Today is Sid Caesar’s birthday. For those of you under 40, Isaac Sidney “Sid” Caesar (who would have believed it was his real name?) is the Rosetta Stone of American comedy. He makes all of what follows him understandable and sits at the very center of the tree of comedy, with dozens of branches springing from his center. He is best known for his work on Your Show of Shows, a live, 90 minute sketch show (SNL, anyone) that featured Caesar, Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca,, Nanette Fabray, and many others as performers. The writing staff included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Reiner. You get a sense of what it was like from the movie My Favorite Year (well worth the rental) and the shows themselves can be found on DVD at his website and elsewhere.
Sid was best known for his “double-talk” routines, one of which is here:
I love how he captures the essence of the language without speaking a word of it – a good lesson (you knew it was coming) in why listening to tone is important (although understanding meaning is kind of critical in business too!).
Happy birthday , Sid!