And now we have lost a true comedic genius. One of my favorite comedians has left us. Harvey Korman died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 81.
My biggest fear is that most people under 40 might not even recognize the name. That is sad.
Usually a reference to his hysterical role in the Mel Brooks classic "Blazzing Saddles" brings out the "Oh YESSS!! THAT was Harvey Korman??"
Of course, he is probably remembered for his classic role alongside Tim Conway on "The Carol Burnett Show".
He and Tim Conway toured the nation together and performed their side splitting antics and comedic genius well into their 70s.
I had the pleasure of meeting both of them a few years back at a show in Sacramento.
I begged and begged to be let backstage to meet my comedic mentors. The P.R. Department kept telling me my chances were 50-50.
The day of the show I STILL had not heard back from anyone, telling me one way or the other what they had decided.
Would I meet two of my favorite comedians in the world?
I walked up to the stage door and presented myself humbly. They remembered my name and my efforts to meet these gentlemen had impressed them it turns out.
They stepped away to ask them how they felt about a visitor and to my absolute joy, they agreed to a meet and greet.
And there they were. Two comedic giants standing before me. Two men I had grown up watching on television and in the movies. Two men who had shaped my comedic heart and soul forever and in ways they could never understand were shaking my trembling but firm hand and talking to me!
By the way, it was a classic performance and I am so glad I made the time to go see them. I would have regretted it if I hadn't.
As for all the talk about "Blazzing Saddles" being his funniest film, I disagree. Of all the Mel Brooks movies he stared in, I think his performance as the corrupt psychiatrist in "High Anxiety" was his best and most underrated role. Watch it and get ready to laugh till you hurt.
Thank you, Harvey Korman, for making me laugh. For lightening my load. For teaching me how true comedy is crafted and perfected.
And thank you, most of all, for giving me the chance to look you in the eye and thank you myself for all those years of laughter and fun.
You will be missed.