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tv   The History of Comedy  CNN  December 4, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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about. you know? to understand humanity is to understand the sweet, lovely, wonderful foolishness of the human condition. >> the best comedy comes from your living experience. >> every comic sees the world through a prism that the average person doesn't see through. >> all we do is point out the obvious really and then twist it somewhere. >> i just can't believe the way people are, what is it with humanity, what kind of world do we live in? >> you're not alone ultimately. i think that's what the comic's saying. >> reality is fodder for comedy. because it's what we have, so, where else can we find comedy if not in real life? >> as opposed to what? fake life? you know. life is real, yeah. we got that.
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♪ first a philosophical question. have you ever noticed when you're driving that anyone who is driving slower than you is an idiot? and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac! >> you see a million things a day in your life and they all go on the back burner of your six burner wolf ridiculously priced mind. a comedian comes out and brings it to the front burner. >> i don't like other people's showers, there's always a problem with temperature adjustment, there's always a hair stuck on the wall. you want to get rid of it, but
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you don't wan to touch it. i don't know how it got up that high in the first place. >> real life is funny because reality is relatable. period. that's it. and if people are at home watching something relatable, that will make them laugh because they're like, oh, that happened to me, too. >> remember as kids when you go on vacation and you go why is dad always in a bad mood? now i understand. >> no. no. >> is this grandma? >> yeah, she's still alive. >> why is the family a good place to look for humor? was that it? where else is it? >> maybe you should ask santa for a new family. >> i don't want a new family or any family. families suck. >> did you ever notice when you trip on something, when you're walking, and you go, what was that? well, that was your family. they've put their foot out and just don't get so ahead of yourself. >> anybody got mothers that
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would hit you with a shoe? i had a mother throw a shoe at you at the drop of a dime and [ bleep ] you up wherever she was aiming. >> i don't want to give you wrong impression of my dad. he never hit us. carried a gun. well, he never shot us, he'd just -- when i started, i just did fat jokes. didn't know other families had that insanity that i grew up with. oh, yeah, mom told me to tell you today, you're adopted. you're ruining this whole family. that's why we laugh. that's why the family sitcom has always prevailed. >> oh, i could just crawl into a hole and die. >> second hole she's crawled into today. >> in the '50s, you get these sitcoms that, frankly, aren't really trying to be that funny. >> nobody can make pancakes like
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mom. >> nobody can eat them like pop. >> these shows are presented by soap sellers, car sellers. they wanted their product to be nice, with no sharp edges, so, it couldn't be that daring. >> very sort of white bread portrayals of family were what the public wanted to see at that time. but in the '70s, all of that changed. ♪ and you know who you were then ♪ >> comedy grew out of transgression. shows like "all in the family" showed a different side of that nuclear family. >> you realize how many boring things i got to do in a single day that drive me crazy? i got to get up, brush my teeth, i have to shave. and i hate to shave. there are mornings when i stand there debating with that mirror, should i shave or should i cut my throat. but i shave. >> it's too bad you always lose that argument. >> what was it about "all in the family" that was so different from the things that came before? >> i wasn't aware it was
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different. i was writing out of my own experience. i grew up with a father, much like archie bunker, who insisted that i was the laziest white kid he ever met. >> you have a meathead. >> what did you call me? >> a meathead. dead from the neck up. meathead. >> norman lear blows lid off what a family sitcom is. >> we were writing about what we knew, what was happening in our families, up the street, down the street, across from each other. that's how we got to real problems. >> i think it's time we had a brother to brother talk, or to put it delicately, a talk about the birds and the bees. >> well, i have to study right now, i'll teach you about sex some other time, okay? >> norman lear gave you "all in the family," "good times," "the jeffersons." he gave different looks at what real niched versions of the american family were in different segments of this country. >> mixed up families. >> what do you mean mixed up?
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>> zebra city. he's white, she's black, kids are medium rare. >> it was basically all flawed characters but that was what was good about it. people could relate to the fact that these were not perfect human becomes, far from it. >> you could draw a line, right there. that's where it started to change. and that paved the way for everything that came after. >> i'm going to get married when i'm 23. >> 23. >> and i'll have a husband named bud. >> husband named bud? bud what? >> bud huxtable. >> "the cosby show" in the '80s normalizes the black experience in a way that was super important. that felt more like my family than what i heard the myth of the black family was. >> how are you going to get into college with grades like this? >> no problem. >> huh?
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>> i'm not going to college. >> damn right. >> we had "cosby show," family ties," and those families were saying, we're all basically the same. >> it was a more conservative era, so, you had these upper middle class households who don't worry about money, are able to balance their careers and their kids. and then in comes "roseanne." >> i'm sorry, what do you want me to do, throw myself off a bridge? >> yeah, and take your brother and sister with you. >> are you ever sorry we got married? >> every second of my life. >> we're used to a certain amount of slickness in our sitcoms. but roseanne got rid of that. mostly because she was never that kind of performer. they're were letting it all happening out. >> you're being totally unfair just because i don't want to eat your stinking beans. >> wrong. i'm being totally unfair because that's my job. now, you sit down and have a nice dinner with your family. >> i hate you! >> hey! >> i say disown her. >> i wanted to do a show about real people, that wasn't about, honey, bathroom wall needs cleaning. you know, i want to do a show
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that was, like, the joy and the horror of, like, life. >> every person from a family recognizes all that stuff. human beings are a huge pain in the ass. how any of them get along with any others of them, they really don't actually -- >> i don't know what to do. sometimes i just want to smack you. >> you're stuck with your family. there's nothing you can do about them. you put up with stuff from your family that you wouldn't put up with from anyone else. >> what do you mean you don't eat no meat? oh, that's okay. that's okay. i make lamb, come. >> anything you find horrifying as a kid, just write it down, because when you're older, you can make money off it. >> you used to scream all night, we didn't feed you, you turned out fine. i didn't turn out fine! i'm a fat comedian with ocd, i get up in front of strangers and talk about my [ bleep ], this is not good parenting.
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♪ feel like i was just here a minute ago. >> i know what you mean but you'll get used to it. everybody does eventually. >> the workplace is something we all have to endure in some way or another.
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>> i got to get out of here. i think i'm going to lose it. >> uh-oh, sounds like somebody's got a case of the mondays. >> you can go to work on tv show, you can go to work in an insurance office, you're still going to have a boss, a pain in the ass worker, somebody that you're maybe attracted to that you're going to have to deal with. it's the human experience that transcends all generations. >> comedy is about an imbalance in power. everybody who has ever had a job realizes it's a power imbalance the minute they get there. >> i'm the new vice president of east coast television and microwave oven programming. >> that sounds like you program microwave ovens. >> i like you. you have the boldness of a much younger woman. >> so, you go to work and your boss is a [ bleep ]. if you write a joke about him and everyone laughs at him -- >> is that decaf? >> no, no, it's regular. >> suddenly, you go from being his victim to being his captor. the joke is refiguring the scales of justice.
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>> when you were dismissing some of the staff, did you intend to fire me, too? especially me? i'm very sorry i troubled you. you little runt! >> early sitcoms just about home life. i used to make the joke all the time in "ozzy and harriet," what did ozzy do for a living? and van dyke the first time saw home life and work life. >> is this the comedy spot? >> no, this is the comedy spot. >> rob. >> buddy. >> sally. >> mel. >> rob. >> sally. >> buddy. >> it's your turn. say rob. >> rob? >> beautiful. >> oh, wonderful. >> somebody asked me to do a situation comedy after i finished being on the show of shows because situation comedies weren't very good. they didn't mirror life. i asked myself, what piece of
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ground do i stand on that nobody else stands on? well, i worked as an actor and a writer on a variety show and i write about what happens at home. at home, i talk about what goes on at the office. >> are you doing this because you're afraid of alan? >> no, i'm doing it because i respect alan brady. a man of his caliber has great firing power. >> it's a hybrid of family life, work life. and you cared about them like a family because you saw them together every day. they were a family. >> hi everybody. >> norm! >> hey mr. peterson, caller waiting for you. >> i know. and if she calls, i'm not here. >> on tv, family sort of transcends blood. you recognize that family system, that family dynamic, even if it's not biological. >> sure things didn't go your way. sure you're a little disappointed. but we'll get over it. what's important here is you tried to do the wrong thing. >> that's right. i did, didn't i?
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>> sammy! sammy! >> you have certain archetypes in the bar, in the office, in the workplace, in the taxi company, they're there because they are real and they are honest and they're true and we all recognize them. >> i don't deserve this. you know, goddamnit, i don't, but you do. because you are all losers. every [ bleep ] one of you. loser. loser! >> the worst word you can hear when you're trying to make a comedy is likeable. from the suits. it's not believable if everybody is likeable. we're not. >> what happened to old idea of doing something for your fellow man? of service. i mean, today people just -- >> mr. fawlty. >> i'm coming, i'm coming. >> there's no comedy in likeable. i always go to louie depalma played by danny devito.
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>> sunshine cab. hey, crazy lady, give me a break here. it's ma. >> this was a troll. mean. said the worst possible things. was he likeable? no. loveable? yes. why? he's really funny. you get the knife in behind the windpipe, put it down, like
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that. >> i could just apply for another job. >> the jokes or the stories or the emotion isn't from the work. it's from the people who work together. >> all right. where to first? >> your mother's butt. >> all you need to relate is the human connection, the believability. that these people live together, know each other, love each other, and it's that love underneath that allows for all kinds of behavior. [ raspberry sound ] >> i can't argue with this.
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puberty usually begins between the ages of 11 and 14 when profound hormonal changes occur. the onset of these changes is the function of the small gland called pituitary, sends chemical signals throughout the body, most notably resulting in height increase and hair growth in the genital area. hey, hey, knock it off. you think this is funny? just try me. okay. >> people love coming of age comedy because it's innocence to not innocence. you know. >> obstacles to growing up, obstacles to maturing, are always really hilarious, because most of the time, things do not go well. don't know how to deal with the emotions of it, physical aspects of it, and so it's just going to
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be very embarrassing. >> she's gotten her boobies. >> oh. i better go get my magnifying glass. >> when i was in high school and mother said to me, some day you'll look back on all this and laugh, i didn't realize it would take, look, 20 years, but ultimately she was right. >> my two front teeth didn't fall out until i was in fifth grade. which is late. and that same week, i got my period. which is early. >> any stage of life, if you tell the story honestly, it can be funny. that's what people connect with. everybody's been 12 years old, everybody knows what that feels like. >> were you typical? >> i was typical of, i guess, a young, budding future pervert. >> sitting around when you was
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young men sitting in class and your [ bleep ] get hard for nothing? you be just sitting there and your [ bleep ] say, hey, what's going on in there? that's when your teacher says, mr. murphy, you want to come work out this problem on the board? >> we're just trying to figure out how to be humans and your body is changing and you're becoming aware of how it's changing and sex is just this crazy, mysterious thing. >> well, we'll just tell your mother that we ate it all. >> let's face it. all of these unpleasant subjects, one way of dealing with them is humor. >> i can't believe this. they [ bleep ] forget my birthday. >> john hughes captured many different eras of life, but he was one of the great storytellers about being a high school student. >> he took his teenage characters incredibly seriously. all of them. >> i loathe the bus. >> "16 candles" was a revelation to me as a kid, because i
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thought, oh, i'm anthony michael hall. that's who i am. >> all right. i knew you'd come around. epitomizes what it's like to be be 15, 14, a freshman, anxious to be at senior parties, anxious to be with this girl. >> that guy who is normally made fun of in other movies is a hero in this movie. farmer ted is, you could argue, the lead of that flick, for a lot of us. >> very nice. we're five minutes in -- i'm at a loss. >> prior to john hughes, most of the comedies weren't aimed at us. the teenagers to us in the movies were olivia newton john and john travolta. these kids when they were in high school looked like my parents. it was kind of like you woke up one day and you're like, this is an entirely underserved audience. here, make movies for them on their level, the way they talk.
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using actors that look their age. >> i think one of the mistakes commonly made in hollywood teenage pictures is, they're going for the bucks and not for the heart. >> i think he's honest and doesn't try to show us for something we're not. >> he took the simplest of canvases and ones we were all familiar with. >> bueller? >> growing up. >> bueller? >> staying home from school. the sneaky stuff we tried to pull off. >> life moves pretty fast. you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. >> john was obsessed with sort of the middle american outlook on life. there's no clearer expression of john's affection for what is a flawed society, but he loves it. >> all right, that's it. i'm going to be right outside those doors. the next time i have to come in here, i'm cracking skulls. >> he celebrated the normalcy in all of us. he made it bigger. he made detention an event. he made oddballs okay. >> we're all pretty bizarre.
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some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all. >> oh, god. >> because hughes cracked the code with the teen audience, others that followed realized oh, you don't have to talk down to them, you can talk up to them or talk right at their level. >> man, i hate high school. >> on "freaks and geeks" what was important to everybody at the show was that it was realistic. >> oh, my god. >> come on, guys, let's go. >> somebody please tell me what's supposed to be fun about this? >> paul feig wrote characters that were more authentic. he really more than anyone else to me understands really what it was like and hasn't forgotten what it was like to feel like an outcast. >> homo. >> homo. >> hey, hey. now, if sam wearing something different to express his individuality makes him a homo, well, then, i guess we should all be proud to be homos. now, you go ahead, sam.
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>> paul had this idea he wanted to see a high school show about the kids no one ever talked about. >> you're dead, weir. >> that was very different for network television. it seemed bizarre to them. why do they fail all the time? and we just thought, because you fail all the time. it was that simple. >> i guess we live on the same floor. if you live on this floor. i don't know where you live. >> what i love about judd apatow is that he took the smartness of the john hughes, but let the kids be a little less articulate about it. they're a little more lost, they're not quite as sure of themselves. >> it's just not fair that they get to flaunt that stuff and i have to hide every erection i get. just imagine if girls weren't weirded out by our boners and stuff and wanted to see them. that's the world i one day want to live in. >> no matter how much we try to add new viewpoints to it, we're still the same people reacting
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to the same change. and there's something really startling about that. >> boop. boop. >> if you get to the heart of it, beyond all the funny and find out there's a living, breathing heart there you can identify with, you've got the audience. >> i love you. >> i love you. get special glitch-y, freebies at but free delivery won't last long. ♪ ♪ see you at (phone rings) ♪ ♪ [doorbell] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [doorbell] ♪ ♪ [doorbell] ♪ ♪ there's my boy! all the delivery. no delivery fees. dashpass.
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women know what men want, men know what men want. what do we want? we want women. that's it. it's the only thing we know for sure. it really is. we want women. how do we get them? oh, we don't know about that. >> the reason relationships are such a fertile area for a comedy is because, what do you look for in life anything more than love except maybe money? and money is just so not funny. >> how many women's purses are about five pounds heavier in case you do sleep elsewhere this evening? you guys may think we're being spontaneous, but women have to pack for these events. >> whether you're in a very insanely committed relationship or you've been dating somebody for a couple days, you can recognize the ridiculousness of the situation, like, we go through an awful lot -- >> ah! >> just to get naked with people. >> the only time i get hit on is last call at the bar. what a weird time of night,
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right? the lights go on, just feels real rapey all of a sudden. some dude in full blackout walking at me like a zombie, pointing at his own [ bleep ], here. i'm like, i'll get us a cab. um -- >> romance is a great source for comedy, because everybody wants it. also, romance gives people instant vulnerability. it's a situation where stakes are really high. and whenever the stakes are really high, funny [ bleep ] is going to happen. >> did you want to see some brochures? >> this is so awkward, i really want you to leave but don't know how to say it without sounding like a [ bleep ]. >> oh. >> the idea that human beings couple up, you know, for good, it's ridiculous. >> imagine if marriage didn't exist, you're a guy and ask a woman to get married. you'd be like, hey, you know, we've been hanging out, spending time together, everything. yeah, yeah, i know. i want to keep doing that until you're dead. >> it doesn't really make sense.
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because of that, it's rife with comedy. >> that's terrible. when the relationship is over but only you know. and you're going to break up, but there just isn't a good time. you just bought concert tickets. a war breaks out. you want your birthday present first. >> are you breaking up with me? >> you know, i can't believe i even thought about getting back together with you. we are so over. >> fine by me. >> if i had a terrible breakup, i would just come and wail about the breakup and i think because it was so real an honest, it related to people. >> actually really comfortable to realize that something that is just truly troubling in your life could be great fodder for comedy. >> those were the days when
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people knew how to be in live. >> you're a basket case. >> they knew it. time, distance, nothing could separate them because they knew it was right, it was real. it was -- >> a movie. that's your problem. you don't want to be in love. you want to be in love in a movie. >> we have a love-hate relationship with romantic comedies because it sets these ideals that you can never reach, but love is so relatable, you immediately empathize with one of the people and you feel like you're falling in love. >> did you put that breakfast burrito on my desk? >> i just thought you might be hungry. >> that's why i love you. >> i love you, too. >> oh. yeah, yeah, you're right, i needed that. >> the cliche about romantic comedy is, it's boy meets girl, boy gets girls, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. no new stories, just what is your take on the old story. >> let's face it, i don't think our relationship is working.
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>> i know. a relationship i think is like a shark. it has to constantly move forward or it dies. i think what we have on our hands is a dead shark. >> "annie hall" was a game changer. woody wanted to do a real film about real people where you care about the characters and be somewhat emotionally invested. >> i think we need to call this relationship quits. >> that's fine. that's great. i don't know what i did wrong. i mean, i can't believe this. somewhere, she cooled off to me. is it something that i did? >> it's never something you do, that's how people are. love fades. >> love fades? god, that's a depressing thought. >> there's no, you know, happy ending with a neat bow tie at the end. but ironically, "annie hall" became one of the funniest movies ever. it changes so much about the way people thought of, you know, romantic comedies. >> one of the summer's surprise hit movies stars billy crystal and meg ryan, it's called "when harry met sally." >> men and women can't be friends because the sex part
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always gets in the way. >> that's not true, i have a number of men friends and there's no sex involved. >> no, you don't. >> yes, i do. >> no, you don't. >> yes, i do. >> you only think you do. >> you're saying i'm having sex with these men without my knowledge? >> no, i'm saying they all want to have sex with you. >> nora ephron wrote "when harry met sally," got a lot of help from reiner creating neurotic main character. that's because he was based on rob reiner. >> "when harry met sally" was an extension of what i had been through as a single person, having by married for ten years and then being single for ten years, it was the experiences i had with trying to get with women and, you know, the confusion of, can you be friends with a woman and if you have sex, does it ruin the friendship? >> why can't we get past this? i mean, are we going to carry this thing around forever? >> forever? it just happened. >> it happened three weeks ago. you know how year to person is
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like seven years to a dog? >> yes? is one of us supposed to be a dog in this scenario? >> rob reiner's collaboration with nora ephron, very much both worked together to have an equal male and female perspective. >> there are a lot of desperate women out there looking for love. >> especially over a certain age. >> you know it's easier to get killed by a terrorist than get married over the age of 40? >> that's not true. that statistic is not true. >> that's right. it's not true. but it feels true. >> even a romantic comedy where you know what's going to happen, there's still something satisfying about it. i don't know why. but there's still something that works. i mean, that's why they use the formula over and over. >> i mean, love is the bottom line. and there are so many billions of ways to be with something, it's never finished. relationship material is never finished. >> frankly, i wish i had someone i really cared about that i could hold. but i don't have that person. so i'm just going to [ bleep ] off and go to bed.
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wouldn't it make more sense the other way around? if that was true, you wouldn't be a proctologist, you could be an astronaut. >> so many things distasteful in life and stupid and there are these rules that everybody has to follow. it's tedious. so they deserve lampooning. >> this was an awful morning. i get up this morning and put maxi pad on adhesive side up. oh, come on, you've done it. >> there is so much comedy in the little details of life. it's just taking a magnifying glass and throwing it out to the audience. >> well, that's sort of my job, to think about stuff that a lot of us are too busy for most of the time. little things that occur to us, we have universal ground, you know? like, did you ever belch and almost puke? >> we think that we're alone and then a comedian steps on stage and says, have you every
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noticed -- kaboom, it explodes. and in that moment we all connect. which is an amazing charge, really. it's kind of an adrenaline rush to connect on that kind of a level. >> we have to fight these battles, we're all alone in the bathroom. alone. whatever goes wrong, you have to handle it. ever flush a toilet in a big party and water starts coming up? this is the most frightening moment in the life of a human being. >> it's illumination on something that was right in front of you. it was right there, but yet, when they bring it up, it's the way they shine the light on it. >> what are we doing? what in god's name are we doing? >> what? >> what kind of lives are these? we're like children, we're not men. >> no, we're not. we're not men. >> we're pathetic. you know that? >> like i don't know that i'm pathetic. >> "seinfeld," initially called it the show about nothing. obviously, it was not about nothing, but that's what they called it. the initial idea was larry david and jerry had an idea of two
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guys hanging out and talking about stuff. >> listen to this. marcy comes over and she tells me that her ex-boyfriend was over late last night and yadda yadda yadda, i'm really tired today. >> what do you think she was tired from? >> obviously the yadda yadda. >> larry david and jerry seinfeld, those two minds together, you know, that's just comedy dynamite. >> what do you think did it? can you take a step back and say, this made the show? >> i think it was the style of the writing was fresh and i think it was the strength of the cast. the cast is very, very strong. and the writing had a different sound to it. the conversations sounded different than the other sitcoms that you see. >> so you think you're spongeworthy? >> yes, i think i'm spongeworthy. i think i'm very spongeworthy. >> i'm out there, jerry, and loving every minute of it. >> the ideas were seemingly insignificant where the comedy came from. usually small quirky idiotic things.
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>> larry always carried this little notepad in his pocket. whenever something happened he thought would make a good idea, he'd write it down and eventually it would wind up in a show. >> you mean shrinkage? >> yes, significant shrinkage. >> it's a little thing i might notice that i could expound on. expound on or expand on? expand on. both. both. expound and expand. yeah. >> i got it. >> no, no, i'd like to pay for mine. >> julie, don't insult me. what difference does it make who pays for lunch? it's totally meaningless. >> thanks, george. >> here's your big salad to go. >> thank you. >> i remember i was editing an episode with larry and we took a break for dinner and he turned to the editor and he said, carol and i are going to get a bite, would you like something from the restaurant? yeah. bring me back a big salad. when we got back to the editing room, i took the salad and i gave it to janet. >> thank you, julie. >> you're very welcome. >> and two months later an episode is written called "the
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big salad." >> she just took credit for my salad. that's not right. >> no, it isn't. >> i mean, i'm the one that bought it. >> you did. >> don't you think she should have said something? >> oh, i know. >> i wonder where that came from, oh, right, me. perfect. >> lot of larry's humor is based on the difficulty of just being out in the world and everything is a land mine waiting for you to step on it. >> mind your own business, how about that? >> we all think that [ bleep ] but larry just points it out. you know, it's great. >> it's just material. >> i know, but really. look at these pants. >> i've seen pants bunch up before. >> never seen a bunchup like this in my life. this is like a five-inch bunchup i've got here. >> "curb your enthusiasm" is brilliant. larry took the essence of himself, of larry david. i mean, it's not exactly larry, but it's pretty damn close. and when you get close to the bone, the audience can somehow feel that that's real.
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>> get me off the speakerphone, please. >> hold on. you're off the speakerphone. >> what's the matter with you? i thought we were having a private conversation. i didn't know anybody else was in your car. >> i think with "curb" larry gets to be the full completion of himself. >> it was the person i'd like to be, but social mores prevent me from being that way all the time. hey. >> i'll call you back. >> what the hell are you doing? >> what the [ bleep ] are you doing? >> what am i doing what are you doing? >> we decided that we should walk this line where people watching it wouldn't quite be certain if it was really a documentary or if it was embellished, but to play it as close to real as possible. and sure enough, there were people who thought it was real. >> when you walk through my door, you play by my rules. you take off your [ bleep ] shoes. >> my feet have a tendency to get a little chilly. >> he's psychotic. get him out of the house. get out! >> i had no idea that, until the show was on the air, that
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anybody would ever have to leave the room because they couldn't bear to watch a scene because they were cringing as to what was about to take place. i kind of liked it. >> thank you for fixing judy's hair. >> you're welcome. >> mommy, mommy, that bald man is in the bathroom and there's something hard in his pants. the tempur-pedic breeze° makes sleep...feel cool. because the tempur-breeze° transfers heat away from your body... you feel cool, night after night. save up to $500 on select adjustable mattress sets during the tempur-pedic black friday event. ♪ look for the bare necessities ♪ ♪ the simple bare necessities ♪ ♪ forget about your worries and your strife ♪ ♪ i mean the bare necessities ♪ ♪ are mother nature's recipes ♪
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it's just such a shame to just dump this in the trash. maybe birds would like to make nests with it or maybe you boys could use it for school projects. arms up. >> people love family comedies. >> dude. >> and now it seems like the family comedies they want are how strange can this family possibly be? >> and i'm expected to climb back on top of kitty and do my thing again. i mean, this family runs into problems, it's oh, let's have gob [ bleep ] his way out of it. >> what's the matter with you? >> there's a lot more variety in families represented on television today because it's represented in real life. >> who? >> he's our son. >> and our grandson. >> i'm his daughter. >> and you're? >> his uncle.
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>> i have to believe that for kids of today, seeing that families can come in all kinds of weird permutations has to be pretty great. >> what the hell is that? >> i had andre do it while we were gone. we're floating above her, always there to protect her. >> that's reassuring, right lily? we tore you away from everything you know. things are normal here, your fathers are floating fairies. >> shows like "modern family" or "will & grace" before that really sped up the conversation about gay marriage and people's tolerance. >> huge news. i have met, are you ready for this? mr. right. well, at least mr. right now, anyway. he works over on the coffee shop. his name is paul. he is cute with a capital q. >> seeing people you don't normally get to see makes you realize, oh, you should love them as much as you love anybody else. >> that's the finger. work in progress. >> we're trying to actually say that my family's different than yours, but if you look close enough, you might see some things that your family is, too. >> hey. why don't the boys go with you? >> yes!
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>> not you, you're too precious to me. >> good, because junior is the bad black person who needs educating. after we get home, he'll be a bona fide black panther. >> actually, dr. king had problems with the black panthers. >> do you know who the black panthers had a problem with? >> i think television has a history of helping us figure out how to deal with some very difficult discussions or changes in our time. >> listen, can we just close up shop a little bit? male privilege is leaking all over the place. >> the fearlessness of comedians bringing up subject matter that we're afraid to talk about is a wonderful conduit to starting a conversation. >> get yourself up and -- >> i don't want to freak you out, but i think i may be the voice of my generation. or at least a voice. of a generation. >> there's a number of amazingly great unique voiced shows on tv right now. they are standing apart from the
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wave of stuff that's being thrown at us all the time. >> the guy said this was their best-selling thing, by far, okay? i'm just trying to improve our sex lives. >> okay, here's an idea. how about you stop rubbing your eye every time you shove your junk in me? >> what? >> yeah. you're always like -- it's distracting. >> now we're in this weird world where there's demand that people take chances. no one wants generic stuff anymore. >> mom, dad, we've got something we'd like to tell you -- talk to you about. lovely news. i think will make you very happy, and that's -- we're getting married. >> congratulations. >> thank you. >> i thought you were going to tell us you were pregnant there for a minute. >> and i'm pregnant. that's also part of this. >> the more realistic comedy gets, the more drama is in them, because real life is not just
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drama all the time and it's not just funny all the time. >> why do you say such hurtful things? >> because it's the only way to get your attention. that's why i have a rage problem. >> shut up, all of you! can i talk? is it my turn yet? i've waited 45 years to talk. i screwed up my life. i lost the best [ bleep ] job i could find. i'm mentally doomed. look at all of you. it's all your fault. you're all disasters. i don't want to be in this family anymore! >> wah, wah, wah, what a baby. >> what's great about comedy is, comedy can't exist unless it's true. you don't laugh unless you know there's an inherent truth to it. >> i keep forgetting what a freak show this family is until somebody new comes in and looks at us like that. >> we all are human and fallible, and we're crazy and we have foibles, and we're all in it together. >> there's nothing more interesting than the foolishness of the human condition.
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it takes the comedian to find the moment that helps people laugh at themselves. >> if you're lucky in life you will have seen it, done it, eaten it, [ bleep ] it, all of it. and now you can relive it through storytelling and from somebody's point of view all over again. >> life is not that complicated. you get up, you go to work, you eat three meals, you take one good [ bleep ] and you go back to bed. what's the [ bleep ] mystery? >> when you see these things, do you keep track of them? i'm interested. >> i do. write them down on a small pad. once i lost a pad and it was -- it was the worst experience of my life. >> why? >> and you can never get them back, because these incidents where you get the thoughts, it's very specific. it never happens again, it only happens that one time. all those ideas, gone. they're still gone.
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i never thought of one of those things again. it's a life-and-death experience. you go up there. you take your life in your hands. >> my stomach hurts, badly. and i've been nauseous all day. >> you're overthinking what you're wearing, how you're going to say the first thing you're going to say. >> i feel horrified. i wonder, why tonight? why again? >> ladies and gentlemen, robin williams! >> patton oswalt! >> richard pryor. >> when i walk on stage, i'm riddled with fear and excitement, because i have no idea what i'm going to do. >> this was what, oh no, you


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