Friday, August 18, 2006

That Other Funny Guy I Haven't Seen in Years

A leftover picture from Wednesday's flooding

Weekend Assignment #125: Who is the funniest person you know in your real life [as opposed to an actor or stand up comic] and why? As the assignment says, you can't pick people who are professionally funny (unless you personally know someone who is, in fact, an actor or a comedian). We're looking for the friends or relatives or other people you know who crack you up every single time you see them.

Extra Credit: Well, duh: Pictures of Mr. or Ms. Funnypants would be nice.

This is the part where I should be telling you all about John, my beloved, about whom I frequently quote Jennifer Rabbit and say, "He makes me laugh." Every day he makes me laugh, with wit and whimsey and nonsequiturs and banter and wordplay and basic silliness. But it's all off the cuff and of the moment. I don't store up these things in my brain, because they are ephemeral, a moment's amusement with more to follow. There are no set pieces here, no monuments to "Yeah, he's funny." Even John thinks it best that I describe Robin's humor instead.

Boy, will Robin be surprised.

Who is Robin? Unless you've known me for decades, you may never had heard me mention the guy. I haven't seen him in over a decade myself, although I get emails and, rarely, a phone call. I've known him since he was a 13-year-old twerp named Gary, the youngest member of our Star Trek club. At one point we even considered setting a minimum age that excluded him from the group, but we decided not to do it. That would have been cruel.

Funny how he's one of only two people from Star Syracuse for whom I still have an email address, the only one I've seen as recently as a dozen-or-so years ago.

Robin Weitz is definitely a funny guy, and I do have a few Robin stories stored in my brain. Like the time he talked his way into Chevy Chase's dressing room, posing as "his brother, Gary Chase." Or the time he took me to an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica when I visited L.A. in 1991 or so. He had just had a script rejected for the sitcom My Two Dads. Understandably disappointed, he had a few drinks, and ended up doing a fairly loud, dead-on impression of Christopher Lloyd as Reverend Jim from Taxi. People are the tables nearest us were so impressed that they applauded.

Then there was the time he sent me a newsletter he wrote and edited for some troop of non-Scouts his kid is in. I think it was Indian Guides, or something like that. At least it had been. The newsletter was all about changes to the group as the result of their new corporate sponsor. Aware of cultural sensitivity issues over the name "Indian," this German company wanted to take the kids in a different direction, exposing them to German culture instead, even replacing their existing uniforms with leiderhosen. This was a controversial move, but the newsletter seemed to be glossing over the controversy.

I think I read just about the whole newsletter before I decided it was no accident that it was dated April 1st.

But my favorite Robin story was one he told me back in the late 1980s. He was working as an assistant at one of the major talent / music / literary agencies in Los Angeles. One day, he happened to pass Harry Belafonte in the hallway. Robin gave him a generic, "Hi, how are ya," not expecting to stop to carry on an actual conversation with the man.

But Belafonte, who didn't know Robin in the slightest, threw him a little with the wording of his response. "How are you feeling?" the legendary singer asked.

"Much better, thanks," Robin said, and moved on.

I know I have a picture of Robin somewhere. I'll try to come up with it tomorrow evening, along with stories of a few other funny folks I know. Maybe John will be one of them.


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DesLily said...

really cute post Karen.. to live with someone who makes you laugh has got to be the best ever!! Kudos to John!!

Barbara said...

Your John sounds much like my husband Gordon. We have a lot of fun with off the cuff remarks, wordplay and silliness.

Becky said...

I always wanted an interesting circle of friends...ones who grew up and went on into artistic and creative jobs. Fancinating people who were fun at parties. Sadly, it didn't happen. The people from my past that I managed to keep track of just became regular joes. The most interesting was my friend Jenn who was a Psychology major with dreams of being a shrink. She ultimately worked at the dog track taking bets and had 4 kids before she was 30. I still have high hopes for you, my future published author friend. ;-) I know you and John would be a blast at an intimate dinner party. I wish you lived closer. I make a mean lasagna.