Classic comic Sid Caesar gets tribute
By Frazier Moore
NEW YORK Milton Berle, of course, holds the title "Mr. Television."
Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca pose in a 1953 sketch from "Your Show of Shows."
Then a couple of years later, the future arrived: A strapping lad invariably described as "rubber-faced," whose comedy style, while antic, was rooted in reality.
Sid Caesar staged 90 minutes of live comedy every week: skits, revues, pantomime and satire that his audience found not only hilarious, but also vividly relatable. With "Your Show of Shows" and his other series, Caesar brought observational comedy to TV before Jerry Seinfeld was even born.
"The one great star that television created and who created television was Sid Caesar," says critic Joel Siegel on the documentary "Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age Of Comedy." Hosted by Rob Reiner (whose father, Carl, was a member of Caesar's troupe), it airs at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow on Showtime.
"Laughter on the 23rd Floor," 8 p.m. tomorrow, Showtime
"Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age of Comedy," 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, Showtime
In a recent interview, he recalled how in his heyday, Saturday after Saturday, he and his co-stars Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray and Howard Morris, Caesar put a humorous spin on married life, intellectuals, dating, working and what would someday be called pop culture.
"If it wasn't for her," says Caesar, pointing to his wife, Florence, "I wouldn't be here. She held the whole thing together. She held me together."
"People wonder if I laughed a lot," she says. "Not exactly."