The comedy world lost a heavyweight as Carl Reiner, legendary actor/director and creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” died Monday evening. He was 98.
Comedians Chris Gethard, Maria Bamford, Wyatt Cenac, and Tyler Davis who each have comedy specials on the TOPIC streaming service took a moment Tuesday to reflect on the passing of the comedy legend during TheWrap’s “Comedy, Coping, and Change: Finding Humor in Change” webinar, hosted by TheWrap editor in chief Sharon Waxman.
“I mean it’s so hard because he is one of the people who set the bar for what comedy on television and movies is,” Gethard said. “He was in the writer’s room of the Sid Ceasar show, when you’re that embedded in the history of comedy, it’s kind of hard to point to one thing and instead I think I would just have to say, thank you to him for being one of the people who kind of established what the medium of TV can even be when it comes to comedy.”
Even though Reiner was in his 90s, he kept his finger on the pulse and would still frequent comedy shows.
“I did get to meet Carl Reiner, he would come out to shows here in LA,” added Maria Bamford. “He was a lovely, lovely man to come out and stay for an entire standup show when you’re over 90 much less and you’re late 30s.”
Despite Reiner’s legacy, accomplishments, and wealth, he was also remembered for being curious and aware of up and coming comedians.
“It would be very easy for someone with the career and the accomplishments that Carl Reiner had to just kind of disengage with present day comedy and with the times,” said Cenec. “What is interesting about his legacy is that he continued to want to be curious and be aware of the people who were doing comedy, to Chris’s point, were kind of like taking the baton that he that he had handed off. And so there is something that I feel like that’s very rare that you find any older comedians much less than 90 year old who would say ‘oh yeah, I’ll invite Nick Kroll and John Mulaney to come and spend the day with me’ or I’ll go see Maria Bamford do stand up.”
“I feel like that’s a really just a testament to who he is as a person that he would want to continue to engage with that as opposed to just be comfortably rich,” added Cenac.
“I think that it’s very admirable for someone to not rest on your laurels and and continue to try and push the the medium forward,” said Tyler Davis.
In addition, the comedians had an often honest but frequently hilarious discussion of Mental health. Some Highlights:
“I would love to put out to everybody here on the panel about where to get mental health care, especially right now that there’s a lot of terrible health care out there and so I thought well what’s the probably the shittiest form of mental health care would be to just make a series about it and interview comedians,” said Bamford.
“One of the things I really respect is I think there is this is this dialogue in comedy that sadness like the sad clown myth that these the idea that said this is necessary or that you’re you’re trauma is necessary to feel comedy,” said Gethard.
“One of the things I really appreciate about Maria because I feel like she deals with it so much more honestly than that where it’s not romanticized at all it but you can laugh in the face of it while recognizing what it is in a very real way you’re also not giving into addiction and being messed up in the head is just a part of the culture of comedy,” added Gethard.
“I think as a as a career path it’s one that puts you into places where you’re going to be more vulnerable,” said Cenac. “By and where taking care of your mental health is something that is really important and being aware of it, in a check with it and so I think the ability to talk about it on stage if anything it can hopefully normalize those conversations.”
A prolific entertainer, Reiner is best known as the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which he starred on with Van Dyke and Marty Tyler Moore. Reiner, a nine-time Emmy winner, was also famous for his collaborations with Mel Brooks, with whom he made the comedy album “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks,” and Steve Martin, who starred in Reiner’s films “The Jerk,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “Man with Two Brains” and “All of Me.”
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