One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1982 comedy, My Favorite Year. Film legend, Peter O’ Toole plays a washed up swashbuckling actor, Alan Swann, who needs money, so he accepts a guest spot on a television comedy variety show. Hollywood newcomer, Mark Linn-Baker is the enterprising junior comedy writer, Benjy Stone, who idolizes Swann and works himself silly to keep Swann on the straight and narrow. Side note here, this is LIVE television and Swann is not used to having to get it right, the first time. There are some heavy hitters in this movie and their comedic timing is impeccable.
“Screams, I guarantee you, screams”
At one point in the film, Swann sums up his philosophy on going from the world of drama to this television program, by quoting the great Shakespearean actor, Edmund Kean. On his deathbed, Kean is rumored to have said,
“Dying is easy, comedy is hard”
Over the years, I found being an actress in local community theatres to be most rewarding. I did my share of drama, won awards and worked with some terrific people. But the comedies were definitely more taxing! We had to sync our timing, keep the energy flowing and remember where we were when we had to “hold” for laughs. If we “broke character” we could have ruined the entire production. If you didn’t do it right, then you absolutely DIED on the VINE!