers.
  33. @Chrisnonymous
    I think the original phrase should have been "raises the question"...

    In 2016, it's becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It's one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.

    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don’t believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the ’90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    I don’t believe this age is going to last
     
    If you don't believe that, I have a kayak to sell you...
    , @PSR
    Intelligent Dasein - a serious question: why do you think we will be returning to some historical 'norm?' I think widespread communication, especially the internet, have changed everything. There are people who see norms as rallying points for revolution.

    Just think, you can't get elected president of the United States now unless you appear in a comedy sketch on television (SNL). Do you imagine the office will be returning to a more dignified status? Me either.
    , @SFG
    y so butthrt?
    , @xochitl hollander
    There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    Has Revilo Paindromic Oliver been reincarnated?
    , @Rob McX
    Yes, neologisms are coming thick and fast. If you stayed off the Net for a year these days, you'd be completely confused by all the new expressions in use when you'd come back to it. But it's easier nowadays to look up the meaning of a colloquial term. In the past, all you had to rely on were printed dictionaries of slang, which were usually obsolete by the time they were published.
    , @Bill
    pleonasms

    That's awesome.
  34. I, too, am curious about Steve’s No 1 and No 2 comedies of the nineties.

    Comedy is very much a matter of taste, but for me The Larry Sanders Show was the best comedy series ever to come out of the US.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren't quirky.
  35. @Richard of Melbourne
    I, too, am curious about Steve's No 1 and No 2 comedies of the nineties.

    Comedy is very much a matter of taste, but for me The Larry Sanders Show was the best comedy series ever to come out of the US.

    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren’t quirky.

    • Replies: @candid_observer
    Isn't a counter-contrarian an ordinarian?
    , @Jonah
    1. Simpsons
    2. Seinfeld
    , @donut
    Oh you ... you rascal you , you cut the last bit of my comment off . Probably for the better . So in return I will send you another delicious recipe .

    http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2015/07/youve-entered-calzone-zone.html

    Gl Hf , bon appetite .
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    After Miami Vice ended in 1989, there should have been a spin-off sitcom with the Izzy Moreno character.
  36. I don’t watch sitcoms, so I am out of the loop, but are sitcoms still popular now as they were in the 90’s ?

  37. @Anonymous

    I think the original phrase should have been “raises the question”…

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     

    High IQed Ted Kaczynski had a habit of mixing up idiomatic proverbs. This is how he was uncovered. His brother recognized this same screwing up of idioms and phrases in his manifesto.

    I don’t think this is a very original idea, but I have a suspicion that the ability to see connections between things is a cognitive trait that has disorders like autism at one end and disorders like schizophrenia at the other. This is why people who take LSD see how everything in the universe is connected while LSD can also induce schizophrenia. When not completely disordered, the schizophrenia end of the spectrum would include genius and also non-beneficial characteristics like the one you describe of mixing idioms and phrases.

    Vis-a-vis my previous comment, I am not suggesting that the modern world has a high number of geniusy-like people, just people who never learned the phrases correctly in the first place.

  38. @Anonymous
    What are the other two? Seinfeld and...?

    “Married with Children” was a documentary so it doesn’t count.

  39. @Steve Sailer
    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren't quirky.

    Isn’t a counter-contrarian an ordinarian?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Basically.
    , @Bill
    It's like anti-anti-Communist. You get to be a Communist while not only denying it but claiming victim status if anyone notices.
  40. @Anonymous
    What are the other two? Seinfeld and...?

    Sienfeld and the Simpsons. Am I the only one who has ever read this site before?

  41. @Steve Sailer
    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren't quirky.

    1. Simpsons
    2. Seinfeld

  42. Steve,
    No comment on TAY? I’m wondering what her conversation with Bill Gates was like… “I know that you and Paul were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.”

    https://twitter.com/_chrisnonymous/status/713146461664378880

  43. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    I don’t believe this age is going to last

    If you don’t believe that, I have a kayak to sell you…

  44. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    Intelligent Dasein – a serious question: why do you think we will be returning to some historical ‘norm?’ I think widespread communication, especially the internet, have changed everything. There are people who see norms as rallying points for revolution.

    Just think, you can’t get elected president of the United States now unless you appear in a comedy sketch on television (SNL). Do you imagine the office will be returning to a more dignified status? Me either.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    Do you imagine the office will be returning to a more dignified status? Me either.
     
    I see you meant this as a rhetorical question, but since I disagree with the implied premise, I cannot respond to it in that way. I do not think there will be any such thing as the Office of the American Presidency in 50 years' time. There will be something like imperators and proconsuls, but of course I cannot say exactly what the political forms of the future will be. It's a pretty safe bet, however, that the rules of courtly decorum will be strictly observed for their public appearances.

    As for the internet changing everything, let me respond with a rhetorical question of my own. Do you really think the internet is going to survive the next general mobilization? Of course it won't. It's too complicated, too labor-intensive, too expensive, too much of an intelligence liability, too much of a distraction, and too much of an easy target to be maintained under wartime conditions. In an all-out war between superpowers, the internet will be among the first things too go. Even in the absence of major war, the clock is already ticking down on the internet age. The declining marginal returns of technology, demographics, and the end of globalist trade policies will mean that IT becomes a very different beast in the near future.

  45. @Steve Sailer
    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren't quirky.

    Oh you … you rascal you , you cut the last bit of my comment off . Probably for the better . So in return I will send you another delicious recipe .

    http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2015/07/youve-entered-calzone-zone.html

    Gl Hf , bon appetite .

  46. @Danindc
    No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2.....of course it's Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they'd stopped in 1999.

    Anyone that says Mad About You is banned for a year.

    I really liked Get A Life but didn't last very long. Larry Sanders definitely #3. Honorable mention Dr. Katz, News Radio.

    No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2…..of course it’s Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they’d stopped in 1999.

    Why would a decline from 1999 to 2000 dethrone it? It’s average quality over the decade was still higher than any other sitcom in the 1990s, even Seinfeld. One can make a good argument that, measured by its first nine seasons, the Simpsons was the best tv show ever, or at least the most impactful.

    I endorse putting Larry Sanders high on the list. I binge rewatched it last year on Amazon Prime. It’s held up well.

    • Replies: @Danindc
    Seinfeld left on top. The Simpsons took a steep decline in 2000. It's now unwatchable. I penalize them for that but you're right it was the best sitcom in the 90's.
  47. @candid_observer
    Isn't a counter-contrarian an ordinarian?

    Basically.

  48. @donut
    There was no third best sitcom in the 90's That's why Sailer doesn't list them . He knows that he would lose all credibility if he listed something like the the soft , gentle TP that Fraiser was . Shandling was on HBO so maybe he still counts , other than that it was Seinfeld and then please nothing but a long dry spell until "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" in the 2000's and maybe the "Venture brothers " If you people think anything else was funny in between then and now maybe we should go back to the 60's and "Our Miss Brooks" with Eve Arden or "The many Loves of Dobie Gillis" . ...

    Frasier was often hilarious, particularly the episodes where other characters thought Frasier was gay. It doesn’t resonate as much as Seinfeld or Larry Sanders because it was more of an old-fashioned sitcom, with an emphasis on the situation part, but it was very well crafted.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three's Company.
    , @Polynikes
    Agreed. The first 5 seasons are really good.

    I've been rewatching it on Netflix, and one thing I noticed is the use of a lot of upper class prissy vs gay humor. It almost makes it feel dated in a PC way. It's funny, too, because I think several of the leading actors were gay in real life. Even so, I don't think they could get away with it today.

    Btw, I don't think cartoons are sitcoms despite The Simpson's brilliance.
  49. @Dave Pinsen
    Frasier was often hilarious, particularly the episodes where other characters thought Frasier was gay. It doesn't resonate as much as Seinfeld or Larry Sanders because it was more of an old-fashioned sitcom, with an emphasis on the situation part, but it was very well crafted.

    Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three’s Company.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Three's Company was great.
    , @The Alarmist

    "Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three’s Company."
     
    You say that as if it's a bad thing?
  50. @Chuck

    No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2…..of course it’s Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they’d stopped in 1999.
     
    Why would a decline from 1999 to 2000 dethrone it? It's average quality over the decade was still higher than any other sitcom in the 1990s, even Seinfeld. One can make a good argument that, measured by its first nine seasons, the Simpsons was the best tv show ever, or at least the most impactful.

    I endorse putting Larry Sanders high on the list. I binge rewatched it last year on Amazon Prime. It's held up well.

    Seinfeld left on top. The Simpsons took a steep decline in 2000. It’s now unwatchable. I penalize them for that but you’re right it was the best sitcom in the 90’s.

  51. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    Wow ,
    What fantastic thing to write in a memorial post about a well liked comedian who just died . But then again , what more can we expect from a Roosh sycophant .

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    Define "well-liked." He had name recognition and critical appeal, but his show was low-rated and his movies flopped. In short, he was a darling of a very small group of Hollywood insiders and critics.

    I didn't say he was a bad comedian; I said he didn't appeal to my humor. But humor is subjective; you can't call someone not funny just because you don't laugh at them. You can call them not funny if NO one laughs at them (like Jack Black). Clearly, Shandling had an audience that found him funny, which is how his shows were kept on the air and how he got supporting roles in good movies (his turns in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were well done).

    Shandling wasn't my type of guy, but that's hardly a knock. I noted his "ugly kid" routine as being dissonant and mean and perhaps related to Jewish male obsession with their own looks. Care to comment on that, hoss?
  52. @Reg Cæsar
    The influence on Steve is unmistakable.

    The influence on Steve is unmistakable.

    It’s uncanny.

  53. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    y so butthrt?

  54. @donut
    There was no third best sitcom in the 90's That's why Sailer doesn't list them . He knows that he would lose all credibility if he listed something like the the soft , gentle TP that Fraiser was . Shandling was on HBO so maybe he still counts , other than that it was Seinfeld and then please nothing but a long dry spell until "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" in the 2000's and maybe the "Venture brothers " If you people think anything else was funny in between then and now maybe we should go back to the 60's and "Our Miss Brooks" with Eve Arden or "The many Loves of Dobie Gillis" . ...

    I am contractually obligated to second your love for both the Aqua Teens and Venture Bros.

    • Agree: MEH 0910
  55. @Bill Jones
    "Beg the question" is a contraction of "begets the question" i.e. gives birth to.
    I've seen cites of this use back to Tudor England.

    The logical fallacy meaning in English is fairly recent I believe.

    But then the word nice has also been redefined over the last few centuries, a "nice point" used mean a point of astonishingly small difference from another point as to be meaningless.

    Incorrect. The actual courtly Tudor insinuation is “births the query,” an utterance followed by tittering, flushed faces and the occasional retaliatory beheading.

  56. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    You’re in the running with Steve Cuozzo for the lamest reaction to Shandling’s passing:

    https://twitter.com/jhowellharris/status/713157536237625345

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    I'm sorry Dave; let me bow down before the comedic genius of Garry Shandling and genuflect and say only hagiographic things. (/sarcasm)

    Cuozzo is right about his show being a media pet; few people were watching, and it never became a hit in reruns; the same few people watching it in the 1990s are the same people (and their kids) watching it on Netflix. The proof is in the ratings: Shandling had great appeal to a very limited audience, and continues to do so. If you're a Hollywood insider or snark-filled critic, he's a wunderkind, but to most people he's really not their cup of tea.

    I'll bet you think Arrested Development was perfection as well. Here's a hint: no one watched it, and no one watched the revival. If you liked either show, you're in a very small minority.

    Now, to be fair I saw a few episodes of Larry Sanders and found them well-done---just not very funny to me, and not interesting enough for me to go find more. I saw the Sarah Silverman as a female writer episode and thought it was cogent and interesting and had a nice writing style. And I loved the "gay Jews run this town" line. But there was far too much visual name-dropping and the like and too snarky-insider-Jewish-insecurity things going on to latch on to or make me laugh. Normal people really aren't that interested in the neurosis of famous-but-insecure fame-hungry-but-paranoid stars---only the like-minded are, which, again, is a very small minority in this country.

  57. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Microsoft made a twitter AI bot that learns by interacting with other twitter users. Looks like they programmed it well because within a few minutes the bot was saying “racist” things and criticising feminism. The bot has now been shut down and is being reprogrammed so that it doesn’t say racist and anti-feminist things.

    This is hilarious
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/24/tay-microsofts-ai-chatbot-gets-a-crash-course-in-racism-from-twitter

  58. I don’t remember Bob Newhart and Ann Coulter agreeing on anything before.

  59. @PSR
    Intelligent Dasein - a serious question: why do you think we will be returning to some historical 'norm?' I think widespread communication, especially the internet, have changed everything. There are people who see norms as rallying points for revolution.

    Just think, you can't get elected president of the United States now unless you appear in a comedy sketch on television (SNL). Do you imagine the office will be returning to a more dignified status? Me either.

    Do you imagine the office will be returning to a more dignified status? Me either.

    I see you meant this as a rhetorical question, but since I disagree with the implied premise, I cannot respond to it in that way. I do not think there will be any such thing as the Office of the American Presidency in 50 years’ time. There will be something like imperators and proconsuls, but of course I cannot say exactly what the political forms of the future will be. It’s a pretty safe bet, however, that the rules of courtly decorum will be strictly observed for their public appearances.

    As for the internet changing everything, let me respond with a rhetorical question of my own. Do you really think the internet is going to survive the next general mobilization? Of course it won’t. It’s too complicated, too labor-intensive, too expensive, too much of an intelligence liability, too much of a distraction, and too much of an easy target to be maintained under wartime conditions. In an all-out war between superpowers, the internet will be among the first things too go. Even in the absence of major war, the clock is already ticking down on the internet age. The declining marginal returns of technology, demographics, and the end of globalist trade policies will mean that IT becomes a very different beast in the near future.

  60. @Steve Sailer
    As a counter-contrarian, my choices for top 2 sitcoms of the 90s aren't quirky.

    After Miami Vice ended in 1989, there should have been a spin-off sitcom with the Izzy Moreno character.

  61. He looks so. . . itchy in that video. His suit, his hair and his tie all make me want to scratch all over. Carson’s styles make me feel like itching as well. Same goes for the clothes featured in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

    Was clothing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s more itchy than today’s wares?

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    I wore lots of clothes like that. We - at least those of us with average or above average levels of testosterone - were just more used to being uncomfortable. It was not a big deal. We were not really interested in a life that had lots of safe spaces. Whether we were right or wrong, who knows.
    , @Busby
    No. Mostly 100% wool, or worsted. Typically lasted forever if you took care of it. Never threw out a suit or sport coat because of wear. Always because they went out of style. Carson was so much of a clothes horse and trend setter, he teamed up with Hart Shaffner and Marx to introduce his own line of menswear.

    I still have a dog eared copy of "Dress for Success" on my shelf. But hardly ever wear a suit.
  62. @PatrickH
    The Official Term in Latin (which is what makes it Official) is "petitio principii". Petitio doesn't mean "begets" the question. It means precisely "begging" it.

    Latin being what it is, petitio principii can also mean (in post-classical Latin, anyway, I think), at least when applied to the terms we are discussing, precisely “making a beggar out of the question”, i.e., ignoring the question in such a way as to make people aware that the question is begging for an answer. This ‘nuance’ could, of course, have been missed by every dictionary writer who ever lived, because they were all drudges at heart, even the healthy ones with nice houses in the suburbs, so I am not concerned if you can quote your Oxfords and Websters and Bakers at me. Researchers interested in this should scan the oeuvre of Wodehouse and Thackeray and their colleagues and epigones for ringings of the changes on this and similar phrases.

    • Replies: @G Pinfold
    You have point, but my sympathies are with the pedants for a simple reason. We know where tolerance leads. Today it's OK to use 'disinterested' when you mean 'uninterested', tomorrow it's mandatory. We have all but lost 'nice'. You can prize my 'question begging' out of my cold dead gums.
  63. Lyov Myshkin [AKA "Nicholas White"] says:
    @Anonymous

    I think the original phrase should have been “raises the question”…

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     

    High IQed Ted Kaczynski had a habit of mixing up idiomatic proverbs. This is how he was uncovered. His brother recognized this same screwing up of idioms and phrases in his manifesto.

    Poor Ted with his 1200 horse power brain chewing on idioms for days like a dog chewing on a bone. Some of the Zodiac letters contain similarly idiosyncratic and odd uses of language.

    Sla

  64. “You know who runs this town, don’t you?”
    “The Jews?”
    “The gay Jews!”

    Gary Shandling’s interview with Ricky Gervais is something special. I think that after that they cancelled Ricky’s interview show.

  65. @Corn
    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and The Larry Sanders Show

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    I am neither proud nor unhappy about this, but I probably have watched more hours of 1960s sitcoms than 99 percent of the population. While I respect, from the point of view of someone with little knowledge of the subject, Steve's assessment of the best one two three sitcoms of the 90s (without a doubt he means Seinfeld the Simpsons and the Shandling show) I think it is inevitable that, within a few decades, all people will care about will be the highlights. Maybe the Simpsons will come to be known as "that show Phil Hartman worked on". Anyways, having watched so many 60s sitcom episodes, I think the main take-away is not so much any more whether they actually made you, forgetful of your troubles, laugh (a.k.a. the Heinleinian question - did the customers spend well the time and money on watching your show that they could have spent on a beer at the bar at the local VFW) but whether whatever they did to try to entertain was genuinely based on the basic human impulse (leaving aside for the moment whether in light of the Arminian controversy the impulse could be thought of as basic) to *generously* make the rest of us feel some respite from our troubles (that is all Gilligan wanted to do, after all) or were they doing what the Book of Proverbs warns against, wasting our time? Hoping he was able to appreciate that he had a good run and hoping that he was as generous as he wanted to be, I will pray for young Mr Shandling tonight.
  66. @Anonymous
    What are the other two? Seinfeld and...?

    The other greatest sitcom of the 90s has got to be Father Ted (Seinfeld for Irish Catholics).

  67. Scheisse, Steve, we are losing all of our icons of the 60’s-70’s/80’s when we were kids…scheisse! All the people that made us smile, laugh, think, wish, pretend (…awww the Pretenders – no one dead yet there)…sounds pathetic…but not for us babies born in 1955-1965…a crucial era. The creative people we have loved and revered are dying so often lately…hopefully, their legacies are left behind for the next generation: their thoughts, talents, actions. God, I feel old!

    • Replies: @xochitl hollander
    If James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon aren't dead I don't know who is.
    , @Lagertha
    My duh.
  68. @Yak-15
    He looks so. . . itchy in that video. His suit, his hair and his tie all make me want to scratch all over. Carson's styles make me feel like itching as well. Same goes for the clothes featured in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

    Was clothing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s more itchy than today's wares?

    I wore lots of clothes like that. We – at least those of us with average or above average levels of testosterone – were just more used to being uncomfortable. It was not a big deal. We were not really interested in a life that had lots of safe spaces. Whether we were right or wrong, who knows.

  69. @ScarletNumber
    Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three's Company.

    Three’s Company was great.

  70. @syonredux

    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?
     
    The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and The Larry Sanders Show

    I am neither proud nor unhappy about this, but I probably have watched more hours of 1960s sitcoms than 99 percent of the population. While I respect, from the point of view of someone with little knowledge of the subject, Steve’s assessment of the best one two three sitcoms of the 90s (without a doubt he means Seinfeld the Simpsons and the Shandling show) I think it is inevitable that, within a few decades, all people will care about will be the highlights. Maybe the Simpsons will come to be known as “that show Phil Hartman worked on”. Anyways, having watched so many 60s sitcom episodes, I think the main take-away is not so much any more whether they actually made you, forgetful of your troubles, laugh (a.k.a. the Heinleinian question – did the customers spend well the time and money on watching your show that they could have spent on a beer at the bar at the local VFW) but whether whatever they did to try to entertain was genuinely based on the basic human impulse (leaving aside for the moment whether in light of the Arminian controversy the impulse could be thought of as basic) to *generously* make the rest of us feel some respite from our troubles (that is all Gilligan wanted to do, after all) or were they doing what the Book of Proverbs warns against, wasting our time? Hoping he was able to appreciate that he had a good run and hoping that he was as generous as he wanted to be, I will pray for young Mr Shandling tonight.

  71. @Dave Pinsen
    Frasier was often hilarious, particularly the episodes where other characters thought Frasier was gay. It doesn't resonate as much as Seinfeld or Larry Sanders because it was more of an old-fashioned sitcom, with an emphasis on the situation part, but it was very well crafted.

    Agreed. The first 5 seasons are really good.

    I’ve been rewatching it on Netflix, and one thing I noticed is the use of a lot of upper class prissy vs gay humor. It almost makes it feel dated in a PC way. It’s funny, too, because I think several of the leading actors were gay in real life. Even so, I don’t think they could get away with it today.

    Btw, I don’t think cartoons are sitcoms despite The Simpson’s brilliance.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier's brother (and looked like he could actually be his brother) was obviously gay. Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad's Cockney home health aide.

    Agreed about the Simpsons. A famous animator described it as an old school radio comedy with pictures.
  72. big time Scheisse – all the MSM right now, are trying to do a ‘take-down’, again, of DT. Could they just leave us alone for ONE night? (it is Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday tomorrow, after all) or, comment back to me in Finnish.

  73. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    Has Revilo Paindromic Oliver been reincarnated?

  74. @Lagertha
    Scheisse, Steve, we are losing all of our icons of the 60's-70's/80's when we were kids...scheisse! All the people that made us smile, laugh, think, wish, pretend (...awww the Pretenders - no one dead yet there)...sounds pathetic...but not for us babies born in 1955-1965...a crucial era. The creative people we have loved and revered are dying so often lately...hopefully, their legacies are left behind for the next generation: their thoughts, talents, actions. God, I feel old!

    If James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon aren’t dead I don’t know who is.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I saw them in 1980.
  75. @xochitl hollander
    If James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon aren't dead I don't know who is.

    I saw them in 1980.

  76. The key thing about this video is how awesome Jewish fathers can be. Starting at about 5:00 he talks about his father, and the love in his heart shines through.

  77. @Corn
    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    I’d guess Seinfeld and King of the Hill. Imagine a show having John Redcorn or Kohng Koy “Kahn” Souphanousinphone as characters today.

  78. @donut
    There was no third best sitcom in the 90's That's why Sailer doesn't list them . He knows that he would lose all credibility if he listed something like the the soft , gentle TP that Fraiser was . Shandling was on HBO so maybe he still counts , other than that it was Seinfeld and then please nothing but a long dry spell until "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" in the 2000's and maybe the "Venture brothers " If you people think anything else was funny in between then and now maybe we should go back to the 60's and "Our Miss Brooks" with Eve Arden or "The many Loves of Dobie Gillis" . ...

    I would also add Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm for the 2000’s.

    Gary Shandling’s interview on Marc Maron’s WTF is pretty great. Shandling comes off as borderline zen in this interview.

    The interview starts at 14:00 mark.

  79. @J. Farmer
    I'm aware of the phrase "begets the question," but I have never heard that explanation before. Virtually any usage note I have ever read considers the phrase "begs the question" as meaning raises the question as incorrect.

    It means to skip over a ripe question, and thereby to impoverish, or beggar, the skipped question.

  80. @marwan
    Wow ,
    What fantastic thing to write in a memorial post about a well liked comedian who just died . But then again , what more can we expect from a Roosh sycophant .

    Define “well-liked.” He had name recognition and critical appeal, but his show was low-rated and his movies flopped. In short, he was a darling of a very small group of Hollywood insiders and critics.

    I didn’t say he was a bad comedian; I said he didn’t appeal to my humor. But humor is subjective; you can’t call someone not funny just because you don’t laugh at them. You can call them not funny if NO one laughs at them (like Jack Black). Clearly, Shandling had an audience that found him funny, which is how his shows were kept on the air and how he got supporting roles in good movies (his turns in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were well done).

    Shandling wasn’t my type of guy, but that’s hardly a knock. I noted his “ugly kid” routine as being dissonant and mean and perhaps related to Jewish male obsession with their own looks. Care to comment on that, hoss?

  81. @Polynikes
    Agreed. The first 5 seasons are really good.

    I've been rewatching it on Netflix, and one thing I noticed is the use of a lot of upper class prissy vs gay humor. It almost makes it feel dated in a PC way. It's funny, too, because I think several of the leading actors were gay in real life. Even so, I don't think they could get away with it today.

    Btw, I don't think cartoons are sitcoms despite The Simpson's brilliance.

    David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier’s brother (and looked like he could actually be his brother) was obviously gay. Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad’s Cockney home health aide.

    Agreed about the Simpsons. A famous animator described it as an old school radio comedy with pictures.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    That was very odd. They were completely unmatched in terms of social background too, as if his being gay weren't enough. It was as if it were some kind of in joke with the show's writers to depict such a ludicrously implausible infatuation.
    , @Glaivester

    Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad’s Cockney home health aide.
     
    Mancunian, not Cockney.

    Although a running gag did appear to be that all of her brothers had different accents. I think Simon's was Cockney (btw the actor was an Italian/Dutch hybrid from Australia).
  82. @Dave Pinsen
    You're in the running with Steve Cuozzo for the lamest reaction to Shandling's passing:

    https://twitter.com/jhowellharris/status/713157536237625345

    I’m sorry Dave; let me bow down before the comedic genius of Garry Shandling and genuflect and say only hagiographic things. (/sarcasm)

    Cuozzo is right about his show being a media pet; few people were watching, and it never became a hit in reruns; the same few people watching it in the 1990s are the same people (and their kids) watching it on Netflix. The proof is in the ratings: Shandling had great appeal to a very limited audience, and continues to do so. If you’re a Hollywood insider or snark-filled critic, he’s a wunderkind, but to most people he’s really not their cup of tea.

    I’ll bet you think Arrested Development was perfection as well. Here’s a hint: no one watched it, and no one watched the revival. If you liked either show, you’re in a very small minority.

    Now, to be fair I saw a few episodes of Larry Sanders and found them well-done—just not very funny to me, and not interesting enough for me to go find more. I saw the Sarah Silverman as a female writer episode and thought it was cogent and interesting and had a nice writing style. And I loved the “gay Jews run this town” line. But there was far too much visual name-dropping and the like and too snarky-insider-Jewish-insecurity things going on to latch on to or make me laugh. Normal people really aren’t that interested in the neurosis of famous-but-insecure fame-hungry-but-paranoid stars—only the like-minded are, which, again, is a very small minority in this country.

    • Replies: @Whiskey
    I never saw "Larry Sanders" but "the Gary Shandling Show" on Fox was brilliant. He'd do these elaborate, SCTV style parodies of movies like the Fugitive with hilarious low budget "chase" scenes and it had me laughing so hard it hurt.

    Not every episode was funny, but when the man hit a home run it really left the ballpark in a hurry. In that regard he was a bit like Conan O'Brien or Robert Smigel (SNL's "TV Funhouse" and "Garry and Ace, the Ambigously Gay Duo" and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog).

    [Incidentally, Smigel seems to be the only one able to get away with mocking gays, I don't know how he does it.]

    Bob Newhart is considered funny, but the Newhart Shows were never ever ratings hits either. Though in comedy Newhart is more like a high average singles hitter than the swing/miss/home run hitter like Shandling.

    I assume Steve's #1 90's Sitcom was of course, the immortal "Beavis and Butthead" on MTV, and #2 early South Park.

    Its interesting that Sanders seemed to be the only one who saw how wildly funny SCTV was, and incorporated their elaborate parodies that sometimes ran over several episodes ("forget it Johnny, it's Polynesian Town" where John Candy as "Johnny LaRue" was berated for using a crane shot that cost too much money in the Polynesian Town parody of Chinatown with musical guest Doctor John.) SCTV for a variety of reasons -- it competed with insider SNL, it was Canadian, it was on too late -- never really caught on. But its available on DVD and a lot of the skits were brilliant. But it was very 1980s, which meant among other things it was very un PC. Maybe that's why so few copied the idea. Other than of course, Shandling.

    , @Dave Pinsen
    Do what you want. Shandling just got eulogized by Norm MacDonald in a great tweet storm. To paraphrase Auden, that's worth a thousand Troys.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don't think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing "Larry Sanders."

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn't come easy for him.
  83. It’s not everyone who gets to be immortalized in a Butthole Surfers tune:

  84. @middle aged vet
    Latin being what it is, petitio principii can also mean (in post-classical Latin, anyway, I think), at least when applied to the terms we are discussing, precisely "making a beggar out of the question", i.e., ignoring the question in such a way as to make people aware that the question is begging for an answer. This 'nuance' could, of course, have been missed by every dictionary writer who ever lived, because they were all drudges at heart, even the healthy ones with nice houses in the suburbs, so I am not concerned if you can quote your Oxfords and Websters and Bakers at me. Researchers interested in this should scan the oeuvre of Wodehouse and Thackeray and their colleagues and epigones for ringings of the changes on this and similar phrases.

    You have point, but my sympathies are with the pedants for a simple reason. We know where tolerance leads. Today it’s OK to use ‘disinterested’ when you mean ‘uninterested’, tomorrow it’s mandatory. We have all but lost ‘nice’. You can prize my ‘question begging’ out of my cold dead gums.

  85. What about Arliss or 30 Rock?

  86. @whorefinder
    I'm sorry Dave; let me bow down before the comedic genius of Garry Shandling and genuflect and say only hagiographic things. (/sarcasm)

    Cuozzo is right about his show being a media pet; few people were watching, and it never became a hit in reruns; the same few people watching it in the 1990s are the same people (and their kids) watching it on Netflix. The proof is in the ratings: Shandling had great appeal to a very limited audience, and continues to do so. If you're a Hollywood insider or snark-filled critic, he's a wunderkind, but to most people he's really not their cup of tea.

    I'll bet you think Arrested Development was perfection as well. Here's a hint: no one watched it, and no one watched the revival. If you liked either show, you're in a very small minority.

    Now, to be fair I saw a few episodes of Larry Sanders and found them well-done---just not very funny to me, and not interesting enough for me to go find more. I saw the Sarah Silverman as a female writer episode and thought it was cogent and interesting and had a nice writing style. And I loved the "gay Jews run this town" line. But there was far too much visual name-dropping and the like and too snarky-insider-Jewish-insecurity things going on to latch on to or make me laugh. Normal people really aren't that interested in the neurosis of famous-but-insecure fame-hungry-but-paranoid stars---only the like-minded are, which, again, is a very small minority in this country.

    I never saw “Larry Sanders” but “the Gary Shandling Show” on Fox was brilliant. He’d do these elaborate, SCTV style parodies of movies like the Fugitive with hilarious low budget “chase” scenes and it had me laughing so hard it hurt.

    Not every episode was funny, but when the man hit a home run it really left the ballpark in a hurry. In that regard he was a bit like Conan O’Brien or Robert Smigel (SNL’s “TV Funhouse” and “Garry and Ace, the Ambigously Gay Duo” and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog).

    [Incidentally, Smigel seems to be the only one able to get away with mocking gays, I don’t know how he does it.]

    Bob Newhart is considered funny, but the Newhart Shows were never ever ratings hits either. Though in comedy Newhart is more like a high average singles hitter than the swing/miss/home run hitter like Shandling.

    I assume Steve’s #1 90’s Sitcom was of course, the immortal “Beavis and Butthead” on MTV, and #2 early South Park.

    Its interesting that Sanders seemed to be the only one who saw how wildly funny SCTV was, and incorporated their elaborate parodies that sometimes ran over several episodes (“forget it Johnny, it’s Polynesian Town” where John Candy as “Johnny LaRue” was berated for using a crane shot that cost too much money in the Polynesian Town parody of Chinatown with musical guest Doctor John.) SCTV for a variety of reasons — it competed with insider SNL, it was Canadian, it was on too late — never really caught on. But its available on DVD and a lot of the skits were brilliant. But it was very 1980s, which meant among other things it was very un PC. Maybe that’s why so few copied the idea. Other than of course, Shandling.

  87. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of “ugly kids.” I’ve seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I’ve never looked at a child and seen ugly.

    I come from a family full of good-looking people. One kid in our family started modeling at 5 years old. We used to marvel at the fact that we didn’t have any “clunkers.”

    Then a couple of my cousins moved out of state, and married some really shitty looking men. They could marry anyone they wanted. They picked inbred-looking losers. Result was some depressingly ugly babies, who are growing into offensive looking children. We were hoping my cousin’s genes would overwhelm the ugly spouse’s genes, but no such luck! One of my cousins looked just like Liv Tyler, I still can’t believe her husbands genes overruled hers. But they did.

    They keep posting pictures of their ugly dullard-looking children on Facebook, and it bums me out every time. I guess I’m just spoiled, but I despise looking at people’s ugly kids, and being expected to act as if they don’t repel me. I’m not exaggerating. These kids are fucking ugly. If you woke up in the middle of the night, and saw one of them standing at the foot of your bed, you’d hit the fucking ceiling.

    Every time my cousins post yet another fucking Facebook photo of their genetic malapropisms, I want to say, “Nobody forced you to marry that ugly man, and now you have ugly kids, and you want me to pretend they’re NOT so you’re not constantly reminded of your stupid ass mistake!”

    Anyway, there’s plenty of ugly kids around, and if you “can’t see it,” you’re neurotic.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    This is one of the funnier posts I've read here on iSteve.
    , @Danindc
    You're not fitting in as a commenter here. It's just not working out. Take your business elsewhere. Sorry.
  88. @whorefinder
    I'm sorry Dave; let me bow down before the comedic genius of Garry Shandling and genuflect and say only hagiographic things. (/sarcasm)

    Cuozzo is right about his show being a media pet; few people were watching, and it never became a hit in reruns; the same few people watching it in the 1990s are the same people (and their kids) watching it on Netflix. The proof is in the ratings: Shandling had great appeal to a very limited audience, and continues to do so. If you're a Hollywood insider or snark-filled critic, he's a wunderkind, but to most people he's really not their cup of tea.

    I'll bet you think Arrested Development was perfection as well. Here's a hint: no one watched it, and no one watched the revival. If you liked either show, you're in a very small minority.

    Now, to be fair I saw a few episodes of Larry Sanders and found them well-done---just not very funny to me, and not interesting enough for me to go find more. I saw the Sarah Silverman as a female writer episode and thought it was cogent and interesting and had a nice writing style. And I loved the "gay Jews run this town" line. But there was far too much visual name-dropping and the like and too snarky-insider-Jewish-insecurity things going on to latch on to or make me laugh. Normal people really aren't that interested in the neurosis of famous-but-insecure fame-hungry-but-paranoid stars---only the like-minded are, which, again, is a very small minority in this country.

    Do what you want. Shandling just got eulogized by Norm MacDonald in a great tweet storm. To paraphrase Auden, that’s worth a thousand Troys.

  89. @whorefinder
    I'm sorry Dave; let me bow down before the comedic genius of Garry Shandling and genuflect and say only hagiographic things. (/sarcasm)

    Cuozzo is right about his show being a media pet; few people were watching, and it never became a hit in reruns; the same few people watching it in the 1990s are the same people (and their kids) watching it on Netflix. The proof is in the ratings: Shandling had great appeal to a very limited audience, and continues to do so. If you're a Hollywood insider or snark-filled critic, he's a wunderkind, but to most people he's really not their cup of tea.

    I'll bet you think Arrested Development was perfection as well. Here's a hint: no one watched it, and no one watched the revival. If you liked either show, you're in a very small minority.

    Now, to be fair I saw a few episodes of Larry Sanders and found them well-done---just not very funny to me, and not interesting enough for me to go find more. I saw the Sarah Silverman as a female writer episode and thought it was cogent and interesting and had a nice writing style. And I loved the "gay Jews run this town" line. But there was far too much visual name-dropping and the like and too snarky-insider-Jewish-insecurity things going on to latch on to or make me laugh. Normal people really aren't that interested in the neurosis of famous-but-insecure fame-hungry-but-paranoid stars---only the like-minded are, which, again, is a very small minority in this country.

    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don’t think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing “Larry Sanders.”

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn’t come easy for him.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Nice tribute here by Conan:

    https://twitter.com/teamcoco/status/713158304826941440
    , @whorefinder
    He was also a union-busting scab; I'm quite surprised that never stuck to him in heavily left-wing Hollywood--in a place where Elia Kazan could get the cold shoulder for a lifetime achievement award. No one mentioned Shandling crossing the picket line to get to on the stage during the early 80s---or how his family was apparently the only anti-union Jews not named Milton Friedman.
    , @whorefinder
    P.S. I think the best way you can sum up Shandling is the phrase "a comedian's comedian."

    Works for both sides of the coin.
    , @NoseytheDuke
    Steve, Shandling certainly had the durability to do five shows a week, he didn't get the chance. There are legions of struggling comedians across the US emailing and faxing in one-liners to the Tonight Show on a daily basis. As I recall the going rate is $50 for each one they use so there's never a shortage of material.

    Leno was so unfunny as to be almost unwatchable. It says a lot about the US that its highest paid comedian was both safe and unfunny always. Leno could never sell a joke, he would just read them off in a "Here are the jokes, folks" style.

    Shandling had more comedic skill in a single toenail than Leno has in his entire petty, vindictive and greedy fat body.
  90. @Steve Sailer
    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don't think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing "Larry Sanders."

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn't come easy for him.

    Nice tribute here by Conan:

    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    cf The Best Of Garry Shandling & Conan, at 3:20 he's being terribly pc re immigration etc. maybe just to please conan and his crowd. I like them both, great comedians, but...
  91. @V Vega

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of “ugly kids.” I’ve seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I’ve never looked at a child and seen ugly.
     
    I come from a family full of good-looking people. One kid in our family started modeling at 5 years old. We used to marvel at the fact that we didn't have any "clunkers."

    Then a couple of my cousins moved out of state, and married some really shitty looking men. They could marry anyone they wanted. They picked inbred-looking losers. Result was some depressingly ugly babies, who are growing into offensive looking children. We were hoping my cousin's genes would overwhelm the ugly spouse's genes, but no such luck! One of my cousins looked just like Liv Tyler, I still can't believe her husbands genes overruled hers. But they did.

    They keep posting pictures of their ugly dullard-looking children on Facebook, and it bums me out every time. I guess I'm just spoiled, but I despise looking at people's ugly kids, and being expected to act as if they don't repel me. I'm not exaggerating. These kids are fucking ugly. If you woke up in the middle of the night, and saw one of them standing at the foot of your bed, you'd hit the fucking ceiling.

    Every time my cousins post yet another fucking Facebook photo of their genetic malapropisms, I want to say, "Nobody forced you to marry that ugly man, and now you have ugly kids, and you want me to pretend they're NOT so you're not constantly reminded of your stupid ass mistake!"

    Anyway, there's plenty of ugly kids around, and if you "can't see it," you're neurotic.

    This is one of the funnier posts I’ve read here on iSteve.

  92. There’s some talk of death in this episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s web series with Garry Shandling, but it’s pretty funny. With Jerry’s tan and buzz cut, the resemblance between him and Vin Diesel that Steve’s mentioned is a little more apparent.

    John Hussman, btw, is a Stanford finance PhD who runs a mutual fund company and is also an autism researcher. Shandling followed the same Buddhist monk as Hussman.

  93. For some reason, this site isn’t showing the tweet previews when I paste them in from my phone. Sorry. Still worth a watch.

  94. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    Yes, neologisms are coming thick and fast. If you stayed off the Net for a year these days, you’d be completely confused by all the new expressions in use when you’d come back to it. But it’s easier nowadays to look up the meaning of a colloquial term. In the past, all you had to rely on were printed dictionaries of slang, which were usually obsolete by the time they were published.

  95. @Dave Pinsen
    David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier's brother (and looked like he could actually be his brother) was obviously gay. Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad's Cockney home health aide.

    Agreed about the Simpsons. A famous animator described it as an old school radio comedy with pictures.

    That was very odd. They were completely unmatched in terms of social background too, as if his being gay weren’t enough. It was as if it were some kind of in joke with the show’s writers to depict such a ludicrously implausible infatuation.

  96. If The Simpsons counts as a sitcom, shouldn’t Beavis and Butthead be included too? I’m surprised only one commenter has mentioned it.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    Beavis and Butthead threw so many levels of wit at you, but most people couldn't get past the grunting. It also begat Daria, one of the earliest examples of Hipster Chick as sex symbol.
  97. @Danindc
    No, Steve thought Suddenly Susan and Dharma and Greg were 1-2.....of course it's Seinfeld 1, Simpsons 2. Simpsons would be #1 if they'd stopped in 1999.

    Anyone that says Mad About You is banned for a year.

    I really liked Get A Life but didn't last very long. Larry Sanders definitely #3. Honorable mention Dr. Katz, News Radio.

    If you read the book Planet Simpson (highly recommended) you’d know that The Simpsons is way better than Seinfeld. Seinfeld was funny and deserving of acclaim but the best of comedy reveals truth. There’s more truth to be found in The Simpsons than in all of the network news broadcasts combined. Big truths, Seinfeld mostly confined itself to little truths.

    Shandling like the best of comedy purists knew that truth makes comedy more valuable and so dealt with truths, hence his popularity especially amongst peers.

  98. @Steve Sailer
    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don't think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing "Larry Sanders."

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn't come easy for him.

    He was also a union-busting scab; I’m quite surprised that never stuck to him in heavily left-wing Hollywood–in a place where Elia Kazan could get the cold shoulder for a lifetime achievement award. No one mentioned Shandling crossing the picket line to get to on the stage during the early 80s—or how his family was apparently the only anti-union Jews not named Milton Friedman.

  99. @ScarletNumber
    Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three's Company.

    “Frasier was just a more sophisticated Three’s Company.”

    You say that as if it’s a bad thing?

  100. @Rob McX
    If The Simpsons counts as a sitcom, shouldn't Beavis and Butthead be included too? I'm surprised only one commenter has mentioned it.

    Beavis and Butthead threw so many levels of wit at you, but most people couldn’t get past the grunting. It also begat Daria, one of the earliest examples of Hipster Chick as sex symbol.

  101. @Steve Sailer
    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don't think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing "Larry Sanders."

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn't come easy for him.

    P.S. I think the best way you can sum up Shandling is the phrase “a comedian’s comedian.”

    Works for both sides of the coin.

  102. @V Vega

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of “ugly kids.” I’ve seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I’ve never looked at a child and seen ugly.
     
    I come from a family full of good-looking people. One kid in our family started modeling at 5 years old. We used to marvel at the fact that we didn't have any "clunkers."

    Then a couple of my cousins moved out of state, and married some really shitty looking men. They could marry anyone they wanted. They picked inbred-looking losers. Result was some depressingly ugly babies, who are growing into offensive looking children. We were hoping my cousin's genes would overwhelm the ugly spouse's genes, but no such luck! One of my cousins looked just like Liv Tyler, I still can't believe her husbands genes overruled hers. But they did.

    They keep posting pictures of their ugly dullard-looking children on Facebook, and it bums me out every time. I guess I'm just spoiled, but I despise looking at people's ugly kids, and being expected to act as if they don't repel me. I'm not exaggerating. These kids are fucking ugly. If you woke up in the middle of the night, and saw one of them standing at the foot of your bed, you'd hit the fucking ceiling.

    Every time my cousins post yet another fucking Facebook photo of their genetic malapropisms, I want to say, "Nobody forced you to marry that ugly man, and now you have ugly kids, and you want me to pretend they're NOT so you're not constantly reminded of your stupid ass mistake!"

    Anyway, there's plenty of ugly kids around, and if you "can't see it," you're neurotic.

    You’re not fitting in as a commenter here. It’s just not working out. Take your business elsewhere. Sorry.

  103. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    If you think that some kids aren’t ugly, then you are being obtuse.

  104. @J. Farmer
    Sorry to be an annoying pedant, but question begging has nothing to do with asking a question. It's a kind of logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

    Give up. They will get tired of it and move on.

    Just a few years ago, everyone was using “parameter” to mean “perimeter,” like “He ranged within the parameters of the discourse.” Caused me no end of spergy rage. But, that is gone now. The morons have gone on to other mutilations of the language.

    “Begs the question” to mean “raises the question” will similarly just go away in a few years.

    I think we are probably stuck forever with “impact” and all of its retarded derivatives from people who can’t keep “affect” and “effect” straight, though. That one does not seem to be going away. I’ll be restraining myself in the nursing home from flipping out on some retired corporate middle manager babbling about how impactful the new color scheme is.

  105. @Dave Pinsen
    David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier's brother (and looked like he could actually be his brother) was obviously gay. Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad's Cockney home health aide.

    Agreed about the Simpsons. A famous animator described it as an old school radio comedy with pictures.

    Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad’s Cockney home health aide.

    Mancunian, not Cockney.

    Although a running gag did appear to be that all of her brothers had different accents. I think Simon’s was Cockney (btw the actor was an Italian/Dutch hybrid from Australia).

    • Replies: @Matra
    Yes, the realism (ha!) of Frasier was destroyed anytime there was a British part to the episode. Like the time they went to a British pub and everyone was singing "Roll out the barrel" with joined hands. The foreign characters in Mad Men were similarly ridiculous to the point of unintentional comedy.

    For those of us from Europe who remember the 70s, however vaguely, another significant person died yesterday - Johan Cruyff.
  106. @Intelligent Dasein

    In 2016, it’s becoming increasingly common for idioms, phrases, and collocations to get confused, mixed, and mangled. It’s one thing for language to evolve, but another for it to fall into disrepair.
     
    On a tangential point, I really do believe that the first two decades of the 21st century are going to go down in history as the Age of the Neologisms. There are just so many kitsch portmanteaus, trendy epithets, grammatical pleonasms, and technical jargons in use these days that it amounts to a veritable pullulation of usually base language.

    I don't believe this age is going to last, but it is going to leave a mark on history just like a great war does, which serves as a definite discontinuity between the pre-war and post-war regimes. After the dust from this era settles down and belletristic standards are once again imposed upon public speech, the language from before the '90s is going to seem to the speakers of that future time as Elizabethan English seems to us.

    pleonasms

    That’s awesome.

  107. @candid_observer
    Isn't a counter-contrarian an ordinarian?

    It’s like anti-anti-Communist. You get to be a Communist while not only denying it but claiming victim status if anyone notices.

  108. @Steve Sailer
    Shandling was a definite contender to succeed Johnny Carson at the Tonight show, having been a popular guest host during the Carson years, so he was hardly an exotic talent.

    I don't think Shandling had the durability of a Leno to do 5 shows per week for decades. So it was probably wise of him to go the weekly sitcom rather than daily talkshow route. As it was, Shandling seemed pretty worn out by his six years doing "Larry Sanders."

    Part of the high regard he was held in by the other pros was related to how it didn't come easy for him.

    Steve, Shandling certainly had the durability to do five shows a week, he didn’t get the chance. There are legions of struggling comedians across the US emailing and faxing in one-liners to the Tonight Show on a daily basis. As I recall the going rate is $50 for each one they use so there’s never a shortage of material.

    Leno was so unfunny as to be almost unwatchable. It says a lot about the US that its highest paid comedian was both safe and unfunny always. Leno could never sell a joke, he would just read them off in a “Here are the jokes, folks” style.

    Shandling had more comedic skill in a single toenail than Leno has in his entire petty, vindictive and greedy fat body.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Shandling doesn't sound too durable in his conversation with Jerry Seinfeld here. He suggests the workload may have driven Robin Williams to suicide.

    Leno's standup outside of the Tonight Show could be very funny. He reined it in for the show.

    https://twitter.com/hussmanjp/status/713180072262369280
    , @MarkinLA
    While I never thought Leno was all that funny, I don't know anybody else who has done as much to keep alive motorcycle history. His money is well spent.
  109. @Glaivester

    Which added another layer of silliness to his obsession with his dad’s Cockney home health aide.
     
    Mancunian, not Cockney.

    Although a running gag did appear to be that all of her brothers had different accents. I think Simon's was Cockney (btw the actor was an Italian/Dutch hybrid from Australia).

    Yes, the realism (ha!) of Frasier was destroyed anytime there was a British part to the episode. Like the time they went to a British pub and everyone was singing “Roll out the barrel” with joined hands. The foreign characters in Mad Men were similarly ridiculous to the point of unintentional comedy.

    For those of us from Europe who remember the 70s, however vaguely, another significant person died yesterday – Johan Cruyff.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Saw this, from the guy he jocked with his famous "turn":
    https://twitter.com/billybragg/status/713443186014830593

    And here's a vid of that play:
    https://youtu.be/CYtzf7YD8oY
  110. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    You’re in the Boston area, right? Don’t take the abuse to heart. A lot of those commenting here have never lived among the 2%.

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you’ve got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you’ve already been watching Seinfeld for years. And I have enough of an ego to have no need to engage in status whoring.

    Are these guys amusing? Certainly. Transcendentally funny? No.

    • Replies: @V Vega

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you’ve got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you’ve already been watching Seinfeld for years.
     
    I have to agree. I'm a WASP, and I had a jewish girlfriend. Whenever I got lassoed into watching Seinfeld with her, she laughed and laughed, the episode concluded, and I'd feel immediately cheated.

    That is, I thought, "the show's over. You get to go back to your life. As long as we're dating, I have to go back to another episode of Seinfeld."

    I have to add I so enjoyed it when Seinfeld was about to release a complete box of premium DVD's of his show for the first time, was all over television trying to sell it, and the same week, Michael Richards exploded with the "N" word all over national television, severely diminishing the initial sale of the DVD's, I'm sure. Then later watching Jerry trying to do damage control on Letterman, featuring a dazed Richards via satellite telling us about the trip he took to Bora Bora to try to understand why he was such a racist, while Jerry admonished the audience for laughing at Richards while he gave this bizarre speech.

    I thought, "now YOU get to live in your OWN Seinfeld episode, SEINFELD!!"
  111. You are right about neurotic people not being funny. I lived in NYC for four years so I never found Seinfeld or Arrested Development or the Office funny.

  112. @Dave Pinsen
    Nice tribute here by Conan:

    https://twitter.com/teamcoco/status/713158304826941440

    cf The Best Of Garry Shandling & Conan, at 3:20 he’s being terribly pc re immigration etc. maybe just to please conan and his crowd. I like them both, great comedians, but…

  113. @Corn
    This begs the question: In your opinion what were the #1 and #2 sitcoms of the Nineties?

    The four best comedies of the 90s:

    Seinfeld
    The Simpsons
    Fraiser
    King of the Hill

  114. Granted the 90s gave us some great comedies (and more importantly – freed television comedy from the degrading shackles of the laugh track), but, um….not that I like pulling geezer rank on ya, Steve, but tv comedy peaked early on in the 50s, and it’s all been downhill since. With brief but atypical peaks in between.

    In other words, now that Norman Lear and Larry Gelbart are long out of the game, and even Lorne Michaels has sheepishly folded his hand……I’ll see your Larry David and James Brooks, and raise you Nat Hiken and Lou Costello. Now let’s see what you got.

  115. @Lagertha
    Scheisse, Steve, we are losing all of our icons of the 60's-70's/80's when we were kids...scheisse! All the people that made us smile, laugh, think, wish, pretend (...awww the Pretenders - no one dead yet there)...sounds pathetic...but not for us babies born in 1955-1965...a crucial era. The creative people we have loved and revered are dying so often lately...hopefully, their legacies are left behind for the next generation: their thoughts, talents, actions. God, I feel old!

    My duh.

  116. Here’s the beginning of that Norm MacDonald tweet storm again. Trying this from a laptop so you guys see the preview.
    https://twitter.com/seanoconnz/status/713239262708113408

  117. @NoseytheDuke
    Steve, Shandling certainly had the durability to do five shows a week, he didn't get the chance. There are legions of struggling comedians across the US emailing and faxing in one-liners to the Tonight Show on a daily basis. As I recall the going rate is $50 for each one they use so there's never a shortage of material.

    Leno was so unfunny as to be almost unwatchable. It says a lot about the US that its highest paid comedian was both safe and unfunny always. Leno could never sell a joke, he would just read them off in a "Here are the jokes, folks" style.

    Shandling had more comedic skill in a single toenail than Leno has in his entire petty, vindictive and greedy fat body.

    Shandling doesn’t sound too durable in his conversation with Jerry Seinfeld here. He suggests the workload may have driven Robin Williams to suicide.

    Leno’s standup outside of the Tonight Show could be very funny. He reined it in for the show.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    It really is interesting to see how certain comedy ages well or not. I watched some old Dave Allen shows recently and didn't crack a smile. I couldn't bear to watch my own

    I never saw Leno live and never wanted to though I heard he was funnier, he did regular gigs at the Comedy and Magic club in the Southbay, was it Redondo? I forget.

    I think had Shandling taken over from Carson he'd have been more generous in giving little known comedians a leg up as Carson did. Leno on the other hand used his position of power to exclude and manipulate things to his own advantage. I couldn't bear to watch him and think he reinforced all of the negative stereotypes of American comedy.

    I'd like to think Shandling is now hanging out with the likes of Hicks and cracking each other up but I don't believe in all of that. Cheers.
  118. Kato Kaelin is a yuge Donald Trump fan.

    You all remember Kato from the 90s O.J Simpson trial.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Speaking of O.J., I'm watching the F/X miniseries The People Versus O.J. Simpson now, and there's a scene where the sequestered jurors vote on whether to watch Seinfeld on VHS or Martin. The vote splits on racial lines and Martin wins. The black jurors celebrate by dancing and singing its theme song.
  119. @whorefinder
    Not my style of comedy, so I can't judge whether he was good or not. For a really homely-looking guy whose sitcom never got top twenty ratings and whose movies flopped (when he was the star), he had a lot of name recognition and worship, so I assume he had the talent.

    One thing about the clip that bugs me is how Shandling starts talking about/making fun of "ugly kids." I've seen many a comedian do this. Is this a Jewish thing? I've never looked at a child and seen ugly. Some kids are funny-looking, sure, but they all seem pretty cute to me. I seem to note that comedians seem to have a standard bit of "what do you say when someone's kid is ugly?" routine that never sells with me. It's really mean, since kids can't defend themselves and its almost a literal definition of punching down.

    I say Jewish comedians because I've noted that Jewish guys seem to have this large insecurity about their looks. Almost every Jewish comedian had some bit or part of their biography where they talk about themselves being some "ugly little Jew" , especially when they talk about some shishka broad they want to get with (In his films, Woody Allen has portrayed this memorably). So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can't recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about "ugly kids of others."

    Jewish women have this insecurity as well about being less attractive than goyim, hence why they make so many blond jokes. But it makes more sense in women, since their main power is their looks, and the shishka-fever among Jewish men is a cliche. In Jewish men, however, this insecurity comes off as creepy and weird---why, as a man, are you so concerned about it, Schlomo?

    “So attacking the kids as ugly really comes off as projection. And I can’t recall black comedians or other-ethnic comedians doing routines about “ugly kids of others.”

    Black women are the most openly blunt about making it perfectly clear when they think someone is ugly.

    Whenever I openly hear women say that Lil Wayne and Jay-Z for example are ugly, 9 times out of 10 it is coming from a Black woman.

    A lot of White women would also agree that those two men are ugly, but few would admit it in public for fear of being labeled racists. After all White women on average are even more politically correct than White men.

  120. Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90’s-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Friends wasn't that novel, but it was superbly executed.
    , @J. Farmer
    I enjoyed Friends at the time for what it was: a well cast, competently written sitcom. But I don't think it holds up that well. When I've caught it recently in reruns, I find it insufferable.

    Oddly enough, Friends was a huge smash hit in the UK, while Seinfeld went largely unnoticed. It's enjoyed something of a renaissance there on DVD thinks to the well received Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    I'm just going to follow the contrarian path and declare Simpsons vastly overrated. Nickelodeon's Rugrats on the other hand...
    , @syonredux
    Seinfeld and Friends have at least one thing in common, though. Both of them are increasingly under retroactive attack from the PC Left for being "unforgivably White."
    , @middle aged vet
    Friends had (a) an amazing list of guest stars, including the last good role Ernest Borgnine ever got (b) Jennifer the female comedic genius (think about how many of them you have met in real life and if the answer is more than two or three you are indeed lucky) (c) six main characters who were great actors,including even the comically real-life Marlon Brando clone (Joey) as a regular NYC area type guy played by Matt Leblanc. Unfortunately, it was a horrible show because nobody who wrote for it understood, even a little bit, the fact that people not only want, in general , to be loved but are also tragically devastated when they are not (to be brutally but accurately negative, the writers callously over-imported sexual promiscuity and betrayal - not the fun kind, the sad kind - into a portrait of what should have been the fun life of young healthy people in an exciting city. That is why modern times pale compared to old times). 50 years from now, people will look at the dozens of plot-device "comic" romantic rejections on Friends the way SJWs of our day may look at the multitude of ways the Three Stooges were repeatedly prevented from having good days at their new jobs. (As for me, I don't think romantic rejections are all that important and I think Friends is funny - people always expect too much of each other - but I would not want my children watching it in reruns until they are in their rational 40s - that would be in the late 2020s - and Frasier and even Seinfeld were, after all, better written). On the other hand, maybe "Friends" will be totally respected in 2030 or 2040 for its portrayal of the search for love as a realistic and statistically not that pleasant wasteland, sort of like an expressionist painting, albeit one where the women are dressed nicely and the men are cheerful. Off topic, Leno was not all that funny in general but he was an amazing genius at saying things that people of different generations sitting in the same room could laugh at - that is what TV is good for, on its good days; Rob Schneider is vastly funnier than Tina Fey; Gary Shandler succeeded at his day job; and Sailer, who has read Wodehouse again and again, has to have liked the Wodehousian Seinfeld enough to put it in his top 3 (and based on his quotations from the Simpsons and his appreciation for Shandling, those are the other two in the top three).
    , @Dave Pinsen
    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).

    Friends had two definitely Jewish characters (Monica and Ross), and another who was presumably Jewish (Rachel). And 2 Jewish actors. Plus Jewish creators. So it was arguably as "Jewey" as Seinfeld.
  121. @alaska3636
    Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90's-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    Friends wasn’t that novel, but it was superbly executed.

    • Replies: @alaska3636
    Definitely not novel.

    I rewatched some Cheers episodes recently and noticed how similar the set-up was.

    The whole will-they-won't relationship is classic Sam and Diane, except they reversed the roles of the nerd and the cool one.

    Friends benefited from a leaner cast, though.

    Not a lot of topical humor which is why I think it holds up. Just classic type-casts and stereotypes.
  122. @alaska3636
    Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90's-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    I enjoyed Friends at the time for what it was: a well cast, competently written sitcom. But I don’t think it holds up that well. When I’ve caught it recently in reruns, I find it insufferable.

    Oddly enough, Friends was a huge smash hit in the UK, while Seinfeld went largely unnoticed. It’s enjoyed something of a renaissance there on DVD thinks to the well received Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    I’m just going to follow the contrarian path and declare Simpsons vastly overrated. Nickelodeon’s Rugrats on the other hand…

  123. So long as we’re bringing up offbeat sitcoms from the 90’s, did anybody here watch Chris Elliott’s bizarre show Get a Life? Charlie Kaufman was one of the writers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Bob Odenkirk too.
  124. @J. Farmer
    So long as we're bringing up offbeat sitcoms from the 90's, did anybody here watch Chris Elliott's bizarre show Get a Life? Charlie Kaufman was one of the writers.

    Bob Odenkirk too.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    His show with David Cross was hilarious.
  125. @Steve Sailer
    Friends wasn't that novel, but it was superbly executed.

    Definitely not novel.

    I rewatched some Cheers episodes recently and noticed how similar the set-up was.

    The whole will-they-won’t relationship is classic Sam and Diane, except they reversed the roles of the nerd and the cool one.

    Friends benefited from a leaner cast, though.

    Not a lot of topical humor which is why I think it holds up. Just classic type-casts and stereotypes.

  126. @alaska3636
    Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90's-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    Seinfeld and Friends have at least one thing in common, though. Both of them are increasingly under retroactive attack from the PC Left for being “unforgivably White.”

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Friends was more politically incorrect by today's standards, in that it used gay marriage (Ross's ex and her wife) and transsexualism (Chandler's father) as punchlines.
  127. @NoseytheDuke
    Steve, Shandling certainly had the durability to do five shows a week, he didn't get the chance. There are legions of struggling comedians across the US emailing and faxing in one-liners to the Tonight Show on a daily basis. As I recall the going rate is $50 for each one they use so there's never a shortage of material.

    Leno was so unfunny as to be almost unwatchable. It says a lot about the US that its highest paid comedian was both safe and unfunny always. Leno could never sell a joke, he would just read them off in a "Here are the jokes, folks" style.

    Shandling had more comedic skill in a single toenail than Leno has in his entire petty, vindictive and greedy fat body.

    While I never thought Leno was all that funny, I don’t know anybody else who has done as much to keep alive motorcycle history. His money is well spent.

  128. @Matra
    Yes, the realism (ha!) of Frasier was destroyed anytime there was a British part to the episode. Like the time they went to a British pub and everyone was singing "Roll out the barrel" with joined hands. The foreign characters in Mad Men were similarly ridiculous to the point of unintentional comedy.

    For those of us from Europe who remember the 70s, however vaguely, another significant person died yesterday - Johan Cruyff.

    Saw this, from the guy he jocked with his famous “turn”:

    And here’s a vid of that play:

  129. @Dave Pinsen
    Shandling doesn't sound too durable in his conversation with Jerry Seinfeld here. He suggests the workload may have driven Robin Williams to suicide.

    Leno's standup outside of the Tonight Show could be very funny. He reined it in for the show.

    https://twitter.com/hussmanjp/status/713180072262369280

    It really is interesting to see how certain comedy ages well or not. I watched some old Dave Allen shows recently and didn’t crack a smile. I couldn’t bear to watch my own

    I never saw Leno live and never wanted to though I heard he was funnier, he did regular gigs at the Comedy and Magic club in the Southbay, was it Redondo? I forget.

    I think had Shandling taken over from Carson he’d have been more generous in giving little known comedians a leg up as Carson did. Leno on the other hand used his position of power to exclude and manipulate things to his own advantage. I couldn’t bear to watch him and think he reinforced all of the negative stereotypes of American comedy.

    I’d like to think Shandling is now hanging out with the likes of Hicks and cracking each other up but I don’t believe in all of that. Cheers.

  130. @Brutusale
    You're in the Boston area, right? Don't take the abuse to heart. A lot of those commenting here have never lived among the 2%.

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you've got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you've already been watching Seinfeld for years. And I have enough of an ego to have no need to engage in status whoring.

    Are these guys amusing? Certainly. Transcendentally funny? No.

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you’ve got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you’ve already been watching Seinfeld for years.

    I have to agree. I’m a WASP, and I had a jewish girlfriend. Whenever I got lassoed into watching Seinfeld with her, she laughed and laughed, the episode concluded, and I’d feel immediately cheated.

    That is, I thought, “the show’s over. You get to go back to your life. As long as we’re dating, I have to go back to another episode of Seinfeld.”

    I have to add I so enjoyed it when Seinfeld was about to release a complete box of premium DVD’s of his show for the first time, was all over television trying to sell it, and the same week, Michael Richards exploded with the “N” word all over national television, severely diminishing the initial sale of the DVD’s, I’m sure. Then later watching Jerry trying to do damage control on Letterman, featuring a dazed Richards via satellite telling us about the trip he took to Bora Bora to try to understand why he was such a racist, while Jerry admonished the audience for laughing at Richards while he gave this bizarre speech.

    I thought, “now YOU get to live in your OWN Seinfeld episode, SEINFELD!!”

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Anti-Semitism is so ugly.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Curb Your Enthusiasm did a Seinfeld reunion episode that touched on the Michael Richards kerfuffle.
  131. @V Vega

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you’ve got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you’ve already been watching Seinfeld for years.
     
    I have to agree. I'm a WASP, and I had a jewish girlfriend. Whenever I got lassoed into watching Seinfeld with her, she laughed and laughed, the episode concluded, and I'd feel immediately cheated.

    That is, I thought, "the show's over. You get to go back to your life. As long as we're dating, I have to go back to another episode of Seinfeld."

    I have to add I so enjoyed it when Seinfeld was about to release a complete box of premium DVD's of his show for the first time, was all over television trying to sell it, and the same week, Michael Richards exploded with the "N" word all over national television, severely diminishing the initial sale of the DVD's, I'm sure. Then later watching Jerry trying to do damage control on Letterman, featuring a dazed Richards via satellite telling us about the trip he took to Bora Bora to try to understand why he was such a racist, while Jerry admonished the audience for laughing at Richards while he gave this bizarre speech.

    I thought, "now YOU get to live in your OWN Seinfeld episode, SEINFELD!!"

    Anti-Semitism is so ugly.

    • Replies: @V Vega

    Anti-Semitism is so ugly
     
    .

    I agree. For example, it made me so angry when Barbara Streisand showed her anti-Semitic stuff when she agreed to star in "The Way We Were," which is nothing but, let's face it, a celebration of a subset of ethnic Jewish Women struggling to quietly smother their heritage with a big fluffy goy pillow, and make Robert Redford babies until their uterus dies with a triumphant smile on its face.

    Just offensive, and loaded with trigger warnings and safe space violations for me as an audience member. Why Salon hasn't yet discovered that movie is beyond me. Hopefully, times will change.
  132. @alaska3636
    Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90's-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    Friends had (a) an amazing list of guest stars, including the last good role Ernest Borgnine ever got (b) Jennifer the female comedic genius (think about how many of them you have met in real life and if the answer is more than two or three you are indeed lucky) (c) six main characters who were great actors,including even the comically real-life Marlon Brando clone (Joey) as a regular NYC area type guy played by Matt Leblanc. Unfortunately, it was a horrible show because nobody who wrote for it understood, even a little bit, the fact that people not only want, in general , to be loved but are also tragically devastated when they are not (to be brutally but accurately negative, the writers callously over-imported sexual promiscuity and betrayal – not the fun kind, the sad kind – into a portrait of what should have been the fun life of young healthy people in an exciting city. That is why modern times pale compared to old times). 50 years from now, people will look at the dozens of plot-device “comic” romantic rejections on Friends the way SJWs of our day may look at the multitude of ways the Three Stooges were repeatedly prevented from having good days at their new jobs. (As for me, I don’t think romantic rejections are all that important and I think Friends is funny – people always expect too much of each other – but I would not want my children watching it in reruns until they are in their rational 40s – that would be in the late 2020s – and Frasier and even Seinfeld were, after all, better written). On the other hand, maybe “Friends” will be totally respected in 2030 or 2040 for its portrayal of the search for love as a realistic and statistically not that pleasant wasteland, sort of like an expressionist painting, albeit one where the women are dressed nicely and the men are cheerful. Off topic, Leno was not all that funny in general but he was an amazing genius at saying things that people of different generations sitting in the same room could laugh at – that is what TV is good for, on its good days; Rob Schneider is vastly funnier than Tina Fey; Gary Shandler succeeded at his day job; and Sailer, who has read Wodehouse again and again, has to have liked the Wodehousian Seinfeld enough to put it in his top 3 (and based on his quotations from the Simpsons and his appreciation for Shandling, those are the other two in the top three).

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant
    There's always somebody who thinks a show/movie is funny. I'm sure some people who think Ishtar is the funniest movie ever.

    I found "friends" boring and extremely vanilla. Others liked it for the same reason. I had a co-worker who liked that everyone on "Friends" was so upbeat and positive. He hated Seinfeld because everyone was so neurotic.

    As for Gary Shandling, I could only take him in small doses. He seemed to have only 2 facial expressions and 2 tones of voice. But he could be funny.

    , @ScarletNumber
    Paragraphs are our friends.
  133. @middle aged vet
    Friends had (a) an amazing list of guest stars, including the last good role Ernest Borgnine ever got (b) Jennifer the female comedic genius (think about how many of them you have met in real life and if the answer is more than two or three you are indeed lucky) (c) six main characters who were great actors,including even the comically real-life Marlon Brando clone (Joey) as a regular NYC area type guy played by Matt Leblanc. Unfortunately, it was a horrible show because nobody who wrote for it understood, even a little bit, the fact that people not only want, in general , to be loved but are also tragically devastated when they are not (to be brutally but accurately negative, the writers callously over-imported sexual promiscuity and betrayal - not the fun kind, the sad kind - into a portrait of what should have been the fun life of young healthy people in an exciting city. That is why modern times pale compared to old times). 50 years from now, people will look at the dozens of plot-device "comic" romantic rejections on Friends the way SJWs of our day may look at the multitude of ways the Three Stooges were repeatedly prevented from having good days at their new jobs. (As for me, I don't think romantic rejections are all that important and I think Friends is funny - people always expect too much of each other - but I would not want my children watching it in reruns until they are in their rational 40s - that would be in the late 2020s - and Frasier and even Seinfeld were, after all, better written). On the other hand, maybe "Friends" will be totally respected in 2030 or 2040 for its portrayal of the search for love as a realistic and statistically not that pleasant wasteland, sort of like an expressionist painting, albeit one where the women are dressed nicely and the men are cheerful. Off topic, Leno was not all that funny in general but he was an amazing genius at saying things that people of different generations sitting in the same room could laugh at - that is what TV is good for, on its good days; Rob Schneider is vastly funnier than Tina Fey; Gary Shandler succeeded at his day job; and Sailer, who has read Wodehouse again and again, has to have liked the Wodehousian Seinfeld enough to put it in his top 3 (and based on his quotations from the Simpsons and his appreciation for Shandling, those are the other two in the top three).

    There’s always somebody who thinks a show/movie is funny. I’m sure some people who think Ishtar is the funniest movie ever.

    I found “friends” boring and extremely vanilla. Others liked it for the same reason. I had a co-worker who liked that everyone on “Friends” was so upbeat and positive. He hated Seinfeld because everyone was so neurotic.

    As for Gary Shandling, I could only take him in small doses. He seemed to have only 2 facial expressions and 2 tones of voice. But he could be funny.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    Hugh - Exactly, but most people born into this Western civilization of ours know how to make each other laugh. That is not nothing. Between the two of us - wwebd and honesthughgrant - we have probably known three or four thousand people who made us laugh in real life. For some of us, Friends reminds us of lots of those people, for some of us Friends reminds us of almost none of those people. A lot of this is random; as for me, I think the only comedians of my lifetime that anyone will remember years from now are Wodehouse (yes I heard the train rolling by in the early 1960-1970 AM hours when you were heading to Remsenburg from your latest Broadway triumph and I was trying to get some sleep for the next boring day at my boring government Long Island elementary school) and maybe Pat Buchanan (negative nabobs - that was good!) and a few of the guys and gals who brought the Stooges into our modern day. And of course the common but real comedians - the ones who understand the joy of life - over-excitable Baptist preachers, Catholic joke-writers and excitable Catholic preachers, stand-up Jewish mensch comics, even a few dozen internet only commenters and bloggers. It's not American Graffiti with its Wolfman Jack scene but it is not nothing.
    , @Brutusale
    Steven Wright has one of each, and he's ridiculously funny.
  134. @alaska3636
    Am I the only guy that liked or admits to liking Friends?

    I have watched a lot of sitcoms from all eras, and that was my favorite by far. Neurotic jewey humor gives me the skin-crawls after awhile, though I did like Seinfeld in short bursts.

    Friends was the 90's-est sitcom there was, in my opinion.

    Newsradio is also underrated. Great cast.

    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).

    Friends had two definitely Jewish characters (Monica and Ross), and another who was presumably Jewish (Rachel). And 2 Jewish actors. Plus Jewish creators. So it was arguably as “Jewey” as Seinfeld.

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant

    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).
     
    All the 4 main characters were neurotic in some way. That's why the ending show had them all locked up for being callous weirdos. As for George, his last name is "Costanza", but his parents are obviously Jewish and there's nothing in the show that identifies him as Italian. Larry David stated that "George" was basically a thinly disguised comedic version of himself.
  135. @Jefferson
    Kato Kaelin is a yuge Donald Trump fan.
    https://youtu.be/aWIXsbAkxnI

    You all remember Kato from the 90s O.J Simpson trial.

    Speaking of O.J., I’m watching the F/X miniseries The People Versus O.J. Simpson now, and there’s a scene where the sequestered jurors vote on whether to watch Seinfeld on VHS or Martin. The vote splits on racial lines and Martin wins. The black jurors celebrate by dancing and singing its theme song.

  136. @Steve Sailer
    Bob Odenkirk too.

    His show with David Cross was hilarious.

  137. @syonredux
    Seinfeld and Friends have at least one thing in common, though. Both of them are increasingly under retroactive attack from the PC Left for being "unforgivably White."

    Friends was more politically incorrect by today’s standards, in that it used gay marriage (Ross’s ex and her wife) and transsexualism (Chandler’s father) as punchlines.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Friends was more politically incorrect by today’s standards, in that it used gay marriage (Ross’s ex and her wife) and transsexualism (Chandler’s father) as punchlines.
     
    And the righteous are quite offended:

    In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation “Homophobic Friends.” But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it. It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!). Even a line like “Hi, Dad” is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York thirtysomething—let alone a supposedly good person, period.
     
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/22/friends_chandler_bing_and_his_homophobia_are_the_worst_thing_about_watching.html
  138. @V Vega

    People would always ask me why I never watched Seinfeld, and I would always tell them that I DID watch it a few times, but if, like me, you’ve got a half-dozen or so neurotic Jewish friends, you’ve already been watching Seinfeld for years.
     
    I have to agree. I'm a WASP, and I had a jewish girlfriend. Whenever I got lassoed into watching Seinfeld with her, she laughed and laughed, the episode concluded, and I'd feel immediately cheated.

    That is, I thought, "the show's over. You get to go back to your life. As long as we're dating, I have to go back to another episode of Seinfeld."

    I have to add I so enjoyed it when Seinfeld was about to release a complete box of premium DVD's of his show for the first time, was all over television trying to sell it, and the same week, Michael Richards exploded with the "N" word all over national television, severely diminishing the initial sale of the DVD's, I'm sure. Then later watching Jerry trying to do damage control on Letterman, featuring a dazed Richards via satellite telling us about the trip he took to Bora Bora to try to understand why he was such a racist, while Jerry admonished the audience for laughing at Richards while he gave this bizarre speech.

    I thought, "now YOU get to live in your OWN Seinfeld episode, SEINFELD!!"

    Curb Your Enthusiasm did a Seinfeld reunion episode that touched on the Michael Richards kerfuffle.

  139. @Honesthughgrant
    There's always somebody who thinks a show/movie is funny. I'm sure some people who think Ishtar is the funniest movie ever.

    I found "friends" boring and extremely vanilla. Others liked it for the same reason. I had a co-worker who liked that everyone on "Friends" was so upbeat and positive. He hated Seinfeld because everyone was so neurotic.

    As for Gary Shandling, I could only take him in small doses. He seemed to have only 2 facial expressions and 2 tones of voice. But he could be funny.

    Hugh – Exactly, but most people born into this Western civilization of ours know how to make each other laugh. That is not nothing. Between the two of us – wwebd and honesthughgrant – we have probably known three or four thousand people who made us laugh in real life. For some of us, Friends reminds us of lots of those people, for some of us Friends reminds us of almost none of those people. A lot of this is random; as for me, I think the only comedians of my lifetime that anyone will remember years from now are Wodehouse (yes I heard the train rolling by in the early 1960-1970 AM hours when you were heading to Remsenburg from your latest Broadway triumph and I was trying to get some sleep for the next boring day at my boring government Long Island elementary school) and maybe Pat Buchanan (negative nabobs – that was good!) and a few of the guys and gals who brought the Stooges into our modern day. And of course the common but real comedians – the ones who understand the joy of life – over-excitable Baptist preachers, Catholic joke-writers and excitable Catholic preachers, stand-up Jewish mensch comics, even a few dozen internet only commenters and bloggers. It’s not American Graffiti with its Wolfman Jack scene but it is not nothing.

  140. @Dave Pinsen
    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).

    Friends had two definitely Jewish characters (Monica and Ross), and another who was presumably Jewish (Rachel). And 2 Jewish actors. Plus Jewish creators. So it was arguably as "Jewey" as Seinfeld.

    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).

    All the 4 main characters were neurotic in some way. That’s why the ending show had them all locked up for being callous weirdos. As for George, his last name is “Costanza”, but his parents are obviously Jewish and there’s nothing in the show that identifies him as Italian. Larry David stated that “George” was basically a thinly disguised comedic version of himself.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    They weren't locked up for being neurotic, but for not aiding a crime victim, and, instead, mocking him. The trial paints them all as selfish jerks, but you can be a selfish jerk without being neurotic.

    Sure, George is David's alter ego in the show. But his father Frank was born in Italy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doll_(Seinfeld) ). And in one episode, George converts to Latvian Orthodox. Although, IIRC, they don't specify what his religion was before he converted.
  141. Hating on Leno has become a trendy hipster signal nowadays. There are certainly reasons to despise some of Leno’s smarmier tendencies. But I always thought he was a talented stand up comic who was basically being a pro and a company man and dumbing it down for a midwest audience. Sure the jokes could be seen coming from a mile away, but the almost always more or less worked. In one of Norm Macdonald’s many recollections of his SNL firing, he said that Don Ohlmeyer said to him that Jay Leno does a certain number of jokes a night, and they call kill. MacDonald was doing jokes once a week, and his absurdist schtick frequently went right over the heads of SNL’s live audience. He’s had a renaissance in the YouTube age and is approaching Bill Murray level hipster iconicism. Pick a random late night appearance on Youtube, and you can read dozens and dozens of fawning comments. Hmm….I think my weed is really starting to kick in.

    “Once I got stoned and stared into a mirror for two hours until I saw someone who looked Chinese.
    But I think it was just me squinting. ” — underrated Albert Brooks in the underrated Defending Your Life.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I saw Leno and 8 other comics at the Improv in 1981. Leno was the best of the bunch.
    , @Steve Sailer
    I saw Leno and 8 other comics at the Improv in 1981. Leno was the best of the bunch.
    , @NoseytheDuke
    Carson was always ready to go along with a gag, play the straight man or even be the target of a joke. Leno always wanted to outsmart or upstage his guests so came off as less likeable. I think Shandling would have been more like Carson in his approach had he had the chance and the Tonight Show would have been better for it. Leno left the show weaker than when he found it.
  142. @J. Farmer
    Hating on Leno has become a trendy hipster signal nowadays. There are certainly reasons to despise some of Leno's smarmier tendencies. But I always thought he was a talented stand up comic who was basically being a pro and a company man and dumbing it down for a midwest audience. Sure the jokes could be seen coming from a mile away, but the almost always more or less worked. In one of Norm Macdonald's many recollections of his SNL firing, he said that Don Ohlmeyer said to him that Jay Leno does a certain number of jokes a night, and they call kill. MacDonald was doing jokes once a week, and his absurdist schtick frequently went right over the heads of SNL's live audience. He's had a renaissance in the YouTube age and is approaching Bill Murray level hipster iconicism. Pick a random late night appearance on Youtube, and you can read dozens and dozens of fawning comments. Hmm....I think my weed is really starting to kick in.

    "Once I got stoned and stared into a mirror for two hours until I saw someone who looked Chinese.
    But I think it was just me squinting. " -- underrated Albert Brooks in the underrated Defending Your Life.

    I saw Leno and 8 other comics at the Improv in 1981. Leno was the best of the bunch.

  143. @J. Farmer
    Hating on Leno has become a trendy hipster signal nowadays. There are certainly reasons to despise some of Leno's smarmier tendencies. But I always thought he was a talented stand up comic who was basically being a pro and a company man and dumbing it down for a midwest audience. Sure the jokes could be seen coming from a mile away, but the almost always more or less worked. In one of Norm Macdonald's many recollections of his SNL firing, he said that Don Ohlmeyer said to him that Jay Leno does a certain number of jokes a night, and they call kill. MacDonald was doing jokes once a week, and his absurdist schtick frequently went right over the heads of SNL's live audience. He's had a renaissance in the YouTube age and is approaching Bill Murray level hipster iconicism. Pick a random late night appearance on Youtube, and you can read dozens and dozens of fawning comments. Hmm....I think my weed is really starting to kick in.

    "Once I got stoned and stared into a mirror for two hours until I saw someone who looked Chinese.
    But I think it was just me squinting. " -- underrated Albert Brooks in the underrated Defending Your Life.

    I saw Leno and 8 other comics at the Improv in 1981. Leno was the best of the bunch.

  144. @Honesthughgrant

    The only neurotic character in Seinfeld was George, and the only Jewish one of the big 4 was Jerry (though 2.5 of the 4 lead actors were Jewish).
     
    All the 4 main characters were neurotic in some way. That's why the ending show had them all locked up for being callous weirdos. As for George, his last name is "Costanza", but his parents are obviously Jewish and there's nothing in the show that identifies him as Italian. Larry David stated that "George" was basically a thinly disguised comedic version of himself.

    They weren’t locked up for being neurotic, but for not aiding a crime victim, and, instead, mocking him. The trial paints them all as selfish jerks, but you can be a selfish jerk without being neurotic.

    Sure, George is David’s alter ego in the show. But his father Frank was born in Italy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doll_(Seinfeld) ). And in one episode, George converts to Latvian Orthodox. Although, IIRC, they don’t specify what his religion was before he converted.

    • Replies: @J. Farmer
    I used to think that George's Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: "You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting." Jerry: "To Latvian Orthodox?" George: "Why not? What do I care?" It's a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as "too Jewish, too New York."

    Seinfeld is obviously the "The Larry David Show." Alexander's Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He's got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a "one a million I tell you" supporting cast goldmine.
  145. @Dave Pinsen
    They weren't locked up for being neurotic, but for not aiding a crime victim, and, instead, mocking him. The trial paints them all as selfish jerks, but you can be a selfish jerk without being neurotic.

    Sure, George is David's alter ego in the show. But his father Frank was born in Italy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doll_(Seinfeld) ). And in one episode, George converts to Latvian Orthodox. Although, IIRC, they don't specify what his religion was before he converted.

    I used to think that George’s Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: “You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting.” Jerry: “To Latvian Orthodox?” George: “Why not? What do I care?” It’s a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as “too Jewish, too New York.”

    Seinfeld is obviously the “The Larry David Show.” Alexander’s Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He’s got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a “one a million I tell you” supporting cast goldmine.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    George has a line in one episode about how Kramer "falls ass-backwards into money". You could sort of say that about Seinfeld. His likable, inoffensive normality made him a solid straight man in the series, but I don't know if he wrote anything other than his standup segments in the series.
    , @ScarletNumber
    George is culturally Jewish, but NBC wouldn't air a show about two Jews, so they fudged it. Remember, for all we know Estelle could have been Jewish, which would make George Jewish.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He’s got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a “one a million I tell you” supporting cast goldmine."

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on. It's true that he was somewhat stiff and unfunny in the first couple of seasons. But he became a pretty good comedic actor by the end of the series, and was as funny as the rest of the cast by that time.

    , @Clyde

    Seinfeld is obviously the “The Larry David Show.”
     
    The real Larry David show is Curb Your Enthusiasm, is watchable and funny and I hope it returns. It had moments of brilliance. By way of contrast, I could never watch more than ten minutes of the Jerry Seinfeld Show. It sucked! For me:)
    Very funny and highly non-PC!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I05zVj7gxyU
  146. @ScarletNumber
    Anti-Semitism is so ugly.

    Anti-Semitism is so ugly

    .

    I agree. For example, it made me so angry when Barbara Streisand showed her anti-Semitic stuff when she agreed to star in “The Way We Were,” which is nothing but, let’s face it, a celebration of a subset of ethnic Jewish Women struggling to quietly smother their heritage with a big fluffy goy pillow, and make Robert Redford babies until their uterus dies with a triumphant smile on its face.

    Just offensive, and loaded with trigger warnings and safe space violations for me as an audience member. Why Salon hasn’t yet discovered that movie is beyond me. Hopefully, times will change.

  147. @J. Farmer
    I used to think that George's Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: "You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting." Jerry: "To Latvian Orthodox?" George: "Why not? What do I care?" It's a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as "too Jewish, too New York."

    Seinfeld is obviously the "The Larry David Show." Alexander's Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He's got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a "one a million I tell you" supporting cast goldmine.

    George has a line in one episode about how Kramer “falls ass-backwards into money”. You could sort of say that about Seinfeld. His likable, inoffensive normality made him a solid straight man in the series, but I don’t know if he wrote anything other than his standup segments in the series.

  148. @middle aged vet
    Friends had (a) an amazing list of guest stars, including the last good role Ernest Borgnine ever got (b) Jennifer the female comedic genius (think about how many of them you have met in real life and if the answer is more than two or three you are indeed lucky) (c) six main characters who were great actors,including even the comically real-life Marlon Brando clone (Joey) as a regular NYC area type guy played by Matt Leblanc. Unfortunately, it was a horrible show because nobody who wrote for it understood, even a little bit, the fact that people not only want, in general , to be loved but are also tragically devastated when they are not (to be brutally but accurately negative, the writers callously over-imported sexual promiscuity and betrayal - not the fun kind, the sad kind - into a portrait of what should have been the fun life of young healthy people in an exciting city. That is why modern times pale compared to old times). 50 years from now, people will look at the dozens of plot-device "comic" romantic rejections on Friends the way SJWs of our day may look at the multitude of ways the Three Stooges were repeatedly prevented from having good days at their new jobs. (As for me, I don't think romantic rejections are all that important and I think Friends is funny - people always expect too much of each other - but I would not want my children watching it in reruns until they are in their rational 40s - that would be in the late 2020s - and Frasier and even Seinfeld were, after all, better written). On the other hand, maybe "Friends" will be totally respected in 2030 or 2040 for its portrayal of the search for love as a realistic and statistically not that pleasant wasteland, sort of like an expressionist painting, albeit one where the women are dressed nicely and the men are cheerful. Off topic, Leno was not all that funny in general but he was an amazing genius at saying things that people of different generations sitting in the same room could laugh at - that is what TV is good for, on its good days; Rob Schneider is vastly funnier than Tina Fey; Gary Shandler succeeded at his day job; and Sailer, who has read Wodehouse again and again, has to have liked the Wodehousian Seinfeld enough to put it in his top 3 (and based on his quotations from the Simpsons and his appreciation for Shandling, those are the other two in the top three).

    Paragraphs are our friends.

    • Replies: @middle aged vet
    Thanks for reading my comment and thanks for the well meaning advice. Proust - not an author often discussed here, for obvious reasons - was generally unsound on most subjects he discussed but he almost indisputably understood the prose style of Western Civilization. His longest five sentences ranged, in English translation, from 398 to 958 words. (The one about churches and miracles is the best). I am not remotely related to poor Monsieur Proust (for whose soul it would not be amiss to say a prayer or two, even now), but welcome back, mon ami, to the 20th century anyway, where Sometimes it was a good thing to aspire to the long attention span that has so long been one of the most admirable traits of the human race. A reasonably long attention span is something we should all endeavor to conserve, don't you think?
  149. @J. Farmer
    I used to think that George's Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: "You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting." Jerry: "To Latvian Orthodox?" George: "Why not? What do I care?" It's a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as "too Jewish, too New York."

    Seinfeld is obviously the "The Larry David Show." Alexander's Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He's got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a "one a million I tell you" supporting cast goldmine.

    George is culturally Jewish, but NBC wouldn’t air a show about two Jews, so they fudged it. Remember, for all we know Estelle could have been Jewish, which would make George Jewish.

  150. @Honesthughgrant
    There's always somebody who thinks a show/movie is funny. I'm sure some people who think Ishtar is the funniest movie ever.

    I found "friends" boring and extremely vanilla. Others liked it for the same reason. I had a co-worker who liked that everyone on "Friends" was so upbeat and positive. He hated Seinfeld because everyone was so neurotic.

    As for Gary Shandling, I could only take him in small doses. He seemed to have only 2 facial expressions and 2 tones of voice. But he could be funny.

    Steven Wright has one of each, and he’s ridiculously funny.

  151. @Yak-15
    He looks so. . . itchy in that video. His suit, his hair and his tie all make me want to scratch all over. Carson's styles make me feel like itching as well. Same goes for the clothes featured in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

    Was clothing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s more itchy than today's wares?

    No. Mostly 100% wool, or worsted. Typically lasted forever if you took care of it. Never threw out a suit or sport coat because of wear. Always because they went out of style. Carson was so much of a clothes horse and trend setter, he teamed up with Hart Shaffner and Marx to introduce his own line of menswear.

    I still have a dog eared copy of “Dress for Success” on my shelf. But hardly ever wear a suit.

  152. @Dave Pinsen
    Friends was more politically incorrect by today's standards, in that it used gay marriage (Ross's ex and her wife) and transsexualism (Chandler's father) as punchlines.

    Friends was more politically incorrect by today’s standards, in that it used gay marriage (Ross’s ex and her wife) and transsexualism (Chandler’s father) as punchlines.

    And the righteous are quite offended:

    In retrospect, the entire show’s treatment of LGBTQ issues is awful, a fault pointedly illustrated by the exhaustive clip-compilation “Homophobic Friends.” But Chandler’s treatment of his gay father, a Vegas drag queen played by Kathleen Turner, is especially appalling, and it’s not clear the show knows it. It’s one thing for Chandler to recall being embarrassed as a kid, but he is actively resentful and mocking of his loving, involved father right up until his own wedding (to which his father is initially not invited!). Even a line like “Hi, Dad” is delivered with vicious sarcasm. Monica eventually cajoles him into a grudging reconciliation, which the show treats as an acceptably warm conclusion. But his continuing discomfort now reads as jarringly out-of-place for a supposedly hip New York thirtysomething—let alone a supposedly good person, period.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/22/friends_chandler_bing_and_his_homophobia_are_the_worst_thing_about_watching.html

  153. @J. Farmer
    I used to think that George's Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: "You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting." Jerry: "To Latvian Orthodox?" George: "Why not? What do I care?" It's a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as "too Jewish, too New York."

    Seinfeld is obviously the "The Larry David Show." Alexander's Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He's got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a "one a million I tell you" supporting cast goldmine.

    “Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He’s got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a “one a million I tell you” supporting cast goldmine.”

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on. It’s true that he was somewhat stiff and unfunny in the first couple of seasons. But he became a pretty good comedic actor by the end of the series, and was as funny as the rest of the cast by that time.

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on.
     
    He *did* get better - but he was always the last and least of the 4 major cast members in terms of comedy. But he did a good job being the somwhat "sane" man that the other 3 funnier, and wackier, characters revolved around.

    Jerry always had the eyes of a shark. Dead and lifeless.
  154. @ScarletNumber
    Paragraphs are our friends.

    Thanks for reading my comment and thanks for the well meaning advice. Proust – not an author often discussed here, for obvious reasons – was generally unsound on most subjects he discussed but he almost indisputably understood the prose style of Western Civilization. His longest five sentences ranged, in English translation, from 398 to 958 words. (The one about churches and miracles is the best). I am not remotely related to poor Monsieur Proust (for whose soul it would not be amiss to say a prayer or two, even now), but welcome back, mon ami, to the 20th century anyway, where Sometimes it was a good thing to aspire to the long attention span that has so long been one of the most admirable traits of the human race. A reasonably long attention span is something we should all endeavor to conserve, don’t you think?

  155. @Mr. Anon
    "Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He’s got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a “one a million I tell you” supporting cast goldmine."

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on. It's true that he was somewhat stiff and unfunny in the first couple of seasons. But he became a pretty good comedic actor by the end of the series, and was as funny as the rest of the cast by that time.

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on.

    He *did* get better – but he was always the last and least of the 4 major cast members in terms of comedy. But he did a good job being the somwhat “sane” man that the other 3 funnier, and wackier, characters revolved around.

    Jerry always had the eyes of a shark. Dead and lifeless.

    • Replies: @Dwright
    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.
    Drops his guard (or maybe drops subtle digs around his buddies) every once in a while.
  156. Maybe we don’t have a Los Angeles version of Seinfeld because, while this city can muster the same plot elements, adding Los Angeles taint would limit the show’s popularity.

    Below is kind of a Los Angeles Seinfeld episode, taken from the local news, but would you want to watch the story unfold?

    The story begins with Kramer, now homeless, befriending lost or feral animals at his camp. The inciting incident begins with Kramer’s pet raccoon getting lost, further complicated by Kramer’s dog being hit by a car. It all turns out okay in the end–if you’re used to living in Los Angeles:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-marina-del-rey-dog-drowning-20160325-story.html

  157. @Honesthughgrant

    Seinfeld got a lot better as the show went on.
     
    He *did* get better - but he was always the last and least of the 4 major cast members in terms of comedy. But he did a good job being the somwhat "sane" man that the other 3 funnier, and wackier, characters revolved around.

    Jerry always had the eyes of a shark. Dead and lifeless.

    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.
    Drops his guard (or maybe drops subtle digs around his buddies) every once in a while.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.
     
    No, he doesn't.
  158. @J. Farmer
    I used to think that George's Jewishness was weirdly obfuscated in the show. Though I always adored that exchange in the Latvian episode where lovelorn George says: "You know, in the cab on the way over here, I actually thought about converting." Jerry: "To Latvian Orthodox?" George: "Why not? What do I care?" It's a cliche observation at this point that Tartikoff critiqued the pilot as "too Jewish, too New York."

    Seinfeld is obviously the "The Larry David Show." Alexander's Constanza is iconic. Seinfeld really is a smart, crafty motherfucker. He's got one of the biggest egos in the business, but he was smart enough to know his limited acting abilities and played straight man to a "one a million I tell you" supporting cast goldmine.

    Seinfeld is obviously the “The Larry David Show.”

    The real Larry David show is Curb Your Enthusiasm, is watchable and funny and I hope it returns. It had moments of brilliance. By way of contrast, I could never watch more than ten minutes of the Jerry Seinfeld Show. It sucked! For me:)
    Very funny and highly non-PC!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Perhaps the final episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a "Seinfeld" reunion in which Larry alienates Jason Alexander, so Larry volunteers to play George Costanza. But, it turns out, Alexander is a much better actor than David, even at playing David's alter ego.
    , @Clyde
    It seems Larry David is done with "Curb Your Enthusiasm". But it would be great if he could finish with three final one hour episodes with it all ending with everyone arguing and yelling at each other. Larry would get yelled at, at least once each episode by a woman with Susie (whoever) and Wanda Sykes being the best. Some of the best laughs were women getting titanically angry at hapless (schmuck) Larry.
    Larry David's somewhat stiff and bad acting enhanced "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and lets not forget that many of the comedians interactions were improvised/semi-improvised such as scenes with Richard Lewis who was one of my favorites. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was a home and a paycheck for washed up comedians, old-pros, mostly of the Jewish persuasion.
  159. @Clyde

    Seinfeld is obviously the “The Larry David Show.”
     
    The real Larry David show is Curb Your Enthusiasm, is watchable and funny and I hope it returns. It had moments of brilliance. By way of contrast, I could never watch more than ten minutes of the Jerry Seinfeld Show. It sucked! For me:)
    Very funny and highly non-PC!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I05zVj7gxyU

    Perhaps the final episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is a “Seinfeld” reunion in which Larry alienates Jason Alexander, so Larry volunteers to play George Costanza. But, it turns out, Alexander is a much better actor than David, even at playing David’s alter ego.

  160. @Clyde

    Seinfeld is obviously the “The Larry David Show.”
     
    The real Larry David show is Curb Your Enthusiasm, is watchable and funny and I hope it returns. It had moments of brilliance. By way of contrast, I could never watch more than ten minutes of the Jerry Seinfeld Show. It sucked! For me:)
    Very funny and highly non-PC!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I05zVj7gxyU

    It seems Larry David is done with “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. But it would be great if he could finish with three final one hour episodes with it all ending with everyone arguing and yelling at each other. Larry would get yelled at, at least once each episode by a woman with Susie (whoever) and Wanda Sykes being the best. Some of the best laughs were women getting titanically angry at hapless (schmuck) Larry.
    Larry David’s somewhat stiff and bad acting enhanced “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and lets not forget that many of the comedians interactions were improvised/semi-improvised such as scenes with Richard Lewis who was one of my favorites. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was a home and a paycheck for washed up comedians, old-pros, mostly of the Jewish persuasion.

  161. @Dwright
    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.
    Drops his guard (or maybe drops subtle digs around his buddies) every once in a while.

    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.

    No, he doesn’t.

    • Replies: @V Vega
    I don't think he dislikes goyim. I think he's not a big fan of people in general. Also, I think he just feels more comfortable around jews, but many jews feel that way.
  162. @syonredux

    Jerry has a distaste for the Goyim, just under the surface sometimes in interviews and remarks.
     
    No, he doesn't.

    I don’t think he dislikes goyim. I think he’s not a big fan of people in general. Also, I think he just feels more comfortable around jews, but many jews feel that way.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Seinfeld and David seem like they have concentric loyalties and excellent senses of humor, which is okay with me.
  163. @V Vega
    I don't think he dislikes goyim. I think he's not a big fan of people in general. Also, I think he just feels more comfortable around jews, but many jews feel that way.

    Seinfeld and David seem like they have concentric loyalties and excellent senses of humor, which is okay with me.

  164. @J. Farmer
    Hating on Leno has become a trendy hipster signal nowadays. There are certainly reasons to despise some of Leno's smarmier tendencies. But I always thought he was a talented stand up comic who was basically being a pro and a company man and dumbing it down for a midwest audience. Sure the jokes could be seen coming from a mile away, but the almost always more or less worked. In one of Norm Macdonald's many recollections of his SNL firing, he said that Don Ohlmeyer said to him that Jay Leno does a certain number of jokes a night, and they call kill. MacDonald was doing jokes once a week, and his absurdist schtick frequently went right over the heads of SNL's live audience. He's had a renaissance in the YouTube age and is approaching Bill Murray level hipster iconicism. Pick a random late night appearance on Youtube, and you can read dozens and dozens of fawning comments. Hmm....I think my weed is really starting to kick in.

    "Once I got stoned and stared into a mirror for two hours until I saw someone who looked Chinese.
    But I think it was just me squinting. " -- underrated Albert Brooks in the underrated Defending Your Life.

    Carson was always ready to go along with a gag, play the straight man or even be the target of a joke. Leno always wanted to outsmart or upstage his guests so came off as less likeable. I think Shandling would have been more like Carson in his approach had he had the chance and the Tonight Show would have been better for it. Leno left the show weaker than when he found it.

  165. @Chrisnonymous

    cites
     
    You're just trolling us, aren't you?

    Seriously, have any links for that? Sounds plausible but couldn't find anything...

    Also, Cambridge Dictionary supports the first usage of "beg the question".

    I believe, and it’s 40 years ago now, that I saw it in “The Frank Muir book”
    By this chappie
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Muir

    We are (hopefully) in the process of moving house so most of my books are boxed up and in a storage unit.
    When we get settled I’ll see if I can dig it out.
    I’ve got the 20 volume OED packed up too and it may add something to the question.

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